ARC Review: Nevernight


Title: Nevernight

Author: Jay Kristoff

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle, #1

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: August 11th 2016


Five Stars

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere 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 demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

– Blurb courtesy of

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“If memory serves, Familia Corvere was involved in some trouble a few truedarks back. Something about kingmaking?”
“Never flinch. Never fear,” Mia sighed. “And never, ever forget.”
“So. The puzzle begins to make sense. The last daughter of a disgraced familia. Headed to the finest school of killers in all the Republic. Planning on setting scores after graduation?”

Reading this book was an adventure, it was like being punched in the face by my best friend because I never saw it coming but afterwards I was shocked, surprised, and overwhelmed all at the same time. I was late jumping on the Nevernight bandwagon. Everyone seemed to be eagerly anticipating this release but, until I read another glowing review for this book, the hype seemed to pass me by. Now I’ve finished Nevernight I can understand the hype, understand the anticipation, because this book is now competing for my top read of 2016.

When Mia was ten years old she watched as her father was hung for crimes of rebellion and treason, and she watched as her mother and baby brother were dragged away to the Philosopher’s Stone, a pit where all the criminals not deserving of execution are thrown. Mia herself was taken far away to be killed but she managed to escape and when she stopped running she found herself alone in the Godsgrave backstreets. But she wasn’t alone for long. She soon discovered her Darkin companion, Mister Kindly, and met Mercurio, the man who would teach her before sending her off to the Red Church to be trained as one of the deadliest assassins there are.

But after the deadly journey to the Red Church, where Mia and Tric – a boy she met along the way also searching for the Red Church – faced off against sand krakens and Hands of the Red Church, they soon discover their hardships have only just begun.

“Our gift to you,” she said. “A reminder. Walk among them. Play among them. Live and laugh and love among them, But never forget, not for one moment, what you are.”
Aalea released Mia’s hand.
“And never forget what it is to serve.”

All in all there are thirty apprentices competing for only four spots as Blades of the Church, the very best of the best. They are put through their trials; learning sword play from the Shalid of Songs, Solis, thievery from the Shalid of Pockets, Mouser, poisons from the Shalid of Truths, Spiderkiller, and seduction from the Shalid of Masks Aalea. It’s not a journey to be undertaken lightly, as Mia quickly realises, and the fact that she is a Darkin quickly becomes more of a hindrance than a help in the halls of the Red Church. And as the lessons and tests commence the more and more of the thirty apprentices prove they are not made of the iron the Red Church requires them to be.

There is a lot of things happening in this book and there were certain events that I didn’t think were important because the characters or the Red Church dismissed them, and by the time the chapter was done they had been put to the back of my mind, but by the end of the book all those small plot strings came together in a way that will left me in awe.

…The Characters

“I’ve heard tell of your kind. Never met one before, though. Never thought to.”
“My kind?”

Mia is a Darkin, someone who can control the shadows and pull the darkness around herself, and as such I expected her to have an advantage in a school of assassins, but if anything it’s the opposite. The first time she uses her ability she is severely punished for it and it’s a hard lesson but one she immediately takes to heart and learns from. Mia doesn’t arrive at the Red Church and immediately become a master of all hands. She works hard training in all the different weapons the Shalid of Songs trains them in. And, as she knows she will never be as gifted as others at thievery or seduction, she works on the skills she does have.

There are other apprentices in the Church who see more in Mia, people who question whether she is sure she wants to walk down the path she is. There is still compassion in Mia for the people she cares for which seems to be missing from most of the other apprentices, but she is desperate to get revenge for her family; for her mother and brother locked away in the Philosopher’s Stone and her father hung as a traitor. Mia is determined and it’s that determination that keeps her going. As a Darkin Mia is incredibly powerful but there is something holding her back from her full potential, something she fears even with Mister Kindly taking away her fears.

“Tric smiled and Mia grinned back, hand on hip. Aalea had told her that silence could be the best answer to a question, if the person already knew the answer. So she remained mute, staring up into those big, pretty eyes and letting Want speak instead. A part of her felt bad to be trying Aalea’s craft out on her friend, but as Tric himself pointed out, he was technically competition.”

Tric travelled to the Red Church alongside Mia and his desire to become a Blade is similar to hers; revenge. He too holds too tightly to his fears and his past at times which gets him into trouble. The relationship that developed between Mia and Tric was a slow burn, but it allowed them to become more to one another than just fellow apprentices; even while, when it comes down to it, they are still in competition with one another.

Mia looked among them wondering. Jessamine with her hunter’s eyes. A broad, olive-skinned boy with a missing ear and chewed fingernails. A thin girl with cropped, black hair, who swayed on  her feet like a snake. An ill-favoured Vaanian boy with tattooed hands who always seemed to be talking to himself. Mia was still putting faces to names. But though they were still mostly strangers, she knew one thing about every apprentice around her.
‘Murderers, all.’

The other characters are all incredibly well developed as well. Each apprentice has their own motivations and desires for being at the Red Church and becoming a Blade, and those desires are not always easy to spot. It’s hard to know who to trust when there are thirty apprentices competing for only four Blade positions. They are each out for their own purposes, not there to make friends but there in competition with one other.

…The Setting

“It’s said Niah gave her daughters nothing, for the Maw has naught inside to give. But these are falsehoods spat by ministers of Aa’s church.
To Keph, Niah gave dreams, to keep her company in her eternal slumber. To Trelene, she gave enigma, the deep dark of the waters beyond the sunslight. To Nalipse, she gave calm; the peace in the storm’s eye. And to Tsana? Her firstborn who so despised her?
To Tsana, Goddess of Fire, Niah gave hunger.
Hunger unending.”

