ARC Review: “Nevernight” by Jay Kristoff

I feel bad that I was unable to finish this book sooner. I saw it all around Instagram and read reviews on Goodreads about how amazing this book was so it just seemed logical to request a digital ARC on Netgalley…

And what do you know? 🙂 I got one. I’m not…wholly disappointed in the book. I had some qualms and it has its own quirks so… yeah.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s press for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no one way affects my review for the book.

I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

nevernight

Title: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Press)
Expected release date: August 9, 2016 (TOMORROW!)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 448 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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?”

My rating: 2.5/5 stars

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I don’t. Reasons? That cover and that synopsis. All of it looks freakin’ awesome. But sadly…things fell short, and I was distracted by too many similes and metaphors. The story dragged on with its’ awkward, overly descriptive and flowery language. The god forsaken footnotes that were just plain info dumping and some of them were just remarks that added absolutely nothing to the story. (Like why do I care what sound a camel does or doesn’t make?)

Read that synopsis. It sounds awesome, right? A teenaged girl seeking revenge on those who killed her family so she decides to join a school for assassins? HELL YEAH. But even from the very beginning, I was confused. The back and forth from past to present did it. I had to put the book down and I went on vacation for a whole week before I resigned myself to picking this up again.

I’ve never read anything by Kristoff, so I went into this blind to his writing style, etc. I saw physical ARCs of this book floating around the book community on Instagram, hailed as an epic, dark, and gritty fantasy. And truthfully, that’s what it is. But a book like this should not make me roll my eyes? But it did. There were a few parts that made me think, “And this is categorized for young adults?” I shook my head. Now that I’ve actually finished it I see it more in genre with the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown (but I loved Red Rising and this…not so much).

I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. Truthfully, I found Mia pretty bland outside of her powers. She just has a vendetta but what others assassins-in-training didn’t? I did enjoy the variety of classes and the teachers (Shahiids) and how they each taught the students their own specialty. (It made me think of classes at Hogwarts. XD ) Tensions between the students elevated nearly every week (another bothersome note: I never knew how much time passed. Weeks? Months? A year?). Mia found things she didn’t have since her family was killed.

One of the things that really kept me reading was Mia’s powers. I think it’s one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about the book. It’s unlike any of the books I’ve read before. So, brownie points for an interesting concept and not a bad execution. There’s that underlying question and desire to learn what exactly Mia is, and when we think she’s getting close to it… Well, I suppose you can read that for yourself.

I guess it’s just safe to say that I was fairly underwhelmed with this novel. It had a lot of things going for it but like I said in the beginning, the flowery language made the book feel stuffy, like the author was trying too hard. The book dragged on, too, especially towards the end. While I found the concept interesting and different, I also found it confusing with too much info-dumping. This book almost read like a non-fiction book. Maybe that was the author’s intention but it didn’t work for me. Characters were a bit flat, too.

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