A how-to tale of revenge, Nevernight creeps up on you in the shadows and stabs you clean through with its witty rapier of words.  You don’t see the danger coming your way.  Find out more about Jay Kristoff’s juicy ADULT FANTASY novel Nevernight after the jump.

From the book flap:

  The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

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?

Overall:  My overall review is going to be chock full of Harry Potter and fantasy references.  Not because the writing or story of Nevernight is remotely like Rowling’s wizarding story, but because many of the world-building structures are parallel in both these stories.  So, apologies if you haven’t read Harry Potter (but, seriously, WHY HAVE YOU NOT?!?).

Second note, and it bears repeating:  this is ADULT FANTASY.  Not what we usually review around here, but Jay Kristoff is worth the exception.  See also:  Cat Winters.

Imagine the owl doesn’t show up with your enrollment papers and no one ever teaches you how to access Platform 9 3/4.  Instead, let’s say that by shear will, you end up in the extremely remote Assassin School you’ve been wanting to attend for 6 years since you watch your parents betrayed and murdered before your eyes. Once there, trade Potions for Poisons, Charms for Physical Charms (yes, that kind), Transfiguration for Pickpocketing and Defense Against the Dark Arts for literally battling your much larger and better trained Shahiid for your arm, Flying Lessons for the Blood Walk and THAT about sums up the Red Church.

Like Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, Mia Corvere is the daughter of an alleged traitor who watched her father murdered at the hands of his traitorous accusers.  She has a list of potential victims she keeps with her at all times.  She is laser-focused on her goal of vengeance and travels to the House of Our Lady of Perpetual Murder rather than the Church of the Many-Faced God.  I don’t draw this similarities lightly.  Instead, what I’m trying to say that Nevernight parallels the depth and complexity of these novels and Kristoff makes this world just as memorable and dangerous and unique.

I will admit that I had 2 false starts when I began reading this novel. It was probably more me than the novel, but the beginning was a lot to take in. Once I got used to the pacing, though, Nevernight had me skipping sleep to read about Mia’s history and training.

Fraught with Divergent-like tension, each student of the Red Church is developed within the context of their competition or cooperation with Mia. But unlike Divergent, each student is out for themselves in a game of points that may or may not get you killed. Full of tension and mystery, Nevernight will leave you wanting more and slightly screaming to yourself.

Judge a Book by its Cover:  This cover is bloody beautiful and the European cover is even more so.  I immediately categorized this book as “purchase based on cover alone.”

Nevernight European Cover

Me Talk Pretty: Kristoff wields his pen lightly, as one would do with a small switchblade.  His writing style is very casual, which is at odds in the context of this unbelievably bloody adventure.  In light of this contrast, his writing style works very well.  Added bonus: Kristoff fills his chapter ends with footnotes.  Lots of footnotes, which are rarely used in YA but wielded to incredible effect as a tool to world-build while adding snark and/or history into this in-depth introductory first novel in a series.  We were provided an e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review, so these may not be the final words in the story, but they’re close:

“It’s quite a thing to watch a person slip from the potential of life into the finality of death.  It’s another thing entirely to be the one who pushed.”

“Watch your back. And your front.”

“Never flinch. Never fear.”

Kick-Ass Factor:  In a book full of assassins, thieves, killers, criminals and a shady cat, there is a lot of ass-kicking and I mean A. LOT. 

Body Count:  As insinuated above, the body count is astronomical in this book, not always satisfying, but can be brutal and gross at times. Like, seriously, I would get queazy at times.  Also, at certain, so many lives are lost  at once that it’s merely glossed over.

The Chosen One:  Mia is not chosen in the literal hero sense.  She chooses her path for herself, which makes this a gripping tale of revenge and she must also discover herself and what and who she is.  Her path makes her struggle to become an assassin so compelling.  She, alone, can ultimately attain or fail at her goal.  The weight of her created world is firmly planted on her own shoulders which makes her journey so .  But there is also a darkness inside her that lingers and whispers that must be discovered as well.

Open tab/Last call:  I’m hooked.  I’m ready for book #2, like right now.  Until then, I’ll be sitting at the bar, holding the tab open, waiting for Jay Kristoff to bring me the manuscript slowly sipping on a Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary


Nevernight, Hardcover, 448 pages. Expected publication: August 9th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books.  You can pre-order your copy here.


GIVEAWAY:  Want to win a copy of Nevernight for yourself?  Make sure to follow our blog (link below comments) AND leave a comment below as to why you want to read Nevernight no later than 11:59pm EST on Sunday, July 10th.  We’ll pick a winner  from the comments on Monday, July 11th and announce at noon on Twitter (International OK as long as Book Depository delivers to your address).