NeverNight by Jay Kristoff - 9/10
NeverNight is a wonderful example of what my friend refers to as a ‘murdergirls’ book. By this he means that it is a story featuring a girl, who in this case has a particularly impressively tragic backstory, who then goes on to kill a whole bunch of people. I guess it’s actually quite self explanatory.
NeverNight is book one in the NeverNight series and quite frankly it is fantastic. It tells the tale of Mia Corvere as she seeks the means and opportunity to extract her most brutal revenge upon those who murdered her family. All is not to be so simple though, and there are many difficulties before her including trying to find out where she actually needs to go so that she can be trained as an assassin. Fortunately for her, she is not entirely alone and is accompanied by a rather interesting friend along with some even more surprising abilities.
It is an easy 9 out of 10, the opening alone is worth reading just to enjoy the beautiful juxtaposition between sex and death that Kristoff has created. Every character has motive, depth and drive and everything links together in a most intriguing fashion as the story progresses leaving you very much wanting more. The world of NeverNight is a somewhat classic fantasy setting with a heavy dash of ancient Rome after Julius became the first Emperor. Even with its old world theme, the story is surprisingly relatable as we see yet another world caught in the grip of an ‘elected’ tyrant, which in turn tricks us into supporting a group of bloodthirsty heartless killers as the ‘good guys’.
Kristoff is unafraid to be brutal with his characters, and in a world that feels as though it is full of consequences this is a very good thing. There is a real atmosphere to the world of NeverNight which feels comparable to the careful direction of movies like Blade Runner, the addition of seemingly throwaway details adding layer upon layer of natural depth without Kristoff having to simply spell it out for us.
I found NeverNight to be a very engaging book, so much so that it took me around a day to finish the whole thing, and the sequel Godsgrave is equally compelling (and likely to get it’s own review in the near future!) I’d wholeheartedly recommend this series if you enjoy dark fantasy fiction, comparable to Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself or to a lesser extent Ursula K. Le Guin’s Tales of Earthsea series.
You can buy NeverNight here --> Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, Book 1)