The idea of revenge is very attractive to me. So many movies, shows, and books glorify turning the other cheek or letting go of revenge to be the better person, but my level of pettiness demands that I sometimes put myself to bed at night with stories inside my head of how I might get even or bring those who have wronged me to justice. I don’t have to be the one to do it, it just has to get done. I’m not really even talking about murder either. Just justice. And if I’m there smirking as they meet their just desserts so they can see that I’ve won, all the better.
Book 1 of the Nevernight series is all about revenge and murder. Jay Kristoff begins by holding up a mirror between the present and the past, showing how our main character Mia came to be trained as an assassin, and how she came to be sent to, essentially, assassin’s college at the Red Church to be trained as a Blade – a professional assassin.
A couple of things that I absolutely loved about this book:
- The mythology. There is a strong story about the gods and goddesses that play a role in this society. Mia lives in a land where there are 3 suns that are only all down once a year, a time they call Truedark, and all other times it is light. The Light God Aa and the Night Goddess Niah apparently had a fight when, instead of bearing him only daughters to avoid competition, she then bore him a son and he beat and banished her. The story is deeper than that but that’s enough. I like a fantasy novel that knows its business when it comes to its myths.
- The storyline. It simply never wavers. Everything is airtight, realistic, gritty, and unforgiving. Her training under the mountain at the Red Church is also kind of a contest/trial which adds to the suspense. We are not sure who is friend and who is foe, but in the end it’s less about trust and more about having a code.
- The characters. I would consider this book to be more plot-driven than character-driven, but Kristoff does just enough that I felt invested in Mia’s struggle, in her fellow acolytes that are in training with her, in the Shahiids that train them. You know just enough to be afraid, to hate certain characters and to root for others.
- The magic. Mia is what they call Darkin, she is blessed by the Goddess of Night, Niah, and can summon shadows to do her bidding, use them to travel, and I am sure we have not seen the extent to which her abilities can stretch just yet. She also has a shadow companion, Mister Kindly, a cat that stays with her and eats her fear to keep her sane and strong. There is another darkin that we meet too, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. All I know is I want a shadow friend to follow me around and be sassy with me. Preferably a phoenix or hawk of some kind.
- The ending. I couldn’t read fast enough. When the twist happens and we’re racing against time I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what happens. I finished this book sated and satisfied, yet looking forward to book 2 for my next meal. It comes out on September 5th and I’ll have to decide whether to buy or wait for my library to have it.
I have been looking for a fantasy series to read while I wait for Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo to come out with more books. I knocked at the door of several, including the Red Queen series and A Darker Shade of Magic series, but I think I have finally found what I was looking for in Nevernight. Check it out, and then wait impatiently with me for Godsgrave, out September 5th.