Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

My Rating: 5_star_rating_system_4_and_a_half_stars

Synopsis:

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

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My Review

I was so excited to start Nevernight. I’d read some really good reviews and had high hopes after the brilliance that was Illuminae. Let me just say, Amie Kaufman clearly reigns in Jay Kristoff. If you thought Illuminae was gory, then wait till you read Nevernight.

I really enjoyed this book. Truly and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great characters, intrigue, wit, gore, it had it all. One thing I especially loved was the world-building. I’ve seen in some reviews that people didn’t really like the footnotes, but I actually liked them! After studying English at uni and reading books with tons of footnotes and asterisks, I’m pretty used to them now, and they’re often full of interesting information. The footnotes here in Nevernight really added to the depth of the world Kristoff has created and they were often just funny anecdotes too. I didn’t feel like they detracted from the flow of the story at all.

I actually found a lot of comparisons with Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series in this book. I don’t mean comparisons in the sense of Nevernight stole ideas from Sabriel etc. or just regurgitated them, but there were definite similarities. A cult living in a mountain? Yep. A labyrinthine library that is home to some things much more unsavoury than just books? Yes. A smart-arse cat? Definitely. However, there are of course differences here too. Whilst the Clayr’s Glacier in Nix’s series is home to a benevolent clan of clairvoyant women, the Red Church is home to some very deadly assassins. Whilst the Red Church library has its dangers, it’s not quite as dangerous as some of the Free Magic entities lurking within the depths of the Clayr’s library. And whilst Mister Kindly from Nevernight is sarky and made of darkness, his allegiances are much clearer than those of the Old Kingdom’s Mogget. I actually enjoyed finding these comparisons. Like I said, they’re just similarities, not blatant plagiarism, but it definitely helped my enjoyment. So, if you like Nix’s series, you may like Nevernight. 

Another thing I enjoyed here was the plot and the pacing. The story itself was, overall, original and a very fun read. I would often be reading and think “right, I’m gonna stop at the end of this chapter” and then some massive cliff-hanger would arise and I’d have to keep reading, desperate to know what happens next with all the twists and turns. Some people mentioned it lagged a little at the beginning, and I can see that, but because I enjoyed the world-building I didn’t mind, and it didn’t move slowly for very long. I’m not going to spoil too much about the world because I think it’ll be more fun to read about it yourself, but there was a definite Roman/Greek undertone to it that I loved.

So, why only 4.5/5? Well, as I mentioned in my September wrap-up, Mia annoyed me a little. I failed to fully connect with her and I’m not too sure why. I think perhaps it was because her confidence sometimes slipped over into the realm of cockiness. I did warm to her much more by the end – I think she definitely matured – but for a large portion of the book I found myself struggling to feel much for her, which was a shame. However, I did enjoy other characters, such as Tric, Mercurio, a few of the Shahiid’s and Mister Kindly. Tric certainly had his flaws (he was a sulker) and there was sometimes something a little sinister about Mister Kindly, but I did really like them.

Yet, being a Jay Kristoff book, I knew there was going to be a fair bit of death. Why oh why does Kristoff insist on killing off my favourite characters all the time?! I’m not going to mention who, of course, but don’t get too attached to anyone, I’m warning you now; Kristoff is the George R. R. Martin of the young adult world. Not that this book is young adult. It may feature teenage protagonists, but this book contains a lot of gore, swearing and sex. You won’t find this book in the YA section. However, I wouldn’t warn teenagers away from it. It’s definitely a 16+ book and, after all, Mia is only 16 and she engages in many of the aforementioned activities.

So, overall, I loved this book. Whilst my inability to fully connect with Mia meant the rating came down slightly, I still highly recommend it as an enjoyable and twisted fantasy. I’m excited to see where the story goes next.

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Have you read Nevernight? What did you think? Or are you hoping to read it in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

caitlin

 

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19 thoughts on “Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

    • Thank you, and me! I had high hopes and I was happy that it met those! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was annoyed about that. I was hoping for some kind of miraculous recovery. I would have liked to see that character develop in the other books but oh well, I’ll just have to get over it! But yeah Kristoff does make a habit of it so I should have seen it coming really haha. I’m glad you enjoyed the book too! 🙂

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  1. Fantastic review, hun! I’m glad that you enjoyed Nevernight, it was definitely one of my favourite reads recently. So an incredible book. Though, I do understand what you mean about Mia. Yes, she was definitely confident, but it sometimes to slip over into cockiness. But I did find that enjoyable to read… sometimes. And yes! Amie Kaufman definitely reigns in Jay Kristoff. My goodness, can you imagine what Illuminae would have been like if she didn’t. That’s a scary thought!

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    • Thank you! Yeah it’s definitely been a highlight in my reading year. I’m glad you agree about Mia, I think that was why I struggled to get on with her. The cockiness was fun to read sometimes and others it was just frustrating. I definitely warmed to her at the end though because she matured. Haha Illuminae would 100% have been a blood bath if Jay Kristoff had his way! I don’t know whether that would have been a good read or a downright terrifying read!

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  2. What a great review– I haven’t heard anyone compare this to Old Kingdom, but I love those books, so I feel like I am likely to enjoy this, too. However, I wonder… I don’t deal well with graphic violence. Illuminae didn’t bother me since it wasn’t graphic. Do you think this is more graphic, is there just MORE violence? That could be a game changer here…

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    • Thank you! Yeah when I was reading it I kept on finding similarities that I wasn’t expecting which was quite cool. Hmm I think Nevernight is more graphic than Illuminae. It’s a little more violent but there’s also more detail on all kinds of bodily fluids haha so it might be a little too much. People bathe in blood and there’s lots of talk about people throwing up and what poisons are doing to the body’s organs. So it might be a little too much I think but it is a really great book and you could try and skip the passages, but they are quite frequent. I don’t want to warn you away from the book as it’s great, but I don’t want to egg you on to read it in case it’s too much for you hahah but if you do give it a go I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. Great review I’m so glad you liked this one! I personally loved it but it wasn’t my first Kristoff book so I knew what to expect, his main characters are young adult but the material isn’t necessarily like you said. Since you liked Nevernight you should check out his other series The Lotus War, I kind of liked the first book Stormdancer a bit better than Nevernight! 🙂

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