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Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle Book 1) Kindle Edition
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From School Library Journal
"Launching the Nevernight fantasy series, Kristoff (the Lotus War trilogy) creates a splendid world of corruption and violence. Kristoff portrays a world as rife with villains and treachery as the ancient Italian civilizations it echoes. Absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness, this beginning promises (and delivers) equal shares of beauty and decay. With a delicate balance of the ancient and the magical, this tense and brutal tale is unflinching, thrilling, and satisfying." - Publishers Weekly, starred review on Nevernight
"A sensuous, shades-of-moral-gray world; a compelling, passionate heroine; a high-stakes quest for revenge―this is a fantasy fans won't be able to put down."―Kirkus on Nevernight
"The world-building is delightfully detailed, its baroque flourishes supplied by sarcastic footnotes, but we are drawn through the narrative by Mia’s triple quest: to rescue her family members, to avenge her father’s death and to survive her education at the church, where the ultimate test is to avoid being killed by the training." -The Daily Mail on Nevernight
"Assassins, magic, strange creatures are all pluses for me. But my favorite thing about this book is the voice...I adore well-done omniscient narrators with snark and a slight bit of disdain for either the reader or the main character."―Book Riot on Nevernight
"Kristoff's bold writing style...joins lyrical high fantasy with f-bombs aplenty, Pratchett-like humor and unflinching descriptions of violence."―SciFiNow
“Harry Potter meets The Lies of Locke Lamora”―USA Today
"The innovative setting, fast-moving plot, vivid descriptions, and thrilling action scenes make this a refreshing addition to the steampunk canon." - Publishers Weekly, starred review on Stormdancer
"Soars higher than the arashitora Kristoff writes about; superb." - Kirkus, starred review on Stormdancer
"Stormdancer is an intoxicating joyride into steampunklandia with a magical dose of mythology, the supernatural, violence, dystopian themes, and a top-notch brassy heroine who rivals Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. Yes, I did say that!" ―Huffington Post
"Murder, magic, sex, and humor―the first installment in Kristoff’s new fantasy series is off to a rollicking start... Kristoff has created a rich, vibrant world for readers, borrowing heavily from historical Italian political structures, which provide a base of stability and familiarity to the new creations. Footnotes accompany the story,...embellishing and further developing the world, and providing a welcome and often biting wit. Dense and measured, this will appeal to fans of traditional and political fantasies."―Booklist
- ASIN : B017RC8CEE
- Publisher : Thomas Dunne Books; Signed edition (August 9, 2016)
- Publication date : August 9, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 9058 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 448 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #48,746 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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O, gentlefriends . . . Do not do unto yourselves the same disservice I almost did unto mine.
NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff is . . . exquisite.
I almost didn't read it. Indeed, the release date sneaked up on me, tapped me on the shoulder, and waved hello on Monday afternoon, and I joked to friend that I should at least update my status on Goodreads and pretend to be reading it . . . Six hours later, it was ten pm, and I was 40% in.
The first chapter was baffling. Told from two seemingly different perspectives, it chronicles two very different firsts, but uses almost the exact same words. I was internally shouting, "WTF is this?!" but I was curious enough see where it led, and the further I got, the closer the two scenarios spun toward completion, and then it was over, and I understood . . .
In Jabberwocky , Lewis Carroll turned the English language on its head. He used nonsense words that were dicipherable because of his expert manipulation of sentence structure and other, real words, that made the meanings of his imaginary words obvious.
For the first time since I really understood and appreciated what Carroll had done, I felt the same kind of glee as I read about a girl losing her virginity and a girl taking her first life. One experience held the potential for the creation of new life, the other bringing an irrevocable end to life, and yet . . . He used . . . The same words.
Riddikulus writing skills aside, the story was also fantastic.
What's my #1 complaint about assassins in YA fiction?
You: You may have mentioned something about reluctant assassins a time or three.
Me: Damn right.
You: Not a problem here?
Me: *laughs maniacally*
"People often shit themselves when they die.
