Arc Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Posted August 2, 2016 by Emily in Review / 3 Comments

Arc Review: Nevernight by Jay KristoffNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 9th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Free for Review
Buy on Amazon

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.
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?

I couldn’t wait to read this book. When Nevernight was announced and I read the synopsis I just knew that it was going to be my favorite read this year. Everyone who reads has a checklist in their head of things that they love. IfJay Kristoff went through my head, pulled out my list and checked as many things off as possible, Nevernight would be the result.

  • Strong Female Character
  • Sarcasm
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Real danger to the characters
  • Deep and complex religion and culture
  • Worldbuilding
  • British Pratchettesque humor

I mean, I don’t know, but I don’t think that happened. I guess I can never be sure. Reading the synopsis, I felt like it was written for me. This was my book. There was no question in my mind that I would love it.

So with an incredible amount of disappointment I have to say, I didn’t love this book. Don’t get me wrong! I didn’t hate this book either. If anything, I nothing this book. It was a book that I read. It’s not a book I would recommend to friends though and that fact alone kills me. I had such high hopes and the fact that I didn’t love this book makes me want to apologize. Like I failed this book instead of it failing me.

First, I had an incredibly difficult time getting into the story. Nevernight starts SLOW. I had to slog through the first 100 pages before the action started. That’s a lot to ask of a reader, especially a reader like I am. I can read a book a day. In fact, I usually do read a book a day. It took me 4 days to read Nevernight, which is unheard of in my life. I can’t express enough how unusual it is for me to read the same book for 4 days in a row. Everyone in my life was commenting about it. I never felt fully immersed in the story. Instead I had to struggle every minute and claw my way to the end.

I think, in large part, my difficulty connecting with the story was because of the footnotes. All of the background and cultural information existed in footnotes below the story text. This is a perfect technique. I am in no way, shape or form against footnotes, so that wasn’t the problem for me. The problem was in the tone of the footnotes. The actual story Nevernight is telling is dark and full of action, sarcasm and murder. The footnotes, on the other hand, alternated between being stodgy and historical or being full of dry, Pratchettesque British humor. Neither one fit the tone of Nevernight for me and really pulled me out of the world. It was especially difficult for the first 100 pages when there is at least 1 footnote on every single page. Some of the footnotes were quite amusing, they just completely distracted me from the story at hand. It really made it difficult to connect with the history of the world.

Nevernight wasn’t what I was hoping for. Maybe you will feel differently. For me, I’m hoping another Kristoff masterpiece, Gemina, will ease the pain.




3 responses to “Arc Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

  1. Hmm, I’ve heard some mixed things about this one. For others, it’s absolutely amazing, but for the rest it’s slow and it was just okay. I’m not sure if I’ll pick this one up because it seems pretty gory and I’m not too into that. I hope that Gemina redeems Kristoff for you, though!

  2. Oh man how upsetting! I’m waiting for my pre-order of Nevernight, but it sucks that you weren’t super into the story like I’ve seen everyone else. Tone shifts in anything (books, movies, plays) are always a HUGE risk because it can do what it did to you which is take you out of the story.

  3. I’m sorry this didn’t live up to your expectations. That is frustrating. The cover is AMAZING! I’m debating on whether I want to read this now. I don’t like books that take a while to get into.

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