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, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.
Book One – Nevernight Chronicles
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This book was so amazing that immediately after finishing it, I purchased TWO copies for myself. If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what else will. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is an amazing feat wordsmanship that takes your breath away with the very first chapter. The worldbuilding, character development, pacing, and story are incredible, each at the very top of excellence. Do yourself a favor, if you’re in the US, go pre-order this right now while you still can and get a signed copy of the book. If you’re in the UK, try picking up one of the special editions. This is likely the best fantasy book I’ve read in 2016, or even in a very long while. Probably not since The Name of the Wind have I been so enthralled (and this author actually seems like he will continue writing the series instead of abandoning it like Rothfuss did after The Wise Man’s Fear.)
The premise is a simple one. Revenge. We have the orphaned highborn forced to fend for herself, nourishing her soul on thoughts of vengeance – for herself, her mother, her world. You might think you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, but Kristoff does a tremendous job of making this feel different. It feels more intimate, more human. Which is exactly the problem Mia Corvere has once she enters the school for assassins, the Red Church. She feels too much, even though she tries her hardest to be steel, sharp and unyielding.
Mia is just one of the many characters with their reasons for joining the Red Church, and Kristoff gives each of them their own identity. I want to know more about each and every one of them (maybe especially Hush????). Not only are the characters incredibly well-developed, but the world feels remarkably tangible. I never once struggled to imagine the world. I felt my feet firmly planted in the world he created. This is the type of worldbuilding where I’d happily buy an encylopedia of sorts just explaining more of the physical world, the wars, the religions, etc.
The pacing is just as quick as the wit in Nevernight. However, thanks to the solid foundation Kristoff has with his worldbuilding, you’re never swept off your feet and left struggling to catch up. Indeed, towards the end, there are some bits you come to expect (the song competition, the spider competition) but then there are still massive bits that come as such as shock, even though in retrospect it makes complete sense, that you feel every bit of feeling Mia does. I don’t want to give too much away because I need you guys to pick this up and read it for yourselves. However, I will go into A LOT of depth on the spoiler vlog tomorrow.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is by far and away the best fantasy book in 2016. With solid worldbuilding, character development, pacing, story, and incredible wordsmanship, Kristoff has given me a new favorite book, favorite world, to hold beside The Name of the Wind and Lord of the Rings, something I’d not thought to find in a book with a 16 year old protagonist.
Quotes & Excerpts
“Naming your blade is the sort of faff reserved for heroes, girl. Men who have songs sung about them, histories spun for them, brats named after them. It’s the shadow road for you and me. And you dance it right, no one will ever know your name, let alone the pig-sticker in your belt.
“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.”
Chapter 1: Firsts
It’s truth to say in all save solitude — and in some sad cases, even then — you can always count on the company of fools.
Chapter 2: Music
Too young to know his father had ended, and all the world beside him.
Chapter 3: Hopeless
There is a breed of arachnid in Vaan known as the wellspring spider.
The females are black as truedark, and possessed of the most astonishing maternal instinct in the animal republic. Once impregnated, a female builds a larder, stocks it with corpses, then seals herself inside. If the nest is set ablaze, she’ll burn to death rather than abandon it. If beset by a predator, she’ll die defending her clutch. But so fierce is her refusal to leave her young, once her eggs are laid, she won’t move, even to hunt. And herin lies the wellspring’s claim to the title of fiercest mother in the Republic. For once she’s devoured all the stores within her larder, the female begins devouring herself.
One leg at a time.
Plucking her limbs from her thorax. Eating only enough to sustain her vigil. Ripping and chewing until only one leg remains, clinging to the silken treasure trove swelling beneath her. And when her babies hatch, spilling from the strands she so lovingly wrapped them inside, they partake, there and then, of their very first meal.
The mother who bore them.
Chapter 3: Hopeless
You can take the girl from the gutter, but not the gutter from the girl. Sadly, the same can be said of the glitter.
Chapter 4: Kindness
“Cock is just another word for ‘fool.’ But you call someone a cunt, well…” The girl smiled. “You’re implying a sense of malice there. An intent. Malevolent and self-aware. Don’t think I name Consul Scaeva a cunt to gift him insult. Cunts have brains, Don Tric. Cunts have teeth. Someone calls you a cunt, you take it as a compliment. As a sign that folk believe you’re not to be lightly fucked with.” A shrug. “I think they call that irony.”
“Truth is, there’s no difference between your nethers and mine. Aside from the obvious, of course. But one doesn’t carry any more weight than the other. Why should what’s between my legs be considered any smarter or stupider, any worse or better? It’s all just meat, Don Tric. In the end, it’s all just food for worms. Just like Duomo, Remus, and Scaeva will be.”
Chapter 5: Compliments
An inch and forever away from the fall.
Chapter 25: Skin