Their muscles slack and their souls flutter free and everything else just…slips out. For all their audience’s love of death, the playwrights seldom mention it. When the hero breathes his last in the heroine’s arms, they call no attention to the stain leaking across his tights, or how the stink makes her eyes water as she leans in for her farewell kiss.
I mention this by way of warning, O, my gentlefriends, that your narrator shares no such restraint."
Duly noted, Mr. Narrator, sir.
And lest you be scared off by visions of graphic and violent death . . . I won't lie, that is part of this story. But only part:
"She’s dead herself, now—words both the wicked and the just would give an eyeteeth smile to hear. A republic in ashes behind her. A city of bridges and bones laid at the bottom of the sea by her hand. And yet I’m sure she’d still find a way to kill me if she knew I put these words to paper. Open me up and leave me for the hungry Dark. But I think someone should at least try to separate her from the lies told about her. Through her. By her.
Someone who knew her true.
A girl some called Pale Daughter. Or Kingmaker. Or Crow. But most often, nothing at all. A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know. And was she famous or infamous for it at the end? All this death? I confess I could never see the difference. But then, I’ve never seen things the way you have.
Never truly lived in the world you call your own.
Nor did she, really.
I think that’s why I loved her."
Mia Covere's tale reminded me a bit of Arya Stark's: a girl whose family is destroyed by politics and hands grasping at power, stumbles into a follower of a most murderous god(dess), and becomes his apprentice. But Mia is more than just a girl . . . She's a girl with a shadow dark enough for two.
You: WTF does that mean?
Me: READ THE BOOK.
And how many Guardians of the Galaxy fans do we have? B/c the coolest part of that movie was the black market space station that was the HEAD OF A CELESTIAL BEING, am I right?
Well, Mia grew up in Godsgrave, which just might be where the rest of the body fell . . . Okay, it's probably a different being entirely, but the concept is the same, it's friggin' awesome:
To the north, the Ribs rose hundreds of feet into the ruddy heavens, tiny windows staring out from apartments carved within the ancient bone. Canals ran out from the hollow Spine . . .
My only words of caution are that, if you haven't already cottoned on, there is SEX in this YA novel, which isn't as uncommon as it used to be, but isn't yet unremarkable. And I'm not talking fade-to-black, acknowledgment of sexual congress, I'm talking burn-your-ears, think-interesting thoughts-about-the-hands-that-penned-them sex scenes.
Kristoff calls Mia an assassin who is to death what a maestro is to a symphony. I felt the same way about Kristoff's manipulation of words and language. Whether Mia slipped into a room like a knife between the ribs or we met a man whose face was more scar than face, this reader felt like she was being spun and tossed by a master. Solus might by the Guardian of Songs, but Jay Kristoff made me dance to the music of his story in ways I've rarely been moved. O so ridiculously highly recommended.
Overall, the book is solidly written. It focuses on a single character and her induction, training, and whatnot into a school of assassins. The story is entirely told in 3rd person, from Mia's (the main characters) perspective. The story initially starts off as a back/forth exploring her childhood to present, but eventually the childhood part expires. Fairly common approach for fantasy books of this nature. The world is a kingdom that has magic and technology interwoven, though the focus is namely on magic. The empire of note is influenced heavily by Roman/Latin terminology and structure.
The story is an entertaining ride through Mia's childhood to the point of her becoming an Assassin. Outside of that, there isn't much else happening. As such, I'll outline the cons:
- Fairly typical fantasy tale: young, coming of age character, who eventually becomes a tough girl.
- Mia as a character, while faces hardship, never really feels like a female character (IMO). You get this a lot, where male writers have a hard time writing a female character that doesn't feel like a male wrote her. Mia often acts like a guy, talks like a guy, jokes like a guy, and swears like a guy (to a point where the swearing doesn't fit her, the book, or make the story any better---and I'm not one against swearing, just that it adds nothing of value to this book and feels tacky).
- There is technically a narrator-type, who is unknown to you as the reader, though his/her presence comes off as inconsistent throughout the writing. While it's 3rd Person Mia, Jay sometime slips and brings the narrator's perspective in mid-sentence. For fellow writers, this is noticeable. For others, probably not.
