Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff - Book Review

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
                                          Publication Date: August 11, 2016
My rating: 4 stars

*Looking up from the pages of the notebook, I rub my bloodshot and blurry eyes*
O, hello there, gentelfriends. I almost did not see you there.
*Picking up the pages lying all around, I'm trying to make, somehow, order in the chaos*
Forgive me about the mess. It has been a very long time now since I last reviewed a book. Especially a book as... other as Nevernight.
*Clearing my throat*
I think I got this now. Or almost got it. Whatever the case, I am ready to begin.

But before we start, a fair warning to you lot: for those of you who have yet to be immersed into Nevernight's dark pages, I shall recommend not to proceed beyond the 'full review (with spoilers)' sign.
Apart from that, do not fear to read ahead.
After all...

Never flinch.
Never fear. 

And never... ever forget. 

Let me start by saying Nevernight is not your conventional kind of story.
And I expected nothing less from Jay Kristoff.

Which is why it took me about 100 pages to really get into Nevernight.
Because trust me, as much as I am going to sing serenades about this book in the future, In the beginning... I was weirded the hell out and beyond confused. 

Not surprising, considering Jay Kristoff created here a whole new world.
And by a whole new world I don't mean a fantasy world resembling the 18 or 19 century with some kind of fantasy twist. No, I mean a different world entirely. The kind of world that has three suns. The kind of world that only has night every two years. The kind of world with its own tradition, its own gods, its own races and even its own language. 

Just imagine being thrown one day into a different planet.
That's what the first 100 pages of Nevernight felt like. 

Not to fear, though, because we humans also have very high adaptation capabilities, and soon enough I found myself reading Nevernight smoothly.
Either it was because the writing style got better or because I simply got the hang of it (probably both), what matters is that I started to really-truly enjoy it. 

Which is why I urge you to give this book until 100 pages in before deciding to leave it.
Because I know how tempting it is to stop reading Nevernight at the beginning. I only managed because I trust Jay Kristoff and I was obsessed with this book for so long now that I refused to jut give up.
Best. Decision. Ever. 

How would I categorize Nevernight?
There have been many debates on the matter.
I won't lie, this book has some very explicit scenes of violence, sex and language.
Which means, if you know for a fact you are uncomfortable with such explicit scenes, Nevernight is not for you. 

If you want to read this book because you heard so much about Jay Kristoff and want to see what all the fuss is about, yet are uncomfortable with the themes of Nevernight, Illuminae was created just for you. A non-debates YA story of sci-fi twists, Illuminae would be just as Epic - if not more - as Nevernight. 

If you are, however, comfertable with such explicit scenes, or... well, are watching\reading games of thrones, no matter what age you are, you can read Nevernight with ease.
Seriously, though, Game of Thrones is even more explicit and brutal than Nevernight is. So if you watch the show... consider yourselves able to deal with the darkness of Nevernight. 

But despite all the darkness and the adult themes of this book, never forget Mia is a 16 year old girl. Obviously not your conventional one, but still one nonetheless.

Mia (our fearless protagonist), is a YA that some very adult stuff happen to her.
Even in the world of today, children don't always stay innocent. Bad, dark, heartbreaking, shuddering stuffs happen to them. Not everyone manage to stay away from the darkness before they reach adulthood.
Mia hasn't.
What makes the difference is how that child, that teenager, adapts and deals with it. Do they become good? Evil? Do they break? Become stronger? Do they fight back? Do they give up? Do they accept? Do they take revenge? Is it worth it?
That's the story of Mia. A young girl who instead of letting the darkness beat her, let the darkness in. She let it shape her so she can one day take revenge on the people who killed her family and destroyed her life.
To do that, she must become one of the most fearless assassins in the republic.
But first... she must learn.
Welcome to the Red Church (a.k.a: the school for assassins).  

*Full review (with spoilers)*

prepare yourself for my random thoughts.
Here we go: 

I think the footnotes are pretty cool and unique, but they didn't contribute much to the story for me.
Whenever I read them, I got distracted from the story and it was harder to get back in. Or, at times, they were just too long and all I wanted to do was keep up with the story rather than read them.
So eventually I stopped reading them all together, and I still understood the story perfectly. 

