Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

About the Book

Publisher: St Martin’s Press  |  Release Date: August 9, 2016  |  Pages: 429
Genre: Adult, Fantasy  |  Format: Hardcover  |  Source: Purchased

Nevernight coverIn 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?

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My Review

Narrative style: third person | Perspective(s): single (omniscient narrator)

#Week of Stab

Welcome friends to the Week of Stabs here on Reader Voracious Blog! For the next two days, I will be posting reviews for Godsgrave and Darkdawn in celebration of Darkdawn‘s release today! (Thank my reading slump for this not happening last week as originally intended.) If you want to follow along on my live reactions as I read the books, feel free to watch this thread on Twitter.


“But after all, this tale is only one of three.
Birth and life and death.
So take my hand now.
Close your eyes.
And walk with me.”

Friends, I am kicking myself for letting this book sit on my owned TBR for as long as it has. I’ve been a fan of everything Jay’s touched so far, so I came into this trilogy with some high expectations. While I struggled at times with the action-heavy scenes, I was absolutely hooked in the last third of the book and I am now eagerly writing this review so that I can dive into Godsgrave.

A bit of a warning. While the main characters are teenagers, The Nevernight Chronicle is not YAThis is a dark, gruesome, bloody book and will not be for everyone. There is a lot of sex and violence within these pages, so please check my content warnings at the bottom of the review to make sure this is a book for you.

There are some authors whose writing just speaks to me, and Kristoff is one of them. The first parallels of the first chapter’s narrative gripped me with its poetic beauty: life, death, and sex paired together as two stories converge and the reader is left guessing what happened. I appreciate the directness of his writing, every word on the page laced with sarcasm. (Come on, there is a horse named Bastard… whose actions live up to its name.)

We all know that I love stories that start at the end, so the fact that we learn on the first page our main character will die piqued my interest something fierce. My mind was turning, excited to piece together what will happen and see how her end will come about.

“Names speak to the namer as much as the named. Maybe I don’t want folks knowing who I am. Maybe I like being underestimated.”

Sixteen-year-old Mia is an assassin-in-training, looking to gain the tools and resources necessary to avenge her family’s death. With no one but her not-cat shadow companion at her side, she navigates the Red Church’s school to learn the arts of thievery, poison, fighting, and seduction.

“Those who call the Dark… well, eventually it calls them back.”

I absolutely loved Mia and I couldn’t help but root for her throughout the story. She’s strong and fiercely loyal, but she is not without fear; there is a vulnerability to her character. Despite being sharp edges, Mia also maintains a purity of heart which the school tries to rip from her. Can you be a cold-blooded killer while also having empathy for others? Her character is so much more interesting because of this: the school is not a place for friends, but she opens herself up anyway. The friendships she forms are to be treasured, and undoubtedly the interactions between the characters were my favorite part of reading this book.

“This place gives much. But it takes much more. They may make her beautiful on the outside, but inside, they aim to shape a horror.”

While the main romance in the book being heterosexual, Mia is unabashedly bisexual without any need for justification or her coming out in text – which I appreciate.

“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 see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”

The first two-thirds of the book manages to be action-packed while also setting a lot of the world-building up for the reader. This book uses footnotes to expand on some elements mentioned in the story, as well as add some snark and humor. I was worried the footnotes would be bothersome, but they worked well for me and enhanced the story.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely sold on the book until I was about two-thirds of the way in. I wasn’t sure if it was the book or my slump that was causing the disconnect, but I found myself eager for more character interaction than the action of the plot but also wasn’t sure how I felt about anyone other than Mia and Tric (aka I love them). But then all hell broke loose and I was mad. And hooked.

I am really interested as to who the narrator is, as well as learning more about Mia’s darkin ability, so I am excited to dive right into Godsgrave next. The main reason this was a four-star read for me was the uncomfortable appropriation of Maori culture and what felt like uneven pacing to me (I full-on skimmed action scenes and was worried this would be a 3-star read for me for a little over half of the book.) Nevernight turned out to be a fantastic adult fantasy read that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to those who like YA-style stories with darker themes.

Content warnings: animal death (pg. 36), blood, child death (off-page), death of a parent, loss of a loved one, murder, sexually explicit scenes, torture
Representation: bisexual main character

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

24 Comments

  1. Tammy

    September 3, 2019 at 8:18 PM

    Love that you’re a big Kristoff fan! I do love this series and will be jumping into Darkdawn in the next couple of books. Have you read his Stormdancer books?