If the story itself was incredible then the world building was beyond compare. We learn all the facts we need to keep the story moving forwards – about the Red Church and its history with the Republic, as well as the Gods each faction worship, about Mia’s familia and Darkin’s – but there are also footnotes throughout the story which, while they aren’t essential to understanding the plot, give a much deeper understand as to the world itself. Through the footnotes we learn more about the kings, queens, nobles, and even criminals who have  influenced the city and it’s customs. The whole world has a very dark feel to it. The closed-off mountain where the Red Church makes it home only amplifies the horrors that are committed in the Niah’s name. There are two sides fighting a war in Nevernight, the Republic who worship Aa and the Red Church who worship Niah, but both sects have their dark side.

I didn’t see the ending coming, not from a mile away, but I was engrossed even more on the last few chapters than I was before. No one is safe in this book, you never know who will survive the Red Church and who will perish, but you will be hooked from the first page.

What did you think of Nevernight? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

39 thoughts on “ARC Review: Nevernight

  1. Amazing review! 🙂 I have already wanted to read this book once I saw the cover and read the summary. Your review just made me want to read it even more! I seriously can’t wait for my book buying ban to be over so that I can get all the amazing books! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Anna! 😀
      I think the cover and the blurb just made me more excited for this book as well but Nevernight is seriously amazing; definitely in competition for my favourite book of this year!
      I feel like once your book buying ban is over you’re going to have a list a mile long to get, but I’d put Nevernight at the top of it if I was you (and the second Shades of Magic book too!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have only heard amazing things about Jay Kristoff’s books and I want to read all of them basically. I think I’m going to start with this one though – it simply interests me the most! 🙂 Hahaha, the list is seriously long! (Then when I buy them all I will have to go on another ban immediately!) XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same here, and now I’ve read Nevernight I feel I should get around to his other books. Saying that as someone who’s only read this one by him as well I think Nevernight is a good book to start off with 🙂
        A vicious cycle; you go on a ban, then spend too much, then go on another ban! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I keep reading about this! At first, I was sure I wouldn’t like it but the more I hear about it, the less confident I am about my first impression! Your review convinced me I should probably give it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was exactly the same when I first saw this book, it was only when I saw a glowing review that I became excited for it’s release as well. And reading it I was surprised, but in all the best ways. I’d definitely recommend it, I hope you really love it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, I am so, SO glad you enjoyed that book so much. I’ve heard TONS of great things about it, and it’s really hyped, and to be honest because of that I don’t feel in a rush to get it (scared of being disappointed and all). But but buuuut, after reading your review, I feel like maybe I should add it to my TBR 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marie! 😀 There is a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding the release of this book but from what I read it is all well deserved, and Nevernight more than lived up to my high expectations for it. 😀
      I feel like my comment may be hyping it up even more for you but I would really recommend it, it’s an amazing book! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was the same, I read one review for this book which is what hooked me on it, and then avoided all mentions of Nevernight until I finished it for myself. It is definitely a book that you should go into blind because it is utterly amazing! It more than lived up to the hype for me and I’m sure you’ll end up loving it as well. Yep, not long until the release, I have the hardcover edition pre-ordered as well! 😀


      1. Me too! I’m finishing school this coming semester and I will be teaching high school English, but I’m hoping it will allow me to use new YA in the classroom. Though, if tomorrow someone hired me in the book industry, I would die and go to heaven right there.
        I should slow down on the reading though, because I’m supposed to be working on my own book…but I just call it “research” and I can justify it. (But then again, I can always justify my reading: it’s due back at the library, or, oh, I just have to finish this for a RaR…or, I’ll never have a chance to read this again…lots of good excuses to get my books read!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahh, and I’m guess that’s the story behind your blog name as well then 🙂 but wow that sounds really great, and yeah I hope you are able to use YA in the classroom.
        Oh I’d be the same, I love my job at the moment but I would jump at the oppertunity to work in the book industry somewhere.
        There are always ‘excuses’ for reading when you should be doing something else, mine are always just ‘well I want to read this book instead of doing work so I’m going to read this book!’ 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I just mentioned this book yesterday in my post! Actually, I think you were the one who inspired me to add it to my TBR. I had to skim because I was worried for spoilers, but AHH I’m so excited seeing you gave it 5 stars!

    Did you read Illuminae? He wrote it with Amie Kaufman (sp? possibly) and it was really well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep I remember seeing it in your post and I’m so glad I possibly inspired you to add it to your TBR list. It’s a brilliant books so I hope you really love it. And I know what you mean, I think with a book like this it’s best to go in blind and just fall in love with the story.
      Yes, I read Illuminae when it came out and I LOVED it, it was that book that first but Nevernight on my radar, I am so so excited for Gemina to be released now! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. After reading your review, which is fabulous, I’m dying to open this book. I’m buddy reading it with my friend. We’re supposed to start on Monday and even that feels too long after reading this. I saw some complaints about the writing being dense, but I can tell from the passages I’ve read that it’s a perfect fit for the writing styles I normally go for. Awesome review, Beth! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jill, I’m so glad you enjoyed my review, and I think you’ll really love the book as well. In some places the writing did feel a little heavy but like you said it fits perfectly with the writing style and the story in general. I hope you love Nevernight when you start buddy reading it; and I know what you mean about the wait, as soon as I got requested for the ARC I downloaded it onto my Kindle and started reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a brilliant book isn’t it?! I didn’t really expect to enjoy it as much as I did but, wow, I was completely blown away and it’s probably going to end up one of my favourite books of 2016 as well.
      I need to read more of Jay Kristoff’s books, and I already need the second one in this series! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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