Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Nevernight ★★★★★
2.) Godsgrave ★★★★★

“I am a daughter of the dark between the stars,” she replied. “I am the thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight. I am the vengeance of every orphaned daughter, every murdered mother, every bastard son.” Mia leaned forward and looked the man in the eye. “I am the war you cannot win.”

Nevernight is about a girl, desperate to learn the truth of her family, and willing to do anything it takes to seek her revenge.

Godsgrave is about a young woman, learning more of her and her family’s past, and willing to do anything it takes to survive.

Darkdawn is about a powerful woman, learning what she wants in this life, and willing to do anything to protect the ones she loves.

“As promised, her birth you’ve witnessed, her life you’ve lived. All that remains is her death.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and I truly think this trilogy is a masterpiece. Most of you know, this is a very beloved series in the book community, and with good reason, it truly is a story that somehow has completely bled into my very own heart and feels completely a part of me. Seeing Mia, seeing her struggles and defeats, seeing her power and victories, seeing everything ugly and beautiful in between, it has been an honor, friends. A true honor and one that I won’t forget.

This is going to be a hard book to review, mostly because it is the concluding book of a trilogy, but also just because I am too emotionally invested. Seeing Mia be a recruit for the red church, to seeing her being a gladiator willing to risk it all, to seeing her deal with what it means to get close to your absolution, it’s all so beautiful and it all evokes so many emotions from me that are beyond words.

I guess I should take a minute to talk about all the side characters, even though I truly could gush about Mia Corvere forever. But Mia has so many enemies, but just as many people who truly have grown to love her. This series has such an extensive cast of side characters, but they all feel so different and so fleshed out.

“But it’s a terrible thing, Dona Mia, when the ones who should love you best leave you for the wolves.”

Especially Mercurio. You all know that I have loved this grumpy old man for many years, but what a bright, shining light in this final installment. I love what was done with his character so much! And let’s all be honest here, we all love seeing when the hard, grumpy one ends up being the soft, sweet one. Mercurio and Mia’s relationship and found family is the stuff of dreams. And the constant theme of family being the people you choose is so beautifully executed throughout this entire series, but it is especially highlighted in Darkdawn.

And not to get into anything spoiler, but you all know I love reading about sibling relationships, especially when it is an older sister protecting a little brother. Also, I have been very open about this series having one of my favorite f/f relationships of all time, and I was living my best life, gentle friends, truly. All of the relationship dynamics are expertly done; romantic, platonic, familial, all perfection.

The author has been very open about the ending of this book and how it was going to be pretty sad, but the ending truly surpassed everything I could have imagined. I find it very rare for me to be completely satisfied with the ending of a beloved series, and somehow Jay Kristoff was able to pull off perfection.

“Sometimes the past won’t just die. Sometimes you have to kill it.”

Overall, this series just means a lot to me, and I truly love it wholeheartedly. And before you all ask, yes, I did cry a lot while reading. First, because I truly am still not ready to say goodbye, but also because Jay Kristoff does not pull back the punches, and this shit hurts, friends. But I was crying with a smile on my face, this I swear. And all the footnotes? I feel like I could write a separate review for the spectrum of emotions they were able to evoke from me. I just love this series so much, and I love Mia more than any words I could string together for a sappy review. Lastly, anyone who loves the UK versions of this series? You all are going to geek out while reading this book. Okay, love you, bye.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of child sex slavery in the past, graphic violence, gore, blood depiction, torture, loss of a loved one, death, murder, a lot of alcohol consumption, talk of rape in the past, talk of pedophilia in the past, talk of suicide, many threats of rape, sexual assault (unwanted touching), and abandonment. This is a very dark, adult book! Please use caution while reading, and make sure you are in a safe headspace.

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

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1.) Nevernight ★★★★★

“The heavens grant us only one life, but through books, we live a thousand.”

Well, I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to function while lying in wait for the third and final book in this series. That last chapter made me feel things that very few books are able to evoke from me. I honestly am not sure how I could possibly string together words to let you guys know how much I loved this book, but I do suppose I should at least try.

Godsgrave picks up right after the events of Nevernight. But where Nevernight felt like an adult Harry Potter (with an amazingly gothic floo powder network) where our main protagonist, Mia, is learning to become an assassin for the Red Church and the Lady of Blessed Murder, Godsgrave is an all-out gladiator gauntlet, where our characters are fighting to the death and only the very best may rise in rank.

Mia also has grown a lot since the end of Nevernight, and she is figuring out rather quickly that she is truly unable to trust anyone. Godsgrave is way more brutal and gory, but it’s also much more raw and emotional.

“The choice between looking plain and pretty isn’t really a choice at all. But any fool knows looking dangerous is preferable to both.”