It's true that the footnotes are part of what makes Nevernight unique, but they are by no means the most important part.
The story, the character, the writing style, the world... everything about Nevernight is so incredibly other.
For some, it's going to be the bad kind of other. 
For the rest, it' going to be one hell of an epic, amazing and mind blowing ride of otherness. In the best way possible, of course. 

"… humph …" "Pfft."
"… grrr …"
"Shut up."
"… grow up …" Laughter rang and the shadows smiles.

Oh, how I loved Mister Kindly and Mia's banter.
They are so cute together.
Their bond is both heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Who wouldn't want a shadow cat as a loyal companion?
After this book, I sure as hell want me a Mister Kindly. 

"Maybe we should start with the letter S." 
"S for stubborn. S for stupid. S for smart-arse."

"S for shut up."

"See, that's the spirit."

But none was quite as funny as Mia and Tric's banter.
Those two are the perfect couple.
At times, bantering hilariously. At times, teasing and being all sweet and romantic. And at others, arguing. 

Like I said: Perfect.
I ship them to the the three suns and back. 

"You're his," her mother hissed. "You're his." 
O, Daughters, is anyone else thinking what I'm thinking? That Mia is... Scaeva's daughter? That her Darkin abilities come from him?
Of course, her mother could have meant the darkness of Mister Kindly, but she said his and not it. 
Not to mention... we did get the sense her mother and Scaeva had some sort of... past (just before he ordered his men to seize her mother, brother and Mia).
Could it be?
But that begs the question: does Scaeva knows? Does he even suspect? After all, he did order his men to drown Mia. Did he do it because he doesn't care? Or because he doesn't know?
Or perhaps none of this is true and Mia isn't his daughter after all.

Our Miais a cigarillo addicted heroine.
That's a new one. 

I knew someone Major, someone Mia truly cared about, was going to die eventually.
And even after Carlotte\Lotti died (which wasn't much of a shock but was indeed sad. I really started to like that girl), I knew it wasn't over. I was constantly terrified for Tric.
I had a feeling... I had a really bad feeling... he was going to... and then he really did... and now I'm just... 

*taking a shaky breath*

Nevernight's dreadful page 553.
I knew it was coming. I thought I was ready.
I wasn't. 

Despite having this feeling from the very beginning that something was going to happen to Tric... when it actually happened, I went into shock mode.
Finding out Ash's betrayal (and her brother, but who cares about him? I mean, didn't you think it strange when he had absolutely no reaction to Lotti's death, despite them being allegedly very close?) at the very same time when Tric... when Tric... you know what, was just another shock to the system.
We knew some big revelation was going to come, but I still did not see it being Ash. At all.

After years of excessive reading of fantasy, sci-fi and overall madness (in the best of ways, I assure you), I got to this one conclusion about death in books: Don't believe it's true until you see that person actually dying (preferably when you're by his side as it happens) and their body buried or burned to ashes (as you watch it happen), that gets thrown into the wind (again, you need to be there every step of the way for verification).
And even then there is still a possibility they are somehow still alive\will get resurrected.
So no, I do NOT believe Tric is dead.
It may just be my desperation talking but Tric CANNOT be dead. I refuse.

List of proofs of Tric Not Being Dead:

  • We didn't actually see him dying. Granted, he was stabbed in the chest and then thrown from a very (very) high place (which does not bode well with his survival but I don't care!), but we did not actually see the light dies from his eyes like we saw in countless other deaths in this book.
  • He and Mia didn't even have a chance to talk to each other after their outburst. No goodbyes, no hellos, no peace, not anything. They didn't even talk with each other for a long time before he... *didn't die*. I do not believe this is how their story ends.
  • Tric is Mia's first (and possibly only) love. She never opened herself to anyone besides Mister Kindly. Tric was the one person she ever loved in that kind of romantic way. Now, are you going to tell me he just gets killed off like that? Not even in any heroic kind of way? Not even without a goodbye kiss? No. Way.
  • Probably the most important proof of all: There was no body.
    You know what that means, don't you?
    A missing body\an not found body is a dead giveaway that said person could still be alive.
    After all, there is absolutely no finality in saying: that person is dead but his body was never recovered. How can you ever believe he's truly dead, then? You'll always wonder. 

