Release date: 9 August 2016
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ – 10/10
Goodreads link

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) blurb:

Be advised that the pages in your hands speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music.

A girl some called Pale Daughter.  Or Kingmaker.  Or Crow.

A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know.

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in 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 daemons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.  The shadows love her.  And they drink her fear.

GAHHH!  This book was so good!  It’s unfair really that I keep reading such well written, well plotted books because I feel like my continual high scores are lost in the continual high scoring, and it makes them seem less because there are so many.  Does that make sense?

So, this book was on my ‘wish list’ for a while, and when I saw it on a recent trip to Canberra I couldn’t help myself and I bought it (along with another 8 books – it was a minor splurge…).  I then bypassed my TBR for the month, and threw myself into this story.  However, due to some things that happened at work, I had less time to read than I anticipated and it took me just under two weeks to read this beauty (the last half over a weekend).  Let us begin…

The story centres on a grieving, reckless teenager who is driven to make amends for the hurts of her past.  Enter Mia Corvere, a bad-ass 16 year old with a smoking addiction, a vocabulary of swear words to rival a sailor, a family-heirloom stiletto (less high heel, more dagger-knife), and a sarcastic shadow cat that lives in her shadows.  Mia reminds me of Emily the Strange in so many, many ways that she is all I could picture as the character during my read of the book (I had an emo phase growing up, ok?).

Mia herself is sarcastic, pessimistic, grouchy and just amazing.  She’s smart, smart-mouthed, confident, unsure of herself, moody, temperamental and jumps to all the wronf conclusions.  I loved her immediately.  Mia is the love (grand)child of Minerva McGonagall, Esmerelda Weatherwax, Magnus Bane and Rhysand… in whatever pairing you want to make of that… and weirdly that’s probably also where she gets her spunk (because I also love all four of those characters).

Mia’s character development, as well of those around her is fantastic.  The continual diving into her past as we get to learn more about her and her motivations is very well done as Kristoff sets up the introductory chapters with a delve into the past, followed by a return to the present – not many can pull this off.  While it confused me at first, I had realised what was happening by the time we hit the third chapter.  The other main characters are also well thought out, and they deliver some great chemistry with each other, and with Mia.

This book is quite dark – make no mistake about that.  The story follows a murderous bunch of teenagers as they continue down a path of ‘assassin school’, and death happens often and sometimes in morbid detail.  But it is written so well, there are moments of laughter, heat and passion, sorrow, friendship, angst and fear – which, really, ticks every box for me in the “this book made me feel emotions” list that I half rate books with.

The writing style was a little off-putting at first, but as I got used to it, I quite enjoyed it.  The best comparison I can give is to say that it was reminiscent of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  While I don’t believe that Kristoff has Pratchett’s witty, dry humour down quite as well, he definitely told the story in an amusing and often comical way – which broke up the blood-lust and darkness of the story.  Also, I don’t think anyone will ever do footnotes quite like Pratchett, but Nevernight’s footnotes were well used, and it was a sound way to deliver amusing backstory without expanding the text itself – you could read the book without reading the footnotes.

In all honesty, I had kind of read a spoiler when I was about half way through the novel.  Now, in this instance I do mean ‘kind of’ because either I didn’t read it properly (glanced away quickly once realising what I was reading?), or I misunderstood it entirely (sometimes I’m an idiot…), so reading into the introduction more than was necessary I pictured an entirely different ending for the book.  Which actually meant that I loved the ending even more than I thought possible, and probably more than I should have.  It’s actually kind of heart-breaking now that I contemplate it…

Regardless, the story was very well written, there were no gaping plot holes that I could poke a stick at, and there was a large twist and a small twist at the end that I didn’t see coming (he really leads you down that garden path with that large twist thing, doesn’t he?)!

On a following note, I can’t wait to read Godsgrave in September!

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EDIT: I had to come back and re-rate this from a 9 to a 10.  It’s been MONTHS and I still can’t stop thinking about it.  Officially moved to that ‘extraordinary’ shelf.

Meegs (Aug 2017)

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