Updated: Jun 22
Okay I know I'm late to the Nevernight party. I'd been too busy admiring beautiful pictures of Mia and Mister Kindly on bookstagram for a while and wondered whether or not it would be worth the hype. I've fell into a bookstagram hype before (cough The Cruel Prince cough) and hated books that have a huge hype behind them, but with Nevernight I was astounded with how worthwhile the hype really is.
So what exactly is Nevernight about?
When a young girls father is murdered and her mother and brother locked away forever, she joins a church of assassins to train to kill those who took her family. With magical gifts literally written in the shadows she works her way through the trials that await her in the Red Church, stepping closer to the thing she seeks most. Revenge.
So a girl assassin plotting revenge isn't exactly a new story is it? Especially not in the YA world, but Nevernight is Adult fantasy following a 16 year old (weird but it works, I promise.) Jay Kristoff pulls it off, and here's why I think he has done it better than anyone else:
An Italian inspired rich world, expertly described without becoming too much. Jay also includes footnotes to delve even deeper into his world which is great if you want to find out more but if you don't, it wont take away anything from the story by not reading them.
Amazing settings, I loved the three suns, meaning the title of Nevernight was more literal than I first realised. And judging by the size of the amazing map we will see much more of Itreya than we saw in this book.
Seriously rich characters, with sometimes crippling flaws (I will go into my favourite ones in more detail further down this review.)
The most unique type of power for a main character, her magic is literally being able to control the shadows and her shadow cat Mister Kindly is just the sarcastic, funny and loving sidekick that every main character needs in their life.
Lets dive into the characters shall we?
Mia has seen some shit. It's no wonder she's so pent on revenge, she can't help but be fucked up. She starts the book watching her father be hanged and her mother imprisoned in 'The philosophers stone' (No relation to HP, I promise) a huge prison where she literally goes mad and her little brother presumed dead. She feels no sense of purpose in her life other than driving her blade into the people responsible for her families downfall. But even though she is a cold blooded killer, she's still a teenager, desperate to feel. Her slowly growing relationship with her fellow assassin student Tric is something that makes this book so special, TRIC DESERVES BETTER is all I will say until I get to his section.
Wow, this little cat made of shadows is possibly one of my favourite side characters ever written. He literally feeds off of Mia's fears and nightmares, making her a much stronger girl than she could ever be without him. But their relationship is more than this, he follows her everywhere. He's supports her when she is scared, he helps her when confused, and offers a sarcastic comment when entirely not asked for. But he does have his weaknesses and these come to light when you read further into the book.
Oh Tric, poor poor Tric. A boy with a soul so pure, who had a life of shit handed to him. He didn't deserve any of the horrific things thrown at him early in life and he certainly didn't deserve what happened to him at the end of this book. I am almost inclined to never forgive Jay for this betrayal, how can you make me fall in love with a character and then do something so tragic without any real recognition of his greatness? I don't think I will get over Tric for a long time. And that's all I will say about that.
I would go into more side characters but they tend to drop like flies and i'll leave some for the pleasure of first time Nevernight readers. But here's a brief list of other character I did appreciate:
Mercurio - The only real father figure to Mia, and deep down, a kind soul.
Aelius is The Chronicler - LOVED him, the keeper of books in the red church's library full to the brim with literal book worms and other monsters lurking in the deep forest of books.
Captain Puddles - ANOTHER POOR POOR SOUL WHO DESERVED BETTER.
I adored this book, I'm just rooting so much for Mia and she did at least get some satsifaction after a whole lot of heart at the end of the book. I really spent my time with this read, it took me a little longer than usual because I wanted to feel the settings, understand the characters and really get behind Mia's cause. I can hand on my heart say I haven't fell this deep into a world for a little while now and I'm so glad it happened with Nevernight. I have read brilliant books too quickly before and I didn't want to make that mistake with Mia's story. Thank god I bought the entire set because it's safe to say I won't be wasting much time before devouring Godsgrave and Darkdawn. Jay can now be added to my list of auto read authors, can't wait to dive into his other books too.
Would I recommend? WHOLEHEARTEDLY YES.
How many stars? 5/5
Was this my favourite book that I have read in 2020 so far? YAH.
Will I make a booksleeve based on Nevernight? OH YES, watch this space closely.