List of possible ways Tric could have survived:

  • Remember, this is a magical world. Key word here: Magic. As long as there is Magic... anything can happen.
  • It's highly possible Marielle is not the only weaver alive. Actually, it would make less sense if she is. Maybe... maybe some other weaver found Tric and healed him.

  • We already saw one ghost in this story. If Tric really is dead - which he isn't - can't he just... return as a ghost somehow? He does have unfinished business, after all.
  • We are talking about Tric here. The guy is one of the best assassins in their class. It's not too far fetched, with his skills, that he could have somehow survived this.

Jay Kristoff, I'm telling you right now: you better bring him back.
I don't care what Magic you'll have to concoct for it.
Consider this a threat by the power vested in me by our lady of Blessed Murder.
Tric has to be alive.
He has to.

*Side note: wow, first denial, then bargaining and now anger. I'm quickly moving through the stages of grief*

Bastard to the rescue!
O, Goddess, that was such a sweet moment.
We just witnessed Tric's "murder", everyone has been kidnapped and Mia was knocked away. And then... among all the darkness and murder and mayhem, that horse we hated so much and never thought we would see again was somehow able to bring back hope. 

And darn it, now Cassius is dead too!
I was way more upset about it than I thought.
I think I really started to love this guy. He was badass, he was invincible, he also had a soft side like Mia and now he's... gone.
Eclipse's rection to his death was... heartbreaking.  

Speaking of badass...
Can we just marvel for a moment at how freaking amazing Mia is?
That scene when the church was attacked and Mia went on a killing spree... just wow. And later, when she went on a rescue mission to save her Shaiids... "you go, girl!"
But it's not just her skills that make her amazing. It's not just the fact that she's one of the best assassins in the world. No, it's because she doesn't lost sight of what truly matters.
She doesn't lose herself, no matter what.
And that's her true strength.
Because in a world of blood, murder, assassins, darkness and evil... Mia Corvere has every reason to become as ruthless, as brutal and as murderous as they come.
She could have killed that innocent boy and taken her place as a blade. To avenge and familia.
But she didn't.
Because Mia doesn't follow blindly.
She doesn't become what others want her to be.
She isn't Glass and she isn't Iron.
She is steel.
She is something else.
And she can't be bound to others will.  

Seeing Mia from the eyes of an outsider... darn, that girl is terrifying. 

I was really glad when Eclipse joined Mia.
Mister Kindly's jealousy is so funny, but the three of them can really make one hell of a team.
I can't wait to see this new dynamics between them in the next book.
Which also, by the way, I can't wait to see how it will be called\when it comes out\its cover and... when can I read it already?

Is Mia's brother... alive?
He would be... what, six now?
Where is he? With Scaeva, perhaps?
Why has he been saved?
What is going on?

And now for probably one of the biggest questions of all:
Who do you suppose is the narrator of the story is?
Is it too much to hope it's Tric?
Because that would mean he's still alive. 

That page at the beginning gives me the feeling it's either Tric or Mister Kindly. Or... maybe - crazy idea coming - Mia's brother?
It's too soon to tell.
Jay Kristoff did, however, say we already met that person. And the narrator of the story obviously love\loved Mia.
We only know of two people who love her that much: Tric and Mister Kindly.
I have a feeling the narrator is Mister Kindly but I desperately want to be wrong about it, and to find out it's Tric.
O, Daughters, please. 

And now... before we wrap this book review up, here are my favorite\memorable quotes from Nevernight (because you know how I love quotes): 

"You'll be a rumor. A whisper. The thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the Nevernight. That last thing you will ever be in this world, girl, is someone's hero."
Mercurio handed back the blade.
"But you will be a girl heroes fear."

"If I were going to name my blade," Mia said thoughtfully, "I'd call it 'Fluffy'." 

Tric snorted with laughter. "Fluffy?"
" 'Byss, yes," the girl nodded. "Think of the terror you'd install. Being bested by a foe wielding a sword called Souldrinker… that you could live with. Imagine the shame of 
having the piss smacked out of you by a blade called Fluffy."
"You're a little frightening sometimes, Pale Daughter."
She gave him a wry smile. "Only a little?"
"Well, most times, you're just plain terrifying."

