Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: July 25, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 496
Goodreads || Book Depository

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 the 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 loves her. And they drink her fear.


45 stars

I attended the launch of Nevernight in Sydney last week, where we were able to get finished copies of the book two weeks before release and have them signed by Jay Kristoff himself. It was a super fun event and I had loads of fun with other Sydney bloggers and fans.

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Nevernight is a dark fantasy about an assassin who attends The Red Church, a school that breeds assassins, in order to become skilled enough to take down the men who ruined her family six years ago. Along the way, she meets friends and foes and the path to revenge isn’t as easy as Mia thought.

I absolutely loved this book and it exceeded all of my expectations! I had heard so much pre-release hype and I was a little wary going into it since I’m more of a contemporary fan but I adored it and devoured it in a few sittings. It was dark and gruesome but so completely engaging and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. I did have some problems getting into the book at the start. The narration took me a few chapters to get used to and I found myself constantly having to reread sentences in the first few chapters. But once I got used to it, it was wonderful. The narrator has a very distinct voice and really enjoyed reading from his perspective (I’m assuming it’s a ‘he’). The other thing that made it hard for me to get into the book were the footnotes. There were lots and lots of footnotes for the first quarter of the book and they really took me out of the story and I felt like there wasn’t much flow to the book because of that. I tried ignoring the footnotes and read the story as it was but the footnotes contained some crucial information that I didn’t feel comfortable missing. Thankfully, there were far fewer footnotes in the second half of the novel and I was really able to just enjoy the story and the characters.

I was a big fan of the world in this book. It had an Ancient Rome-inspired fantasy setting and I thought the world building was brilliantly done. My only negative is that some of the world building is achieved through the footnotes and, like I mentioned above, they didn’t really work for me. Having said that, I got a really good sense of the culture, customs and religions of the world and thought it was nicely conceptualised. I also loved The Red Church and thought it was such a fun (errrrr… well brutally fun?) and interesting place. It had a really magical feel to it and the library in the school was magnificent!

“Your mind will serve you better than any trinket under the suns,” she’d said. “It is a weapon, Mia. And like any weapon, you need to practice to be any good at wielding it.”

Mia is one of my new favourite YA characters. She’s not afraid to do what it takes to get what she wants but she also displays a softer and more sensitive side. Even though she’s ruthless and has murder on her mind, she cares deeply for those around her and has a good sense of morality. Her decisions and thought processes were logical and I never once felt that she was overly dramatic or did things that were unrealistic. I absolutely loved her and I really cannot wait to read more about her and see her grow further. I also highly enjoyed some of the side characters, particularly Tric, who becomes somewhat of a love interest. I fell in love with Tric from the very beginning and my love for him only grew as the book progressed *clutches chest*. There were also other great characters at The Red Church but I won’t mention them by name because this post would last forever if I did. Just know that all of the characters were complex and multifaceted and I didn’t find any of them to be boring.

Overall, I loved Nevernight and thought it was a wonderful start to a new trilogy. The book isn’t even technically out yet but I cannot wait to get my hands on book 2!!!


20 thoughts on “Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

  1. Holly says:

    I loved Illuminae, which Jay Kristoff co-wrote, so I’m really excited to read this one! I’m glad you liked it! I haven’t read many books about assassins, but I’m sure it will be interesting and exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lois says:

    Aaaah I am so excited for this book and I love the fact that he doesn’t sugar-coat the brutality of this world. I’ve seen quite a few people mention the footnotes making them feel a bit disconnected from the story but I’m glad to see that they lessen as the story goes on. šŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah, I’m hoping that they don’t include footnotes in the sequel. It was just a bit too much to read. And the fact that some of it was actually crucial world building information… it just didn’t work for me. Some reviewers said that they didn’t read the footnotes at all and enjoyed the story just as much so maybe it was just me not wanting to miss out on anything. But yeah… this book is definitely brutal! Lots of blood, guts and death. And quite explicit sex scenes too. Not quite sure how to categorise it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    Oh yay I’m so glad to hear this is entirely epic! I CANNOT WAIT FOR IT. Hopefully my copy will arrive soon *chews nails nervously in anticipation* šŸ˜‚ I’m all for dark/gritty fantasy, so this seems my kind of thing honestly, ehheheh. And I’m actually keen about these footnotes! I LOVE FOOTNOTES. šŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I have NO doubt that you’ll enjoy Nevernight, Cait! It’s epic and brutal and all the good things. Even though there are no dragons, there are gigantic carnivorous bookworms. LITERAL BOOKWORMS. Hehe I’m keen to see if you still love footnotes after reading this book.


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