Tuesday, August 30, 2016

nevernight: stardust reviews

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Jay Kristoff



In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

full review under the cut!

 The only experience I have with Jay Kristoff is in Illuminae, which I immensely enjoyed, so when I heard about this one I just knew I had to give his solo work a try. And I was most definitely NOT disappointed!! Disclaimer before I begin reviewing this amazing novel: Nevernight is most definitely not YA. I guess because a lot of people who read mostly YA were recommending it, I just assumed that it was. Normally I wouldn't even mention this, because the "age" distinctions are pretty much BS to me anyways, but there is a bunch of pretty mature stuff in here that younger teens probably wouldn't want to be reading. Or if you are younger and know that you can handle sex scenes and graphic murder, I just want to be upfront about the existence of those scenes, so you can decide for yourself. 

But I digress. 

ANYWAYS. Nevernight. This book is about a girl named Mia. She grows up in a Greco-Roman-esque society where there are three suns that rarely ever set. Hence the name, nevernight. Nevernight is what the sleeping hours are called, and once every few years when all three suns do set, that is called Truedark. It is a very superstitious society with an amazingly fleshed out religion. Aa is the all-knowing god of the suns, and he has three daughters and a wife. His daughters are the goddesses of like fire, the sea, and storms or something like that and his wife, Niah, is his antithesis, the goddess of darkness. Worshippers of Aa are state-sactioned and legal, worshipping Niah is seen as blasphemous and treasonous. Mia grows up well-off, but when she is young she is witness to her father's murder, as he has been charged with treason. Her family is ripped apart after this, but she soon discovers that she can manipulate shadows and darkness, a gift which many say means she is chosen by Niah. She is hell-bent on revenge, and so from that point on is trained by an ex-assassin. When she is old enough, she leaves her home to go join the chapel of assassins dedicated to Niah, the red church, and this is where we pick up our story. 

Firstly, let me just say that the worldbuilding in this book is IMMACULATE. Truly amazing. And it never, ever dragged, even when it was giving long descriptions of the world. I think that this snappiness has a lot to do with the tone of the narrator, who is sassy and quippy and makes everything fun. Also, a lot of info is given in footnotes, in anecdotal form, which is just really different and something that I immensely enjoyed throughout. I felt like I had a really solid grip on the rules, and the ins and outs of the world very quickly. Kristoff throws you in the deep end but also guides you very firmly, and it just works out so well! I felt like I was really in the grimy streets of Godsgrave, the deserts and the mountains surrounding the Red Church, and inside the mountain itself as well. The politics were touched on, the religion, as I mentioned, is complete and easy to follow, and the different cultures were at least explained in passing, which just made it seem that much more real. I am such a sucker for an engaging setting, I think that it can make even the most cliche of plots pop, and though this plot was not cliche, it did benefit from having an amazing setting. 

Mia was a fabulous main character. I loved that we learned a lot about the Red Church as she does. She has a sassy and devil-may-care attitude, but you end up learning that a lot of that is due to her relationship with the shadows, and she actually has a soft side buried inside her, which gave her more of a complexity. She has a tragic backstory, but she has dealt with it and pulled herself through it admirably, and even though she is training to be like the biggest baddest murderer in this world, you are still rooting for her to succeed, even when what she wants is clearly clouded by thoughts of vengeance. I also loved Tric, like a lot, (SPOILERS AHEAD) and the way everything ended with him and Mia, and the way his character ended, period, was so shocking and sad!!! I mean, do we think he's really dead though? Number one rule of fiction is that if there's no body, there's always room for a miraculous comeback, and Mia did say that his body was never recovered....? I LIKE TO THINK IT'S POSSIBLE. (OKAY END OF SPOILERS) 

There were just a ton of great characters in here. Ashlinn is the obvious choice for an awesome character, because she is in the narrative a lot. I completely loved her from the minute we meet her. She's this gorgeous sort of sexually free thief who doesn't really give a shit what anyone thinks. She is the person that brought a lot of looseness to the story, and I appreciated her for that. I also love Carlotta, and I wish we had gotten more of her story. Hush is obviously someone super interesting... what's his deal, you know? Even the masters, like Aaela and Spiderkiller and Mouser, were really well done. 

So we have an awesome setting and amazing characters, that's great. But did we have an equally as awesome plot and an amazing conflict as well? The answer to that, my young padawan, is YES we did. The main conflict was that Mia wants to kill the people who killed her father, but she has to become a blade of Niah to do so. Only a small number out of the class of like 20 something become blades, so then the conflict is that she has to beat out all of these other people to do so. I loved that this was like sort of a hunger games/harry potter like school for assassins, where they go to lessons every day but instead of like math or spells its: how to steal 101, combat, the art of seduction, and Intro to poison. It was so good!! I loved the middle part of the book when they were all in classes trying to one up each other in the deadliest arts. And the end was just breathtaking, that is how exciting it was. I really didn't want it to end, but I thought the book did a great job of wrapping up this story arc while leaving enough unanswered questions to make me SERIOUSLY want to read the next one. 

Lastly, I liked the magic in this book. It wasn't fun and happy magic, it was more like what they say in Once Upon a Time every time magic comes up: all magic comes with a price. With Mia and her shadow controlling, to Adonai's blood magic and Marielle's skin weaving, it was interesting. The magic was a bit gruesome, but it was fascinating all the same. I am absolutely looking forward to learning more about how it all works in the next book! 

I just really REALLY loved this one. I was sucked in immediately and didn't want it to end. It is long, but it never dragged. It was totally action-packed, with awesome characters to boot. Definitely recommended. 


1 comment:

  1. I had heard a good number of people hyped up for this one, and now I'm even more excited to tackle it. It's been a while since I read a good gruesome novel. Thanks for the review!


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