"That bastard Solis," Tric hissed. "I wanted to gut him for what he did. Gave it a roll, but he knocked me flat on my arse and kicked me senseless."
Mia looked over the new bruises on Tric's face, shook her head. "My brave centurion. Riding in on high charger to save his poor damsel? Hold me, brave sir, I fear I shall swoon."
"Sod off," Tric scowled. "He hurt you."
"The Revered Mother said he does it all the time. Sets the tone in his classes on the first smart-arse stupid enough to raise her head." "Enters Mia Corvere, stage left," Tric grinned.

Own nothing, Mercurio had said. Know nothing. Be nothing.  
Mia breathed deep. Swallowed hard.Because then you can do anything.

When all is blood, blood is all. 

Cassius and the Ministry had no clue. No idea at all what she was made of. But he knew. 
Iron or glass? They'd asked?
Mia clenched her jaw. Shook her head.
She was neither.
She was steel. 

"… though I have no face, believe me when I say I am scowling the pants off you right
now …"
Mia rolled her eyes. "Yes father." "… of course, a state of pantlessness seems to be your goal, so perhaps I should stop …" "Yes, Fatherrrr." 
"… Do not take that tone of voice with me, young lady …"

"The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their mark on us."

A few thought her some thing from the abyss, some demonic servant of Niah set in their trail. Others mistook her for a horror from the Whisperwastes, a monstrosity spat into being by twisted Magiks. But as she wove and swayed among them, blades whistling, breath hissing, the swiftest among them realized she wasn't a deamon. No horror. But a girl. Just a girl. And that thought terrified them more than any deamon or horror they could name.

"If you should see if in your wanders by the Hearth, tell Tric hello from me."
Swordbreaker's eyes widened.
The girls' voice was soft as shadows.
"Tell him I miss him."

*Side note*:
Can you hear that? This is the sound of my heart breaking.
I thought the worst was over but that lined killed me inside.
"Tell him I miss him."
*sobbing for all eternity*. 

I loved this book. 
I loved Nevernight.
And despite taking a while to get into it... I never, not once, could have been called bored or indifferent as I was reading it.
It was Epic.
It was amazing.
It was badass and dark and funny and, yes, even at times sweet, and unique and differentAnd I loved it to pieces.
So yes... all that's really left to say is:
when is the next book?

*Side note: The Two Steps From Hell music should be this book's soundtrack*

"You're wrong. No one dies alone. When someone dies, the part of them that lives inside someone else also dies."  
-- SAO 

"Revenge is the act of passion. Vengeance is the act of justice." 


  1. It took me 100 pages too to get into the story! Actually, 150ish is more like it, haha — I had such a hard time getting used to the language, and I skimmed a lot during the first section of the book. I agree though it’s a bit like being thrown into a different planet — everything was familiar-ish but not the same.

    I also skipped all of the footnotes, haha. I don’t think they add anything to the story, and they’re REALLY distracting especially when I’m already having such a hard time. :P

    Mia is definitely not your typical protagonist... and I am crossing my fingers for Tric to reappear as well. I really liked him!

    Reg @ She Latitude

    1. I was so tempted to skim but I stopped myself every time I wanted to do it. I don't know why but skimming always felt sort of like cheating to me... ^^
      Still, I totally get the need to skim those weird pages that didn't make much sense at the beginning.
      It gets SO MUCH better around 100-150 pages in that you totally forget you ever had that much trouble getting into it (:

      I know, right? The footnotes were *way* too distracting (especially at the beginning, because later there were less and less). They were cool but unnecessary, I'm afraid.

      Yes! let's cross our fingers for Tric to get back in full vengeance in the next book! :'D
      O, please.

