The first in the Nevernight Chronicles, Nevernight is the story of Mia Corvere, who seeks vengeance on the men who murdered her family.
In a world where the sky is filled with three suns and true night – known as truedark – only comes once every two and a half years, it’s tough being an assassin. But sixteen year old Mia Corvere is on a mission. Six years ago, at the age of ten, her father was executed as a traitor to the government of Godsgrave; her mother and infant brother were imprisoned in the city’s darkest prison. Mia managed to escape and was raised by Mercurio, a disciple of the Red Church who worship the night goddess, Niah.
In order to prepare to murder the three men responsible for her family’s death, Mia sets out for the Red Church to continue her training and become a Blade, one of its deadliest assassins. In her journey, she meets Tric, a boy who also seeks to become a Blade and vengeance against his grandfather. The pair undergo extensive training along with 26 other Acolytes, but only four of them will become Blades. But before initiation, they must survive deadly combat, poison teachers who try to kill them, learn the arts of seduction and thievery, and just seek the approval of their instructors – who are deadly assassins themselves.
But vengeance isn’t the only thing Mia seeks. She is a darkin, one who has the ability to control shadows and darkness. But what does it mean to be darkin? The only one who can give her answers is Lord Cassius, Prince of Blades and head of the Red Church. But he won’t tell her anything until initiation – if Mia can survive her teachers and classmates that long.
Although Nevernight‘s protagonist is a teenager, don’t let that fact fool you. The story is full of violence (this is a story of assassins in training, after all), gore, sex, and swearing. But it’s also rich in a world’s history that Kristoff provides in a series of footnotes scattered throughout the text. Kristoff writes the book as a historian following the adventures of the world’s greatest assassin, providing context when necessary. I found the footnotes to be enlightening, broadening my knowledge of his richly imagined world. But they were also funny, providing commentary in a tone that sometimes lightened the dark mood.
Throughout the story, Mia struggles to maintain the humanity in her. She is constantly reminded by her various companions that she doesn’t belong in the Red Church, but vengeance is so strong in Mia that she ignores these words. She is willing to do anything to become a Blade – until the very end, when Mia realizes that her humanity actually makes her a stronger assassin.
This book took me longer to read than normal because there was so much information I was soaking up. I was so in love with this book that I read every little footnote and drank up every detail. I’ve heard wonderful things about this story, and it did not disappoint at all.
While the story ties up nicely, it ends on a note that hints at more to come. I look forward to reading the next chapter in Mia’s story and more of Kristoff’s amazing writing style.
My rating: 5/5