Nevernight (The Nevernight chronicles #1)

by Jay Kristoff

  • First published:  2016
  • Pages: paperback, 463 pages
  • Rating: 3.5/5

“I appear to have misplaced the fucks I give for what you think.” 

In short:

A strong female lead character meets a weak and bloody plot.

In long:

I am torn. It’s rare that I like and dislike a book equally, but Nevernight is a book that shoves both its strength and weakness right in the readers face. Ouch…

Things I enjoyed:

  1. The female protagonist doesn’t pretend to be a strong, independent woman/ girl, she simply is. Finally. Thank you.
  2. Mister Kindly – the witty passenger made of shadows, who eats Mia’s fears and who assumes the shape of a cat (and the concept of Darkin). I like him, even though he probably is not as kindly as his name implies. But who knows?
  3. The setting. I like the world-building and the idea of an Assassin’s school, but all the names are so pretentiously clever that they hurt my brain: Tongueless, being a Hand or a Blade, and so on. Btw, the hand makes me always think of ‘The Hand’, the order of evil mystical ninjas who are involved in organized crime and mercenary activities (assassination) in the Marvel universe. Hm, what does it say about originality?

But now to the things I really dislike:

  • The beginning of the book. Right from the beginning, the book screams: I’m different. I’m special. I won’t shy away from blood, death, and all the dark stuff. And then it starts with a heavily overwritten bed scene?
  • the exorbitant use of (hilarious) metaphors
  • I don’t dislike footnotes in general, but those footnotes annoyed me, because they are a) often too long and thus distract from the main story, and b) they try too hard to be funny.
  • Chapters in italic. Isn’t that a crime? But honestly, it is the laziest way of writing to indicate that something happens at another time, and it really hurts my eyes. Evil.
  • Gentlefriend, I don’t like being addressed while reading a book. But maybe that’s just me.
  • Does every (YA) book need romance and explicit scenes of intercourse nowadays? Yes? Oh, okay…
  • Why does every character try so hard to be funny and witty? Please, stop…
  • The teachers. They are written a bit stereotypically and apparently they are quite useless outside of school (see final combat). So I was not really impressed. A bit concerned maybe, because they have on problems with killing their students.
  • It’s quite brutal. Okay, what did I expect from a book about an Assassin’s school? Flowers? No. I totally get that everything has to be bloody and brutal, but that should not allow to normalise the act of killing. Only at the end, Mia starts to reflect the killing, but I wished we could have seen more her inner (moral) struggle. Yes, Mia wants to revenge her family but is this reason enough to make her so cold and reckless that she can kill so many people at the age of 16 without being much affected by it?

Will I read book 2? Yes, because I already own it. Will I read it immediately? I don’t know, probably not.




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