- The swearing is unnecessary in the book and really adds nothing. It's almost as if its there just to say, "I'm not a Young Adult novel," but adds little else beyond that. Had some more creativity gone into slanging those terms into something else, it would have made the dialogue in those points feel more natural.
- The intro chapter to the book is very creative. And though the writing is always good, interesting, and descriptive throughout, you never see that level of creativity again. I found this a bit misleading, as I usually read a chapter or two before diving in headlong. I read more for creativity than I do stories, so this was a let down to me personally.
- The overall story is nothing new. It's a simple revenge tale, really. And another story about a little kid who becomes some powerhouse. I wouldn't rank Mia or the story anywhere near some high tier of Fantasy Telling.
- The world is somewhat interesting, but I (personally) believe how Jay worldbuilds a cop-out tactic. Instead of weaving his worldbuilding into the narrative of the book, he tacks on footnotes (some of which are half a page) to explain why a Bridge is the largest bridge, or who an organization is, or some off-story, that while is somewhat interesting, has no impact on the story. A thorough writer would weave these into the actual tale narration, meaningfully, and also spin it with a character's biased opinion on the matter. In essence, it feels as if you're reading a novel, where 20% of is it footnote info on his world that exists in a stand-alone codex or D&D scenario book. It also detracts from the flow of the writing. But I am not a large advocate of footnote writing. Again, I think it's a cheap tactic for a writer to take to emphasize world building.
- Some of the writing often feels goofy or too comical. There are some bad instances where Jay tries to get too cute. In regards to Mia's temper: Mia took her temper and told it to go sit in a corner." I mean, I literally (as a 35 year old male) rolled my eyes. And there's many instances of this. And overall, while he wants to put across a somewhat bloody and dark tale, so much of it has goofball humor that it is hard to take the book overly serious.
- I never really cared about Mia or any of the characters. Most of them all felt pretty 1-dimensional, with little to no personality. Mia herself never did it for me.
There are many positives, but overall I'd say this is a good book held higher than most because Jay is actually a good writer. He is creative and descriptive, and tells a story clearly and with a layer of his own humor woven in. But I don't think it's half as good as many here make it out to be. End of the day, it's another tale we haven't seen elsewhere many times before.
Top reviews from other countries
You'd have thought with a title referring to the constant daylight thanks to three suns (a concept explored by Asimov before Vin Diesel was even a twinkle) would have a significant bearing on the story, but other than a few throwaway comments about thick curtains, it is irrelevant. The planet would have to have a fascinating orbit for the suns to continuously illuminate the planet's surface in a cycle with brief darkness once every 2.5 years but the ecological and geophysical ramifications of this are disappointingly unexplored, other than a sprinkling of words to describe the passing of time unpunctuated by periods of night. Don't look for any hard science fiction here. Apart from the snappy title, it might as well be Earth.
I liked Mia even though she is basically a boy with no real girlishness at all - it's depressing when this kind of thing is described as a "strong female lead" as if being strong must mean abandoning all traditionally feminine qualities. She talks like a boy, she thinks like a boy and she fights like a boy. She is also a bog standard hero in that she is an orphan seeking to avenge the nasty deaths of her family by training as an elite assassin, a common theme in contemporary fantasy fiction. Unlike her peers, she has a Pulmanesque, ghostly feline familiar and a Zelaznyesque ability to manipulate shadows which helps her creep about and kill people. Once she settles into her studies, we're basically at a twisted Hogwarts staffed by homicidal psychopaths with gruesome alternatives to sickbay and the Floo Network. I can't see any advantage for the Red Church as they blithely kill off students at a worrying rate, poisoned, stabbed, tortured and encouraged to prostitute themselves for extra homework merits. Sadly, Kristoff only dwells on six of them, barely granting the other pupils/cannon fodder so much as a name. Even so, I was swept along by the story and it was only belatedly I realised how much he glosses over so much of what it is the students actually do all day, hurrying straight to the competitions to earn the dubious honour of being top of the class. Ultimately this is just a barbarous Mallory Towers for the Millennials and Mia's trials and tribulations with her fellow students are nothing new. The identity of the bad guy, when it comes, is no surprise at all.
