Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Assassins
Nevernight, gentlefriends, is an O, so bloody piece of Art.
It is not for the faint-hearted. It is not a Young Adult book. It does not feature noble heroes, polished by their acts of kindness.
It is a story of
A tale of the vicious fight between
Light and Darkness
And in the shadows cast by the Lady of Blessed Murder, her faithful servants thrive.
“You'll be a rumour. A whisper. The thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. The last thing you will ever be in this world, girl, is someone's hero.
But you will be a girl heroes fear.”
In the beautiful and terrible city of Godsgrave, inspired by medieval Venice, a city of Bridges and Bones, where the sky is illuminated by three suns and the God of Light is worshipped, the last daughter of a disgraced familia fled for her life. Swearing revenge. She headed to the finest school of assassins, devoted to the Mother of Darkness. Trained in the fine Arts of Blade. Poison. Seduction. She sang the Song of Death, bathed in Blood, called the Shadows that bowed to her will. But revenge has a steep price. It demands sacrifice. Your conscience. Your soul. And Mia Corvere, the Pale Daughter, the Crow, was tested time after time, only to discover that she was not made of glass.
She was steel.
And never, ever Forget.”
Nevernight, gentlefriends, is a gritty saga. Jay Kristoff is not one to shy away from brutality, nor he sugarcoats the actions and the motives of his characters. As the narrator kindly informs us, he does not spare the reader from the gore and the vulgarity. Torture scenes, death, sex scenes, they're all depicted in explicit detail, and while you'll probably want to close your eyes and forget the violence you just witnessed, you can't. But mind that this is not necessarily a bad thing, gentlefriends. Because the ugly and the raw is infused with rare moments of beauty, and humanity. Because the narration is ingenious and witty, and the information regarding the lavish world-building (and other random facts) is presented in the form of footnotes, commented by the mysterious, all-knowing narrator that will make you crack a smile. The prose is unique, elegant, the sarcasm entwined with lyricism, and you can't help but
as if enchanted by a powerful being*.
“When all is bood, blood is all.”
While you walk in the filthy streets of Godsgrave, or the dim-lit corridors of the Red Church (the caste of assassins blessed by the All-Mighty Mother), you will meet dubious characters. You will be swept away by politics and murder, and you will try to find a ray of sunshine in acolytes seeking blood, only to be answered with Darkness. Mia Corvere will make you cringe, and curse, and O, this is unexpected, but love. Her courage,her badassery and determination will win you over, and so will her cunning and devious mind. You will follow her wide-eyed in her journey paved with bodies, in the moments she is overwhelmed with lust (for human flesh or for blood), you will participate in the trials she struggles to dominate, and share her heartbreak. Her feeble friendships and longing, and wishes that are not fulfilled. Her nightmares and her questions about who she is. What she is.
The death toll will take you by surprise. The plot-twists will make you gasp for breath. You will want to hurt Jay Kristoff, gentlefriends, the way he hurt you with a seething passion. But if you yearn for a dark tale featuring assassins, smut, ancient magic and a dream of revenge, Mister Kristoff awaits to serve you the delicious and grim story of Mia Corvere.