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? (Goodreads)
Buckle up gentlefriends, because I have thoughts.
I wanted to like Nevernight. I really did. It had everything in a book that’s a perfect recipe for my enjoyment – fantasy, badass characters, exciting fantasy world, assassins. Need I go on?
Don’t get me wrong, this book did all of these things well, but instead of liking this book as I had hoped, I spent the entire 427 pages trying not to just return it to the bookstore on the grounds of disappointment, pretentious writing, and TOO. MANY. METAPHORS.
O, gentlefriend, if pretentious use of metaphor and simile make you roll your eyes, do not pick up this book. If you do pick it up, I hope you like descriptions. In that case then maybe this book is for you, but it just didn’t work for me this time.
O, reader, the descriptions. You have to like writing that flows and arches like midnight waves on a winter night. Writing that moves and shakes like an earthquake. Shattering your soul. Scattering the pieces of your being. Writing that makes you dance a funny jig (more on this later). Writing full of so many ‘O’s you could make a box of Cheerios. Writing that is so flowery and poetic that it literally becomes
I do love poetic and descriptive writing. It just felt like every sentence in this book was a metaphor and it made the writing feel very heavy and it wasn’t an easy read for me. I found myself often skimming through whole paragraphs and pages of description because there was so much. It often didn’t add to the story. Also, some sentences were formatted awkwardly in a way that made me ask how it got past an editor many many times (more on this later).
First, let’s talk about those footnotes.
When I first saw this book had footnotes, I thought ‘that’s interesting, I haven’t seen that done before in a book’. So, I was intrigued, but after the first couple I couldn’t read anymore.
I have read scholarly papers and books with less footnotes than Nevernight. Kristoff used the footnotes to explain more of his world, such as history or geography. Most of these things I could have done without and the ones that were relevant I feel like should have just been included in the story. Most of the footnotes took me out of the story, adding history I didn’t need and taking up way too much space on the page. The book was already longer than it needed to be and the footnotes just made it worse. Some footnotes took up half the page or were so long they filtered onto the next page. Do you know what I don’t like? Having to turn the page to finish reading a footnote, then turn the page back to remember where I was in the story before turning it again to continue reading the story. After the first few footnotes I stopped reading them altogether.
Now, what was with the “cat who wasn’t a cat”? I wish I could go back and count how many times Kristoff introduces the cat this way. Hello, sir, your readers realized he wasn’t a cat the first, O, 1000 times you said it. Maybe he did it to be quirky or to make some kind of point, but i just found in annoying.
Finally, we all love books that leave us with quotes or lines that leave an everlasting impression on us. This book had some of those, and not because they were beautiful and inspirational, but because my brain almost broke reading them. Case in point:
“Realization tapped her on the shoulder, danced a funny little jig.” (P. 32)
“Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it
to heel.” (P. 44)
This is only two examples from the entire book. I feel like sometimes Kristoff was trying too hard to be clever in his writing and it made the sentences not work. Instead of saying ‘she realized X’ or ‘she fought to control her temper’, he instead imbues the writing with these metaphors that are more frustrating than anything.
Don’t get me wrong, the story and the world itself had great potential and I do understand why some people absolutely love this book. If you don’t mind his writing style, the story itself is actually pretty good. It’s action packed, the characters are unique and interesting, and the plot is well developed. But O, the writing just straight up killed it for me and unfortunately made it hard for me to like anything else in this book.
Comment below your thoughts on this book, I would love to hear what you think! Feel free to disagree with me or rant along with me!