Nevernight — Jay Kristoff

May 11, 2018

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

TITLE: Nevernight
AUTHOR: Jay Kristoff
SERIES: The Nevernight Chronicle, #1
RELEASED: August 9th, 2016; Thomas Dunne Books
GENRE: Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: 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?


I already knew that I loved Jay Kristoff’s writing after his contribution to The Illuminae Files series, but I had no idea just how much I would adore his distinct writing voice, the characters and worlds he weaves, or the tremendously emotional stakes and risks that would come into play throughout the course of this brilliant novel. There are books, and then there are stories, with characters who take up so much space in your heart that you could never forget them, and, my friends, Mia Corvere’s tale is a damn story.

“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.”


Nevernight is widely regarded by many as having a unique (and sometimes difficult to follow) format, due to the footnotes, but I wanted to go ahead and touch upon this before getting into the meat of my review. If you have DNFed this book due to the footnotes, please pick it back up. They are hilarious and odd, and relay a great deal of back story about the world of Godsgrave, but if you have a hard time keeping yourself involved in the story, skip the footnotes and come back to them later. I say this because so many of my friends and followers have told me the footnotes caused them to DNF the book, and that’s a shame, truly, because this is one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve ever read in my life.

“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 in this world, girl, is someone’s hero.”

Mia Corvere is such a lovable, yet vicious little narrator: despite her bloodthirst and desperate need for vengeance, there’s something a little bit fragile and very young inside of her that I loved so much. It’s like every other scene with her was simultaneously putting me in awe of how clever and strong she could be, yet making me wish I could protect her from the aches of her brutal, bloody past. She’s been through hell and then some, but she has humor for days, and isn’t afraid to let herself care—even if it doesn’t always feel as though it’s in her own best interest.

“Walk softly. Learn well. May Our Lady be late when she finds you. And when she does, may she greet you with a kiss.”

Much of the true terror of Nevernight, however, comes from the school she attends. Fantasy readers all over the world are familiar with the idea of a protagonist being sent to a boarding school, but Jay’s twist on this is that the “school” Mia seeks out is no Hogwarts—unless Hogwarts replaced Quidditch and Transfiguration with a lot of murder, torture, poisons, and sex. The Red Church is such an incredible setting. It’s painted beautifully vivid, and it’s full of so many mysteries that, no matter how much I learned about it, I constantly felt that I was barely scratching the surface of what it had to offer. I would say, in fact, that just as Mia is one of my new favorite protagonists, the Red Church is easily one of my favorite settings.

She looked the knife over, this way and that.
“Should I give it a name?”
“You could, I suppose. But what’s the point?”
“It’s this bit.” She touched the blade’s tip. “The part you stick them with.”

Of course, it’s not all bloodshed, betrayal, and sex—it’s also a lot of humor, a bit of unlikely alliance-forming (and friendship), and a monster-filled library with the most fascinating and lovable caretaker you’ve ever seen. (Honestly, I could have happily spent chapter upon chapter simply watching Mia sift through this library.) The book also constantly breaks the fourth wall by addressing its reader, which is such a fun and unique spin on storytelling that I found myself constantly tabbing pages for no reason other than the phrasing was so distinct and fantastic. Even if I had never read The Illuminae Files, this book would have quite easily been plenty to convince me that Jay Kristoff belongs on my auto-buy list forever.

“The wolf does not pity the lamb. The storm begs no forgiveness of the drowned.”

I could really ramble and gush about this book, and how much I adore Mia, for days on end, but the end result would still be the same: me trying and failing to explain to you all how much I adored this story, how much I desperately want to read everything and anything that Jay ever writes, and how certain I am that each and every one of you needs to pick this book up if you are any sort of fantasy fan at all, because it is truly worth every second of your time.



More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

Leave a comment
    1. Wonderful review Destiny!
      I am one of those that picked this book up a few times but can’t get into it. I have it on my shelf to try again soon!

    1. Amazing review as usual Destiny! Honestly, I could sit here all day and sing Kristoff’s praises because he is just fantastic! I love his writing style too and I will basically pick up anything and everything he writes as well! 🙂

    1. I absolutely love Nevernight and Godsgrave!! This is a fantastic review that encapsulates everything I love about this book!

    1. Great review, Destiny! I am reading this right this instant and absolutely loving it so far. The footnotes add so much to the worldbuilding. And Mia is such a great character so far!

    1. Ooh, I actually tried to read Nevernight whenever it came out but, I ended up DNFing it. But, I think maybe I just should have read it physically instead of via the audio. Your review has got me excited so maybe I’ll try to read it again?

        1. Hahaha! I really need to read his other work! Also, I sadly didn’t like Godsgrave as much as Nevernight…but that tends to happen to me with middle books in trilogies lol

    1. Okay, now I’m here like “I need to read this ASAP.” But I only own Nevernight so far. Haven’t bought Godsgrave yet. And with all the reviews I’ve been reading [A LOT] I can’t imagine not loving these books.. Which makes me think I should just get the hardcover of Godsgrave and eventually replace my paperback-Nevernight with a hardcover as well and.. yeah. [dream on, Kathy, you aren’t allowed to buy books.]

      1. Duuuude, DO IT. You can make an exception for these. 😉 Fair warning: I’m told that Godsgrave has a HUUUUUGE cliffhanger ending, and Darkdawn MIGHT have just been pushed back to September of NEXT year… Goodreads is saying Sep ’19, Amazon is saying a few different dates, and the publisher’s site is saying Sep ’19. I want to read Godsgrave so bad I can barely stand it, but I think I’m going to wait until I know how long it’ll be between books. 😡

        1. Holy. Seriously?! I thought it was coming out THIS YEAR. What is it with these evil publishers. D: Okay, no. Now I’m going to put the whole series even more down on my TBR because I cannot handle any more cliffhangers. <.< Especially not ones where I'll have to wait for A YEAR AND A HALF?!

          1. Right! It originally was coming out this August or September, then it got moved to November, and now it STILL hasn’t been confirmed if it’s really being delayed to 2019… sigh.

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