It’s been a couple of months since I read Nevernight now, but I just downloaded the audiobook of Godsgrave and I’m so excited to dive back into this world!
I’d never read any of Jay Kristoff’s books before Nevernight, but I’ve heard good things about the Illuminae series, and Nevernight sounded right up my street. Luckily, it absolutely was! I haven’t read a new fantasy series this good in ages.
TL;DR At just eight years old, Mia Corvere watched her father die. Since then she has trained with her mentor in preparation for applying to enter the Red Church, a group of skilled assassins who live under a mountain. Her long term plan is revenge against the men who killed her dad. Her short term plan is surviving her training.
I’m not sure what I expected from this book, but it definitely wasn’t what I got. The Red Church is basically Hogwarts for teen murderers, and I am here for it. Mia is a wonderfully conflicted mini murderess, whose pet is an undead sort of shadow cat called Mister Kindly. He’s a sarcastic bundle of not-fur. Have you run out to buy this book yet? Just go, you won’t regret it.
“’Never Flinch.’ A cold whisper in her ear. ‘Never fear. And never, ever forget.'”
The classes Mia takes sound utterly fascinating and also deadly, subjects like poisons, weapons training and the art of seduction (because every professional killer needs a few good chat up lines and a come-hither smile). The teachers are mysterious and ruthless, it’s a wonder any of the kids survive their first semester, let alone graduate to become fully-fledged assassins.
“You’ll be a rumor. A whisper. The thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. The last thing you will ever be, girl, is someone’s hero.”
Unfortunately, only two of the class can become Blades (super lethal assassin types) after graduation, the rest must stay under the mountain and basically become their servants. Is it any wonder someone is killing off Mia’s class mates one by one? But is it just a ploy to win one of the two coveted Blade positions, or is something bigger going on in the Red Church?
Kristoff’s world-building is crazy amazing in this series, which just adds to the other-worldliness and mystery of the plot and characters. Three suns rise and set over Godsgrave, the city built amongst the bones of a long-dead god, meaning it’s almost never night (hence the title). One of those suns is red, casting a bloody glow over everything every now and then. Kristoff actually got an astrophysicist friend to design a trinary solar system for him, so the whole concept is very accurate and well imagined. A day is called a turn, because the planet still turns even if the sun doesn’t set (I imagine it’s supposed to be at least somewhat similar to Earth, so a day is roughly 24 hours). I just loved the little details the author included, they really make the story feel fully formed.
“The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.”
There’s a lot of Italian influence in the novel, which you might have guessed from Mia’s name. I wonder whether the strong themes of religion inspired the choice? Either way, it helps to anchor the stranger elements of the world and story in something/somewhere we can all imagine, even if you haven’t visited Italy or the Vatican.
You might have guessed by now, but this is a very graphic series, both violently and sexually. The characters are around sixteen, but this is definitely not YA. In the world of the story, children don’t seem to get much of a childhood, and they are much older and wiser than their years as a result of the environment they’re raised in, so 16 is more like 18, or even older, in the novel.
“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us.”
I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about Nevernight, it was gripping and twisty and stabby and I loved every minute of it. The ending was a surprise, and I’m desperate to get stuck into Godsgrave to see if everything we’re told at the end of book one is true, fingers crossed some of it was just a ruse (no spoilers!).
I’m giving Nevernight five stars because it’s probably my favourite book I’ve read so far this year, I honestly couldn’t get enough of it and must have listened to it every chance I got. I was devastated when it finished and I had to wait three months for the sequel to come out! Definitely read this if you like super dark fantasy with rich world building and plenty of stabbing and sexy times. If you’re not so cool with the graphic elements or swearing, maybe steer clear. But you’ll be missing out 😉
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