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:03 AM

      I haven’t read those yet, but am looking forward to it eventually. I am honestly TERRIFIED to read Darkdawn??? I just don’t want it to end.

  2. Paul's Picks

    September 3, 2019 at 8:51 PM

    I know, I know, Kal… This has been sitting on my Kindle forever!!! I gotta read it!

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:04 AM

      It sat n my Kindle for like 1.5 years, so I know the feeling haha! It was well worth the wait, and now you can read all 3 books with no waiting!

  3. thewolfandbooks

    September 3, 2019 at 9:38 PM

    This review is so good. I also love the formatting. It’s so organized.

    Oooh and I read the books so quickly that I missed the Maori culture appropriation…. I’ll have to research on that so I’m aware. I’m glad you ended up enjoying it all things considered.

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:05 AM

      Thank you so much, I am glad you like my formatting!!!

      Tric’s facial tattoos (and the ones for his people) kind of didn’t sit well with me.

  4. TheCaffeinatedReader

    September 4, 2019 at 2:17 AM

    So, I preordered Darkdawn, I have no excuse now not to read this trilogy, I really want to dive into these but my September tbr is so full I want to cry, I can’t wait for your Godsgrave review!!!!

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:08 AM

      Hahahaha, that is me with so many series! I enjoy the trilogy enough but I’ll be honest that it’s not 1000% for me, I think it’s the heavy action scenes? IDK I just don’t care and skim whenever it happens lmao

      1. TheCaffeinatedReader

        September 11, 2019 at 12:38 PM

        I skim like every romance scene ever, I’m the worst for it, so like I really want to read this but I’m like ‘how much skimming will there be??’

        1. Kal

          September 11, 2019 at 1:44 PM

          There’s a good amount of steamy smut; I’d say approximately 2 scenes per book? So less skimming than me with the action scenes lmao

  5. waytoofantasy

    September 4, 2019 at 6:51 AM

    Oh, so glad you loved this one, this has become one of my favorite series. I’ve just started Darkdawn and I’m excited and sad because I don’t want it to end!

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:09 AM

      Friend, SAME. I started Darkdawn and kind of put it down after 11% because I’m just not ready.

      1. waytoofantasy

        September 11, 2019 at 11:25 AM

        Right?! I keep starting and stopping and an 18 hr book should not take me this long to get through but there you have it. I’m afraid of the end! What’s gonna happen when I’m done this journey???

  6. sepiareads

    September 4, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    Love your review and the way it’s organised.I’ve been meaning to read this book for so long and I think your review is the one that’ll actually get me to pick it up soon! I’m going to reserve it from Overdrive and read as soon as it’s available. I’ve put it off long enough!

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:25 AM

      Thank you so much, I am glad you like my reviewing format! I’m glad my review encouraged you to out that Overdrive request in, and I hope you enjoy it when you can read it!!!

  7. Krisha🌸

    September 5, 2019 at 10:53 AM

    I love your review! I’ll definitely want to try this series now 😊💛

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:30 AM

      Yes do it!!! Such a fun and spicy series, haha!

  8. Jothany Williams

    September 5, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    This just came off hold for me at the library so I’m currently reading it. Only at chapter 3 so far. Hopefully I come to love it just as much as everyone else does.

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:31 AM

      I hope you are enjoying/enjoyed it!!! I’ll admit it took some time for me to settle into it, but the characters won this over for me. Hands down.

  9. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    September 5, 2019 at 10:13 PM

    Wonderful review, Kal! I honestly want to read this one very badly, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get past the explicit sex scenes and graphic violence. I love Kristoff’s writing in Lifel1k3 and Illuminae, so I’m sure this one would be a hit for me. Perhaps I’ll just wait a few years before I think I’m ready for it. I love how the novel starts with a character’s death (I think that is the BEST way to start a book), and it’s great to know that you loved Mia’s character! I hope the next books are even more enjoyable for you than the first in this series! <3

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      This one is definitely very explicit, so if that isn’t something you enjoy I would definitely recommend shelving this series for a bit. But yes, I love knowing full-on that things will not be okay, there won’t be a happy ending. But I am curious to find out how it happens. Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comment! xoxo

  10. Erin Eliza

    September 8, 2019 at 10:26 AM

    Great review Kal! I’ll be getting to this one so soon because I’m tired of being on the outs with this one! haha

    1. Kal

      September 11, 2019 at 11:48 AM

      YESSS Do it and then scream in the NN channel on the discord server! I am dragging my heels on Darkdawn, so there’s plenty of time to catch up to me lol

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