Published: August 11th 2016 by HarperVoyager
Format: ARC, 643 pages
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Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
The first book in The Nevernight Chronicle, Nevernight is the kind of book you line up for. It’s a superbly crafted story that had me hooked from the very first chapter.
Here’s the thing – Nevernight is a book that you will either love, or will be disappointed in. There will be very few people with opinions in the middle. I LOVED IT, and I’ll rave about it and push it into people’s hands and it will dominate all the Best Of … lists I will make from now. But the things that I love about it are also things that some readers will find problematic.
For example, the book is conveyed through a snarky historian who is recounting events after the fact. He routinely interrupts the story to share his opinions, fills the manuscript with footnotes that flesh out the world-building, and has a distinct manner of speaking. I think it’s a brilliant technique, one that Kristoff pulled off admirably, but there will be readers who will tire of the narration style.
The writing is beautiful; lush and richly descriptive. I enjoyed it immensely, but again, some readers may find it dense or overwritten. This book is not for the faint-hearted, however. It doesn’t pull punches when describing sex or violence. The deaths are gory. The scenes are gritty. The sex is explicit. It’s definitely one for older readers – it’s being marketed by HarperVoyager, and not HarperTeen, for a reason.
I loved Mia. Also known as Pale Daughter, Kingmaker, and Crow, she’s smart and witty, with a healthy dash of irreverence. Mia wants revenge for her father’s death. She’s a darkin – marked by the Night God and protected by shadows – who has lost the ability to feel fear. It renders her eerily inhuman – she lacks a certain warmth that would endear her to readers (think Arya Stark), so some may find it difficult to cheer for her. She can be selfish and mean and strays dangerously close to anti-hero territory at times.
The other characters are also delightful. I couldn’t help but love Tric, and even grew to like Bastard the insufferable horse. And then there are the Masters – Spiderkiller and Alaea were instant favourites!
The world-building is one of my favourite things about Nevernight. It’s set on a planet that orbits three suns, and Truedark occurs once every 3 or so years. The magic system, history and mythology are all intertwined, with the Sun God and Night God battling it out in the background. This is an exciting world with lots of secrets to uncover!
Nevernight is the best book I’ve read so far this year. It’s everything amazing and wonderful, and I cannot wait for the next instalment!