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Nevernight and Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff – Review

(I am going to review both books since I finished them while I was on my hiatus and the way I think about them is as one entity. It is just easier to review them at the same time instead of trying to piece out what happened in which book).

“The books we love, they love us back. And jut as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”

Nevernight, pg. 243

Mia is our for revenge. Her father was killed. Her mother and brother imprisoned. She was supposed to die but escaped. Now she has a list of people that need to die. The only way she knows how to get her true revenge is by joining an elite group of assassins. But the test to get in is brutal. Even after she makes it the world is not as simple as she would like to think. Is revenge necessary and needed and who are her real enemies?

“Never flinch.” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

Nevernight, pg. 16

This is again one of those book series that I have seen around but never pariticualy felt drawn to. I liked the premise but it didn’t stand out as anything too unique. Plus I thought it was more YA assassin and I thought it might be a little watered down.

Boy was I wrong on all accounts. First of all this is NOT YA. The author frequently says this and I have no idea how anyone who has read it can mistake it for YA. I know the protagonist is a teenager but damn this is beyond what you find in YA novels. I mean it opens with Mia literally losing her virginity and killing someone. This is how this series starts and the tone is set from that page onwards. (The way the same language is used to describe both scenes is poetry in action and I was blown away by that bit of storytelling).

Mia is my new favorite person. I adore her because she is one of those characters that is so dark and deep that you realize you will never truly understand her. You watch her struggle with her plans, her past and her present. She is constantly wondering if she is making the right choice while also taking lives in the process. While she questions the world around her, she is also not one to lay down at someone’s feet and let them control her.

Mia has complete control of her life and I admire that. Even with everything against her she finds a way to hold onto herself. She doesn’t forget who she is truly on the inside. She could become this full on killer or this wrecked soul instead she finds a way to be both.

Another thing I loved about this series is that it is unapologetically dark. People die, a lot. People are killed in brutal ways. People betray others and don’t care. People look out for themselves and themselves only. There is no sugar coating the darkness. There is no sidestepping around the issues trying to find the moral way of looking at things. Sometimes the world is dark and sometimes it is brutally dark. I like that Kristoff doesn’t sanitize it. You worry about the character because you know that they might not die but they will not come out of this series whole.

I also liked the way all the characters develop throughout the story. This story doesn’t have any shallow characters. There is no one who is just there to talk or be part of a backstory. Everyone has depth. Everyone has meaning. I feel like they are all alive and I worry about all of them. I want my favorites to make it but I know that won’t happen. In the end I want them to have a full and true story and I feel like that that is what we will get from this series.

“If you can’t hurt the ones who hurt you, sometimes hurting anyone will do.”

Nevernight, pg. 210

This is purely because of my personal preference and has nothing to do with the actual writing or story itself. I got a little bored in the middle of Godsgave because of the amount of battle sequences and fighting sequences.

The whole premise of that book is that Mia is part of this fighting ring in order to get close to one of those she wants to kill. To get to the end point she has to go through a number of fights and training. I am not someone who enjoys reading about battles, fighting or training to fight. I find the descriptions boring. I find it hard to focus on those moments.

The scenes were all well written and conveyed the story well. I just didn’t connect with those moments as much. Though I will say that the connection between the characters throughout this time was great. I found new favorites and feared for them during the fights.

“But there is beauty in knowing all things end, Mia. The brightest flames burn out the fastest. But in them, there is warmth that can last a lifetime.”

Godsgrave, pg. 134

There was nothing that stood out and threw me out of the book. I was able to predict many of the coming deaths. There is a lot of the – here is a character we are growing attached to, and now they are dead. Or the look, they got what they want or will get it and now they are dead. But that is not unsurprising in a book like this. You have to do that many times in order drive home what is at stake for everyone in the story.

I gave Nevernight five stars and Godsgrave four stars. As I stated above for Godsgrave I knocked off a star just because of my issue with the huge focus on fights. But as a whole I would defiantly give this series five stars so far. I can’t wait for DarkDawn in September. (I even preordered it and I never do that!)

“Thats the power of words: twenty-six letters can paint a whole universe.”

Godsgrave, pg. 265
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