by Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
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?
MY EYES, O, MY EYES! O, gentlefriends, you may not approve of my decision to rate Nevernight with a severe and lonely star given the fact that I failed to finish it. But I tried, O, gentlefriends, trust me, I tried, yet completing the task of reading all 18,695 pages of this wonder-
There are only 448 pages…
Oh, FUCK OFF, the cat “who is not a cat” (why thank you I KNOW you told me one billion times already – go haunt someone else’s shadow, watch over another balcony with your not-eyes would you even though I don’t even want to know how THAT bloody works)
Truth is, O, gentlefriends, I’m taking my life back. The 42% I read were painfully indigestible and I am very sorry if I offend 99% of my friends who love Jay Kristoff‘s writing but I cannot do this. I CANNOT.
1) The metaphors and similes
First, I don’t like them as a whole. While I do believe that they can add a poetic touch to a novel, if I start highlighting them, it either means that :
a) they’re overused ;
b) they don’t make any kind of sense ;
c) they make me forget the story to focus on the prose, as if the writer was tapping me on the shoulder in a “I am so clever, am I not?” fashion.
Some of them made me roll my eyes.
“Mia caught her temper by the collar, gave it a good hard shake. Clearing her throat, she brushed her crooked fringe from her eyes.”
“Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.”
Others earned a well-deserved WTF?!
“Tric gave another half-hearted stab, but the beast had forgotten its quarry entirely, great eyes rolling as it flipped over and over, dragging its bulk back below the sand, howling like a dog who’s just returned home from a hard turn’s work to find another hound in his kennel, smoking his cigarillos and in bed with his wife.”
“They’re led by a dozen camels, Tric. A noseless dog could follow this trail of shit in the middle of truedark. If they suddenly start trekking faster than a forty-a-turn smoker with an armload of drunken prostitutes, I think we can find them again.”
2) Heavy wordiness and other useless descriptions
This is a matter of taste, alright? But I can’t do this? Not willingly, at least? Look, I graduated in French Literature and hence have had my fair share of wordy books for the sake of being wordy. After five years, I’ve come to the conclusion that this overwritten and purple writing style does not suit me. Words are meant to carry the story, and not to prove how clever and well-read the author is. Again, in my opinion anyway.
“She introduced her boot to his partner’s groin, kicking him hard enough to cripple his unborn children.”
BECAUSE THAT’S A THING.
Nope. That’s a commonplace.
I tend to find commonplaces useless.
“The horizon was crusted like a beggar’s lips, scoured by winds laden with voices just beyond hearing. The second sun kissing the horizon was usually the sign for Itreya’s brutal winters to begin, but out there, the heat was still blistering.”
Many of you might adore this writing. I do not. Oh, and no, before some gentle soul implies it, it is not because I’m “used to YA” or “unable to ‘get it'”. As I said, I can enjoy classics. Just not the ones that make me want to pull my hair out.
3) There are footnotes as a world-building
Call it as you want, when an author uses LONG footnotes to narrate parts of the world-building, it seems like info-dumping to me. And an annoying one, at that. Honestly? I stopped reading them after two chapters : I had a hard time connecting with the story already, and would have DNFed Nevernight way faster if I had stopped every few pages to read these damn footnotes. More generally, I find it lazy to use footnotes when these legends could have been incorporated into the main story.
There’s also a character who speaks like a Shakespeare’s lad, but at this point, I’m not even counting anymore.
As much as I wanted to love Nevernight, whose blurb made it sound so captivating, I cannot stand this writing and it spoiled my read. If you add it to the facts that :
1) The world-building is a mash-up between the Roman Empire, the Venice Republic, Harry Potter and The Young Elites (not a bad thing per se, but again, distracting) ;
2) The heroine already earned her special nemesis whose only purpose seems to glare and glare and glare again ;
3) I don’t care about any of the characters whatsoever (except Tric. I did like Tric) ;
4) I don’t appreciate the so-called wit of that fucking cat who is not a cat (I didn’t laugh ONCE, alright?) ;
5) I am BORED ;
… Well, you’ll understand why Nevernight and me will part ways now, at 42%.
Mark my words, though : this will be a hit. Oh, well. On my minority shelf it goes.