I would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author – Jay Kristoff for an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jay Kristoff is an Australian author of fantasy and science fiction and has written a few books, but this was the first one I read by him. Nevernight is the first book in Nevernight Chronicle trilogy about assassin Mia and was first published this year in August.
This book talks about girl named Mia who seeks vengeance over the murderer of her father. In order to claim his blood, she trains under a Shahiid in Godsgrave, who teaches her all he can in order for Mia to step into Red Church’s – an assassin organisation’s challenge and become a Blade – the highest level of honour for an assassin in the Red Church.
I was expecting this book to beat up Throne of Glass (which I disliked a lot – review) and become my favourite assassin book (because the spot is empty). Obviously assassin books are becoming a trend and soon it will be time to choose the best one of them, just like it was with dystopias and fairy tale retellings. This book was better than Throne of Glass in my eyes and it had a great potential, but it wasn’t the best.
I have to warn you that this book contains strong language, explicitly described murder, blood and sex, so it is not suitable for children and probably not suited for those who loved Throne of Glass (I’m talking about the book, not the series), because it shows things like they are – not just an assassin version of a princess who imagines she can do all sorts of things and whine about how no one in the world knows how she looks like or what dress she has on. This is more about cold blooded murders mixing with murders of innocents, assassins questioning the need of it and reasons and emotions behind it, their hiding to avoid punishment and making sure no one recognises the them, so no one could ever catch them. They have to be shadows and some of them are indeed.
There are a couple of huge turning points for me – first of all, a lot of readers never made it past the first two chapters and after I read the quotes and reviews, I was kind of thinking of not reading this book at all, but as it was one of my most anticipated books of the month of August, I read on. I have to say that the language and the world in the first couple of chapters is hard to understand and very complicated, sometimes the expressions didn’t make sense or made me think a lot to make me understand the sense, but after the first couple of chapters, the continuation was smooth. Although the language sometimes was a bit repetitive, it never got as complicated and unnecessary as at the beginning. I am very disappointed that so many people didn’t even read past fifteen minutes in this book to decide that it was terrible.
The world building in this book was quite amazing. I have to admit that the end notes were a bit hard to read and I would have definitely preferred to have a hard copy, because it is easier to flip it, but instead I was juggling my tablet and phone at the same time, so I wouldn’t have to click millions of times in one device. I appreciated though that all the numbers were linked (meaning that if in a chapter was a note, I could click the number and go to the end notes and once I had read it, if I clicked the number in end notes, it would take me back to the chapter in the right place) and it would have been easy to use, if the numbers wouldn’t be so small and hard to click.
But the book and the story didn’t leave me entirely happy. My biggest problem was the sex scenes which in some sense made this book that tried to be everything that modern young adult literature is not, into what modern young adult literature is. And that’s disappointing. The sex scenes were very explicit, but didn’t seem too realistic and there were too many of them. The scenes offered little to the plot, which is an even bigger disappointment and made the protagonist look weaker than I would like to. Putting sex in all the books seems trendy now and it just makes me facepalm every time I read about it. I was also a bit interested in a male author writing about the female experience of orgasm. I don’t really want to spoil it and/or sound inappropriate, but now I’m kind of curious about how it works for all the ladies in the world.
I liked the plot twists, I liked how the author played with the reader and made the reader think one just to prove that the reader believed in a lie. And although I had a hard time with this book, meaning I read it for a really long time, I think that at the end I can say that I liked it.
There’s no doubt that I will read the second book in the series, because the second half of Nevernight was intense and awesome and I want to know what is going to happen. This book received three stars from me on my goodreads page and I wouldn’t recommend it to those who love the fluffy, fairy tale ending books where protagonists are made to look good, but not be very realistic.