Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Harper Voyager on July 25th 2016
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Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
Mia Corvere is on the path of retribution, to kill the bastards who murdered her father and threw her mother and baby brother in a deep, dark prison. She has become an acolyte of Niah, the Black Mother, goddess of the night in a world with three suns. She is also darkin, a wielder of shadow magic, but that won’t help her in her training to become a Blade of the Red Church.
I have been looking forward to reading Nevernight with a mixed sense of excitement and impending doom. The Lotus War trilogy was one of my favourite series of the last few years, and I knew that Jay would only be taking things to a whole new level of hurting with this book. And there’s plenty of nastiness within these blood-soaked pages, gentlefriends. Also, some rather hot sexy times.
Jay Kristoff writes with flourishing descriptions and furious action scenes, but the dark, gory parts are lightened by almost Pratchett-esque asides in footnotes. Sometimes these are info-dumps about concepts or places, and sometimes they are just funny. I’ve never been a particular fan of footnotes in fiction. They tend to draw you out of the flow of the story, and these are no exception. They add a cute touch, though, especially once I started reading ‘gentlefriend’ as ‘girlfriend’, and couldn’t unsee it!
Yes, there is an element of boarding-school Hogwartian psychopathic teachers, but the story is different enough, and dark enough, that the similarities don’t last long. The Red Church really is a dangerous place, and the teachers are quite happy to kill you, given half a chance.
Mia is a total bad-ass, mostly because her ‘passenger’, the roughly cat-shaped and slightly sinister shadow she carries around with her, sucks away all her fear. Having no fear might get her closer to the end of the training in the Red Church, but it makes her dangerously impulsive and removes her sense of caution. Mia has a whole lot more growing to do. Even though she finds her compassion and manages not to become a complete monster, the tantalising snippets of darkin information we get are hinting at something much darker to come.
There is set to be another two books in this Nevernight Chronicle, and I expect there will be plenty of bloodshed to come.