NeverNight: a book review

A review of Jay Kristoff’s grimdark fantasy novel Nevernight, a book readers will never likely forget. 

NeverNight: a book review

Assassins. Death. Murder. These three words perfectly summarise Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight. The novel is set in a world where its three suns rarely set, and the daughter of a young noble, Mia Corvere, also known as Crow, is thrust into a world of danger and secrecy. Joining a school of assassins, she vows to destroy the men who betrayed her family and executed her father. What Jay Kristoff has written is an eloquent story of revenge with a captivating female lead who must face her morality, as she seeks the help of ever more dangerous forces in the hope that one day she’ll have the chance to reap her revenge.

Jay Kristoff has crafted an ideal setting that drips with carefully crafted worldbuilding, such as the Red Church of Itreya, the school of assassins whose walls harbour more dangerous things than the killers who dwell within. Each character is memorable to the reader, with my favourites being the assassin tutors themselves, who have mastered the art of death and kill their victims in their own stylish, creative ways. Mia is a delightful character to read as her fiery passion for revenge never dims, but she is forced to confront how much of herself she is willing to lose to achieve her goals. 

The plot is constructed in a non-linear fashion where the narrative jumps from Mia Corvere in the present before jumping back to the events that unfolded just before her father’s execution. The narrative is crafted so that the time jumps never become too bothersome, and I never had any difficulty keeping track of past and present events. Jay Kristoff also utilises the use of footnotes which provide greater context to certain passages of text that helps the reader to understand aspects of the world the character inhabits. Jay Kristoff is a master of tension, as there are moments where you’ll find yourself asking how on earth Mia is going to survive, only to be surprised at her creativity and resilience. The climax of the novel is riveting, and I couldn’t put it down as it's so easy to be sucked into the all too familiar “ just one more page”.

Jay Kristoff has an interesting style in his prose. It combines short, punchy sentences alongside an interesting selection of literary techniques such as stream of consciousness and free indirect discourse. I found the style very accessible and easy to read, leading me to race through the book's 462-page count.

Overall, I would recommend the book to any readers who are fans of the grimdark fantasy genre and enjoy the assassin trope within their literature. 

Header Image Credit: "Crow" by koen_jacobs is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Magellan Dissanayaka

Magellan Dissanayaka

Magellan is a writer and personal trainer by trade. Like all writers, he has a flair for the dramatic and enjoys creative pursuits such as literature, film and games. He studied Counselling and Psychotherapy at university and is currently studying an MA in Novel Writing. When Magellan isn't working on his novel, he's training martial arts, where he's been a practitioner for 10+ years.

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