My rating in stars: 5 stars
My rating in words: New all-time favorite
What it’s about:
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.
In 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?
My thoughts (Spoiler-free):
“Never flinch. Never fear. And never, ever forget.’
Honestly, it took me a while to love this. I was anticipating this book for months. And then I started reading it and… for the first 100 or so pages, I though it might just be my first DNF of the year. It was really hard for me to get into the story. The writing style was very unique, but rather dense and tough to focus on, at least it was for me at first.
But I kept on reading. And I am so glad I did, because this almost-DNF actually became one of my all-time favorites. I would not have wanted to miss out on this gorgeous story and everything that was so amazing in it. And there are lots of amazing things:
- A school of assasins. I repeat, this story has a SCHOOL FOR ASSASSINS. And sure, this is already clear from the blurb so you may already be expecting it, but it is so much better than you could have expected! The training is brutal and the teachers are literally trying to kill the students in all sorts of creative ways.
- Mia Corvere and her quest for revenge. Mia is amazing. During those first 100 pages I did not like her all that much, but even that dislike turned into pure love by the end. She is such an original ‘anti-heroine’ and I couldn’t help but root for her and her quest for revenge. Even though she is a brutal, dangerous girl in a school full of murderers, I still loved watching her struggle to keep that shred of herself, to not lose herself completely, and to never lose sight of her revenge. She was snarky, sassy, intelligent and loyal and I adored her. Also, her ability to control shadows? PURE AWESOMENESS! Talking about shadows…
- Mister Kindly. Mia has a shadowcat companion. Yes, a talking cat made out of shadows, named Mister Kindly. Yes, I was skeptical about that at first. But he was one of the highlights of the book and his interactions with Mia were pure GOLD. I kind of wish I had my own shadowcat companion right about now, just saying.
- The secondary characters. From the intimidating other students to the super intimidating teachers, this book was filled with super intriguing characters. Some of them I loved to hate and others I just loved. I loved getting to know them and I can’t wait to learn more still.
- The brutality. Nevernight does not hold back on the brutality. There is gore, there is blood, there is swearing and there is sex. Though technically the main protagonist is 16, this story can in no way be classified as young adult. But it never feels like it’s done for shock value. It’s just how this world is and how these characters are. I actually felt some Game of Thrones vibes in the brutality and the moral greyness of each and every character. (Yay for morally grey characters!)
- The world. This is a huge fantasy world and there is so much still to learn about it. I love how well built it was and this was done in huge part thanks to the following item on the list…
- The footnotes. What a fun, original way to do the worldbuilding! Though a bit weird at first, I came to love them and was always looking forward to the next one. They were darkly funny and a great way to learn more about the world.
So if you’re like me and you’re struggling a bit in the beginning of this book, please hold on and give it a chance. Because despite the slow start, this book is one big whirlwind of a ride. It’s going down as a new favorite and I can’t wait for the next books in the series!
“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 the words. A girl with a story to tell.”
“Your mind will serve you better than any trinket under the suns…It is a weapon…and like any weapon, you need practice to be any good at wielding it.”
“You’ll be a rumor. A whisper. The thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. The last thing you will ever be, girl, is someone’s hero.”
“If I were going to name my blade,” Mia said thoughtfully, “I’d call it ‘Fluffy.”