by Jay Kristoff
If you’re searching for a badass female lead, like I always am (hoorah female power!), look no further. It’s hard to find a more formidable figure than a legendary assassin who controls shadows and happens to be a small girl.
Mia, the small kickass lead, seeks to avenge her family and becomes an apprentice at a master assassin school – the Red Church. It’s here that she must learn and compete against her fellow bloodthirsty classmates. From poisons to swordsmanship to the art of seduction, Mia must navigate the trials of the Red Church and the savage halls filled with cutthroat assassins.
Nevernight’s world is entirely distinctive – three suns dotting the sky, a politically-charged hometown, beasts and monsters beneath the sand, and the Red Church, filled with friends, foes, and mysteries. Kristoff’s writing and world building is superb, the characters lovable despite their murderous bones, and the relationships (from romantic to student-teacher) filled with depth.
Fair warning – this is a book about murder and assassins and the gory scenes are not sugarcoated, nor would I want them to be. The deep details give a sense of realism and truly highlight Mia, her surroundings, and the level of her vengeance.
Fair warning part II – very sexually explicit scenes. Hats off to Kristoff for knowing his way around the bedroom.
While I rate this book five stars, because it is unbelievably well written, thoughtful, and the plot is superb, I’m more of a mushy-romance lover (to each his own, right?).
Romance: This is a different kind of romance – the kind you would expect from brutal assassins with dark pasts.
World Building: Ah-Mazing!! Every detail is thought through and traveling alongside Mia, we (us, readers) have a chance to experience the world more broadly. Every room, every town, every desert has a fantastical story – think a more raw, unsentimental version of Harry Potter.
Writing: Brilliant. Kristoff’s word choices reflect the historical/otherworldliness of Mia’s world. Even the slang is very unique and carefully crafted.
Overall: an amazing book. While slow to start, it’s worth the wait. I guarantee you will enjoy this clever novel!