Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle, #1
Length: 20 hours
Narrator: Holter Graham
Publisher: Audible Audio
Original Publication Date: 2016
Genre(s): New adult, Fantasy
“Never flinch. Never fear. And never, ever forget.”
When Mia is only a child, her father is hanged, a traitor to the Republic after a failed rebellion against the Senate. Her mother and brother are thrown into a prison of madness, and Mia herself barely escapes with her life. Taken under the wing of a retired assassin, Mia grows up strengthening her body and mind, and one day ventures out to find the Red Church. If she can pass all the trials, she will be inducted into the Church as a full-fledged assassin. But the journey is long, and it’s not an easy one at that.
Wow. Where do I begin. I almost gave up on this book very early on. I immediately disliked the language. I was lost for the entire first chapter. The footnotes (which I didn’t realize were footnotes until reading other reviews of the book, thanks to audiobook format) seemed unnecessary. It was just chaotic. I felt like I waded into a mess I wasn’t sure I wanted to fight my way through.
But I’m so, so, so glad I pushed on. Chapter 1 is rough, my friends, but with each chapter after that, it gets better. The story picks up. Things start to make sense. You get a feel for the characters. The language…well, you get used to it. I think 90% of my distaste for this novel had to do with the audiobook format. I couldn’t stand the narrator. And while I didn’t enjoy all the footnotes, nor care for the language at first, (narrator aside) this was a really, really good book.
The story follows Mia on her journey to, and then into the ranks, of the Red Church. Though a little tedious at first, the story truly transforms once Mia gets to the Church. It’s so interesting and tense—typical perfection I have come to expect from Kristoff. The book is told in third-person POV following multiple characters at times, but 90% of the time from Mia’s perspective.
Our MC Mia is at times frustrating, but mostly sympathetic and badass. She’s a killer, yes, but one with a heart. The other characters in the story are just as fun, and not one-dimensional at all. Kristoff does so well creating unique characters that stand out even when not the main character of the story. I LOVED Tric and Ashlin. Though I have to say, Mr. Kindly may be better than them all. He is one cool not-cat. I love him so much…
I was weary going into this series, and though it had a rocky start, I found myself DYING to resume my reading and devour this hefty novel. I think this story is just so huge and unique that no matter what, it was going to be hard to delve into it and get the ball rolling. But you gotta start somewhere. My advice is to just push through the first couple chapters and I promise, you will be hooked. I’m really excited to continue the series. And I am so happy that Jay Kristoff exists and writes and is amazing.
–“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us.”