Ummmm, who the hell let me go this long without reading Nevernight? And WHY?
When Nevernight first came out, I had every intention on reading it. Because who doesn’t love stories about aspiring assassins, right? But for some reason, I didn’t get to it right away and as time went on, I kind of lost interest in it and forgot about it. The guy I’ve been seeing bought it for me and practically begged me to read it and if there is anyone among the book blogging community who could resist that kind of adorable shit, hats off to you because you are stronger than me. It all worked out though because this was honestly AMAZING and I’m so, so, so happy I finally read it. I need book 2, like, now.
Anyway, let me get into my actual review, yes?
This was my first time reading anything by Kristoff and I was warned that the ending would be a lot to handle. Somehow I was still woefully unprepared for it. The last fifty pages were INTENSE and had a huge plot twist that I was soooo not expecting.
Much of the plot of Nevernight reminded me of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller, a favorite of mine. It has a very similar story line – teen enters a deadly competition to become a famed assassin so they can avenge their family. Nevernight is definitely more mature than MoS with a lot more gory details, sexual content, etc. But if you enjoyed one, I think you’d enjoy the other. They’re similar without being identical stories. Both have a very high-stakes plot that keeps you on edge, hoping for the best outcome possible while knowing that a happily-ever-after ending is highly unlikely.
One of the things that takes Nevernight from good to great is the cast of characters. Our main character, Mia, is a firecracker. She does not put up with anyone’s shit. She knows what she stands for and she will not allow anything or anyone to get in her way. She has her faults, of course, and she faces her fair share of stumbling blocks along the way but she always does her best to stay true to herself and remember why she’s doing what she’s doing. Aside from Mia, there are a plethora of other fantastic characters, all very intriguing, even if they aren’t the most morally upstanding. This is a book about would-be assassins, after all. Each of them has their own motivations carrying them through the competition and they each bring their own thing to the story. In particular, I really enjoyed Ashlinn and Tric, both of whom befriend Mia pretty early on. (Side note about characters before I move on: I would highly recommend not getting too attached to anyone.)
Nevernight takes place within a rather unique world as well and while I wouldn’t say the world-building is one of the shining stars of the novel (I think the characters and the plot/action deserve that title more), it’s certainly done well. I liked the contrast between Aa and Niah’s followers with Aa’s followers being seen as morally good and Niah’s as evil heretics. I’m also incredibly interested to see Mia discover more about what it means for her to be Darkin, as she’s still relatively uncertain of this aspect of herself and wants to learn more about it. There are a lot of interesting elements that I look forward to seeing more of as I finish out the trilogy.
There honestly wasn’t anything about Nevernight that I outright disliked. The first chapter kind of confused me, as it shifts back and forth between two different stories but they’re both told in almost identical structure/language. Even with that said, I wouldn’t say it was something I disliked, but was just something that took me a few pages to get used to. It’s definitely an… interesting way to start off the book, but I won’t say anymore than that.
Nevernight far exceeded my expectations, in case that wasn’t already evident. Kristoff began telling Mia’s story with impressive craft and I genuinely cannot wait to read Godsgrave. Though from what I hear, it’s going to kill me.
Who would I recommend to? Anyone looking for a cutthroat competition, badass female protagonist, and/or unique fantasy. Readers who enjoyed Linsey Miller’s Mask of Shadows.
Who should stay away? Anyone with a weak stomach, who doesn’t like dark, violent stories, or who is uncomfortable with sexual content.
Content warnings for sexual harassment, animal cruelty, violence, sexual content.