It's worth £2.50, but I'm not tempted to pay £8 for the next installment.
This book was very intense, violent, bloody, dark, and most intriguing. It is a story full of revenge, survival, pushing one’s limits, and perhaps even a higher calling of sorts. There is magic and mysticism. There is searing light and whispering darkness. There is cruel wealth and cunning poverty. There is endless mystery and blunt truth.
NEVERNIGHT was a solid read for sure but even so it didn’t quite capture my heart.
I must say it is very well written. I enjoyed the dual timeline writing style that switched back and forth between the present and key moments in Mia’s past that slowly revealed who she was and what she could become.
Oh, and I will emphasize that this book is a dark fantasy. It is not a romance and it is not a fairy tale. I know you’ve read plenty of books that are quite dark and edgy but even so there is a light to hold onto, usually found within the vein of romance. I’m just warning you now that that is not the case in this book. There is no love in this story. You may read this book and think you’ve found some, and indeed you may have, but this is a story about assassins and their path has no room for partners.
Overall this was a very good book and while it didn’t overwhelm me with that first-read magic it did light a little spark inside me that I’ve no doubt will grow over time. Even as I type this review I can feel my fondness for this book growing (some books have me buzzing with adoration but while it flares brightly enough for a glowing review, after a few months it has flickered and abandoned me. This book, I’d wager, has sunk its claws into me and is here to stay). I don’t know if this makes sense but, I’m captured by this book but I don’t love it. Then again, this is a book of assassins, there is no room for love.
NEVERNIGHT slits your hopes from ear to ear and lets all thought of happy endings bleed dry. Dark, captivating, and without mercy a tale unfolds about a girl who was more than a girl with a cat who was less than a cat. Let the shadows darken and dance, let them tell you their story.
Read my FULL review here: [...]
Additionally the story is narrated by a third party whom in reducing numbers during the book interjects comments which I felt unnecessarily interrupted the flow.
Having said the above I did persevere and was rewarded by a greatly improving and ultimately very good book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for strong female characters. This is what I imagine JK Rowling would have written if her famous series had begun more in keeping with how it finished, which is in no way to suggest this is children's story. Dispossessed, downtrodden but unusually gifted, our heroine Mia learns enough to gain her revenge.
But for my confusion with the authors style at the start I would have given this book a 5 star. Sorry Jay Kristoff, that missing star is more a reflection on me than you I suspect, but thank you very much for this story it did eventually hold me enthralled.
For every moment of brilliance, and honestly there really were some that blew my mind, there were three moments of sheer boring, flowery, simile laden, passages. There was one line near the begin that went along the lines of 'the mouse was as black as the night, in a house as blue as the sky, in the garden as green as the jungle floor.' From there I just kept noticing everything was as something as something, and it really bothered me. I don't even want to talk about the footnotes, so distracting.
Mia was kick-ass, Mr Kindly was fascinating, Tric was adorable, and there were so many other characters that were equally interesting. The entire host of characters, the setting, and the idea of the assassin training school just couldn't counterbalance the writing style for me. I totally struggled with it. I'm going to persist with the series, because the end was great, and there was a lovely twist. I really hope for more of that and less of everything being as dark as darkdawn.
I will be honest, when I started reading it I thought "omg, where did I get myself into..." because that writing style is...dense to say the least and those footnotes sometimes can throw you off the story pretty easy, especially the first few chapters, when I didn't know anything about the world it can be quite confusing (hence the 0.5 fewer stars). But once I got past the first chapters and I kept reading the writing style didn't bother me at all and I enjoyed the explanations and humor of some of the footnotes.
About the plot, I found it very interesting, I would say that it keeps getting better every chapter. There are several twists through the book, some I saw them coming, some I didn't, but I enjoy them nonetheless.
About the characters, I really liked them, especially Mister Kindly :3 Each character is interesting in their own way and they are not black and white, they are gray and black XD
Overall, I enjoyed it a lot, the characters and plot are very nice and I will be following the series. But the writing style won't be for everyone, so be aware of it if you are thinking of reading it ;)