Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is the first book in The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy by Australian author Jay Kristoff. Published in 2016, it introduces readers to the dangerous and thrilling world of protagonist Mia Corvere. I dove into this fantasy novel with high expectations, and while it delivered on adventure and imagination, it fell short in some areas.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

AuthorJay Kristoff
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Romance
Publication DateAugust 9, 2016
Length448 pages

Where to Purchase

Introducing the Bloody and Ruthless Mia Corvere

The book opens with our protagonist Mia just sixteen years old. She’s determined to enter the Red Church and train to become an elite assassin known as a Blade. Why? So she can get revenge against the people who wronged her family and executed her father.

Mia narrates her story in a sarcastic yet sincere voice, pulling me into her quest. She’s the perfect anti-hero – cunning, flawed, sometimes vicious, yet still sympathetic given the tragedies she’s suffered.

Throughout the novel, we learn more about Mia’s dark past through flashbacks. Her journey transforms her from a scared girl to a fearless killer. It’s thrilling following her reckless pursuit for retribution.

A Unique Magic System and Captivating World

In Mia’s world, people can control parts of their minds known as “arcs.” By entering their arcs, they can perform extraordinary feats like picking locks, moving silently, or slowing their heart rate. Mia’s skills lie in controlling shadows.

I loved discovering more about the magic system with Mia as she trained to control her abilities. It felt unique compared to other fantasy novels.

The world itself – filled with political intrigue, debauchery, and violence – also drew me in. The city of Godsgrave overflowed with fascinating characters like gangsters, assassins, and warriors. Kristoff brings the locations to life through rich sensory details.

Nevernight kept me hooked through nonstop action and suspense. There’s everything from brutal training sessions to high-stakes gambling to behind-the-scenes looks at underground gladiator arenas. Mia faces new threats at every turn, and I couldn’t get enough of the danger.

An Unnecessary Romance and Clichéd Villains

While I enjoyed many aspects of Nevernight, certain elements fell flat for me. The biggest being the romantic storyline between Mia and Tric, who she meets during her Red Church training.

Their attraction grows through their sparring sessions, but the romance felt unnecessary to the broader plot. Tric himself is an underdeveloped character, serving as little more than a love interest. The predictably angsty relationship diverted focus from the far more interesting assassin and revenge elements.

The villains also disappointed me. The primary antagonists – Scaeva and Duomo – come across as one-dimensional, lacking nuance and motivations beyond just being evil rulers. I wish they embodied more complexity to better match Mia’s ambiguity.

The Final Verdict

At its best, Nevernight delivers a thrilling revenge tale through the eyes of a dynamic anti-heroine. The magic system and world-building sucked me in and left me wanting more. Yet the clichéd romance and villains felt like a waste of time and pages.

I recommend giving Nevernight a try for the nonstop action and imaginative fantasy elements. Just brace yourself for some cringe-worthy love scenes and cardboard cutout bad guys. I’m curious enough about Mia’s character arc that I’ll likely continue reading the trilogy. But I hope Kristoff crafts more meaningful relationships and antagonists moving forward.

Nevernight left me thrilled, annoyed, and hungry for more – a conflicting yet stimulating reading experience overall. It’s a solid choice for fantasy fans who enjoy bloody tales of vengeance. Just don’t expect perfection.


  • Paula Davis

    Paula Davis is a dedicated and seasoned content writer for Dreaming and Reading, where she brings her extensive knowledge and passion for literature to a wide audience of fellow book enthusiasts. With the heart of a true bookworm, Paula has immersed herself in the literary world, devouring approximately 50 books annually for the last 15 years. This impressive reading habit has not only provided her with immense joy but has also significantly honed her expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the realm of book reviews. Her insightful and well-crafted reviews reflect her deep understanding and appreciation of various genres, offering valuable guidance to readers in search of their next great read. With a finger always on the pulse of the latest literary releases, Paula Davis is a trusted voice and a go-to source for book recommendations and reviews.

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