  2. I'm an idiot :D I read a spoiler without meaning to, this always happens to me :'( My eyes went to it without my control, I swear lol. Anyway, I will still give this a try, but only after I read Illuminae of course.
    It sounds amazing and I love that Mia welcomes the darkness and seeks revenge, I'm all up for that right now.
    I will read the whole review after I read the book and comment further on it. I don't want to spoil myself anything else :(

    1. What!
      For goodness sake, Esther... be more careful about accidentally spoiling yourself '^^
      Ah! I hope it wasn't a *major* spoiler. But even if it was... it shouldn't ruin the book for you.
      By the way, even if you find yourself not liking Illuminae, you should still definitely read Nevernight. They are absolutely and completely different from one another in every way possible.
      And... well, I had a feeling the whole 'darkness' 'revenge' 'tragedy' will apeal to a tragedy-lover like yourself, LOL ;D
      I'm pretty sure Nevernight was created for you on this matter.

      Consider yourself banned from this review until you read the book.
      I do not want you to accidentally spoil yourself again '^__^

      I can't wait to hear your thoughts about Illuminae and Nevernight.
      I hope you'll love them both. Or at the very least, one of them.
      Ohh, I can't wait to discuss with you all about it! (:

    2. It was a bit of a major thing, but I'm not quite sure. It was just a little glimpse, so hopefully it's not a big deal.
      Hahah tragedy-lover, you know me so well :') I can't help it!
      :D I also want to finally be able discuss these books with you and get to know Kristoff's writing.

    3. <3 :D
      Tragedy-lover and someone who avoids tragedy at all costs... we make one hell of a pair ;)

  3. I've heard mixed reviews about this book, Zoey! All because of the similes and metaphors. And it actually kinda scares me. Haha.


    1. I'm not very surprised there are a lot of mixed reviews about Nevernight.
      Nevernight is... not a simple book. It is not strightforward. It's very complicated, different and definitely not conventional.
      And... I think it's actually why I loved it so much.
      Because It's nothing like I've ever read before.
      Trust me, before reading this book I was *so scared* I won't like it (there were just so many mixed reviews). But... I absolutely loved Illuminae + Jay Kristoff (The author) is so freakign awesome, and... I knew I'd regret it if I didn't even give this book a try.
      And oh my, Nevernight was so worth all that confusion of the first 100 pages.
      Which is why I urge people to at least give it a try - to reach page 100. If you ever find yourself willing to try Nevernight out... please do. I would love to hear your thoughts - being them negative or positive (:

  4. I think it took me even longer to get into this book than it took you, BUT I agree with you that parts of it were EPIC!I loved reading this spoiler-filled review. Sometimes it's fun to just read someone's rants and raves and thoughts and see which ones you agree with. I only have one book I've done this for (Three Dark Crowns - but the post hasn't gone up yet), and it was so much fun to write!

    Okay, about your predictions: I totally agree with you about the state of Tric (I won't say more for spoiler purposes). I don't believe it. Nope. Not for a minute. Oh, and I did highly suspect a certain someone of bad things and turned out to be right. BUT it never occurred to me that the narrator might be Mister Kindly. You might be absolutely right about that!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I always do those kind of reviews because I feel they're the most true to me (:
      When I first discovered booktubing (before opening my blog), and I saw all those booktubers raving all about the book in their book review... how they did *both* a spoiler free and full of spoilers review, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
      On one hand, I wanted to tell people who haven't read the book what's the book is all about, if it's the right fit for them, and what I generally thought about it.
      And on the other hand, I wanted to freak out and rave and talk all about everything that happened in the book with those who read it.
      Why not do both, then? ^^

      Ohh, Three Dark Crowns is one of my most anticipated books this year.
      I'll be sure to keep an eye on your review ;)

      *putting a hand on your shoulder*
      Welcome to team Tric :')
      I'm so happy to meet someone who thinks the same. I haven't had the chance to talk to anyone else about it yet.

      Thank you so much, Nicole! I was really happy to see your comment and read yout thgouths - which I agree with, by the way ^^ .
      Now let us wait patiently for book 2...

  5. I stumbled upon this blog in my own fit of Tric denial. I thought that surely I could not be the only one unwilling to believe he's really gone! Fabulous review. You're list of proof he's not dead/ways he could survive make me feel much better about his fate. He'll be back. He must be!

  6. Wow Your blog post really awesome. I love to read your blog post and really enjoy the reading. Usually I am story lover and eBooks download online to read stories.