One of my favorite parts of Nevernight is how Mia never explains that she is bisexual, but her actions just show it. There isn’t a big coming out story, or any explanation on why she feels the things she does for men and woman, Mia is just herself and I loved it more than words. Well, Godsgrave really delves into Mia’s sexuality, and it’s honestly a thing of beauty. Honestly, all I want in my adult fantasy is to read about queer girls saving their worlds, and Jay Kristoff delivered that to me better than maybe anyone else has. I will forever cherish this series for that alone. Also, I will go down with that fucking ship. OTP is an understatement. This is honestly the queer, f/f, assassins taking over the world, high fantasy, love story, I’ve been searching for my entire life.

Mia Corvere is one of my favorite characters of all time. She tries so hard to be morally grey, and I guess she truly is to most extents, but seeing her able to be soft and capable of unconditional love is something I don’t even have words for. Mia is strong, and brilliant, and clever, and brave, and everything I love in a main protagonist. And she always acknowledges how beauty, too, can be a weapon, but how important it is to never have it be your only weapon. And Mia has had so many shitty hands dealt to her, but she is able to overcome it all realistically and inspirationally. I honestly love Mia, and Mister Kindly and Eclipse also bring me more joy that I should probably admit.

Also, let me state that this book is definitely not Young Adult. Not only do I believe this is Adult Fantasy, I think it holds up to all the beloved and highly praised High Fantasy out there. This book/series can get rather dark at times, so know that going in. Also, there is a decent amount of sexual content in this book, so use caution if that makes you uncomfortable. And trigger warnings for violence, murder, gore, slavery, child abuse, and things along those lines. But I hope that doesn’t discourage you, because this world is amazing, these characters are perfection, the messages are beautiful, and the discourse is so damn important.

“So much wealth held in so few palms. A kingdom of the blind, built on the backs of the bruised and the broken.”

From the first page to the last page, this book had me so enthralled. I loved this more than words. Godsgrave will easily be one of my top ten favorite books of 2017, and the third book will be all I look forward to in (hopefully) the coming year. Jay Kristoff has perfected his craft at writing, and I’d honestly do just about anything to get my hands on anything new from this world. Even though I shouldn’t give him anything, because he is now the proud owner of the heart he ripped out from me reading the ending of this book.

“‘That’s the power of words; twenty six little letters can paint a whole universe’”


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Buddy read with Jules! ❤

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

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“The last thing you will ever be in this world, girl, is someone’s hero. But you will be a girl heroes fear.”

I feel like this book is extremely polarizing but if you love it, you will love it completely and whole heartedly. If you love it, you won’t be able to put it down. If you love it, you will probably consider it one of the best book you’ll read all year. And I loved it. I loved it so much. Even though, when I look through my friends’ reviews, I feel like I’m in the minority. But for me, Nevernight is worth all of the hype.

I will say that I personally feel like this is an adult fantasy novel, not a YA fantasy novel, despite the characters age. There is sex, a lot of sex, and violence, a whole lot of violence, and gore, don’t forget all of the gore! So please go into this book knowing this, and knowing that this is a very mature book in general.

Also, before I get into my review, I want to address the problematic, hurtful, and harmful representation of the Māori people (the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) that Jay Kristoff was inspired to base the Dweymeri race in this book from. Jay has stated, “the tatts aren’t based off Māori designs” but it still feels a little bad while you’re reading this story, even if the Dweymeri are not direct representatives of the Māori. I just think it’s important to bring this discussion up and I want everyone to know about this controversy surrounding the portrayal of this culture. I, also, do not want anyone to think that I’m making excuses for it, because I am definitely not even though I did love this book. Cultural appropriation and reinforcing stereotypes will never be okay and I truly wish this element was not a part of this book, but it is, and I’m not going to not bring it to your attention whether you believe it is or not.

Nevernight is a story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Mia Corvere, who is on a mission for vengeance and to right the wrong that has been done to her family in the only way she knows how: killing everyone. Mia find her way into the Red Church, who worship the Goddess of murder, where she is training to become one of the deadliest assassins of all time. Also, Mia has an affinity for the shadows, which not only grants her the only companion she has ever known, but also sends her on a quest to discover more about her powers and who she really is.

“The brighter the light, the deeper the shadows”

This story reads like a dark version of Harry Potter, to me. From the boarding school aspect, to the magic, to how they travel through the world, to the professors and their different classes, so much of this book reminds me of the wizarding world.

And even though this is a series, there is no real cliffhanger (even though you will be left wanting more), this is a full standing book that has an amazing story and that you could just read on its own. I’m not sure the last time I read a book in a fantasy series that did that.

This book is so sex positive, and the opening chapter of this book was so beautifully done. It is one of my favorite first chapters of all time, and I think Jay Kristoff is nothing short of a genius to have been able to write a juxtaposition that well. I mean, Jay’s writing is lyrical and beautiful, too, but it’s so damn smart that I can’t help but be in awe of this story he has crafted.

And Mia’s bisexuality is so beautifully on display. Like, all I want in my reading life is girl assassins loving each other and saving the world, and this book doesn’t disappoint, even though the main “love” story is hetero. We need more stories with queer main protagonists that are normalized and just having their adventures and story told without a coming out story or an explanation on why they feel the way they do. Again, Jay Kristoff gets all the kudos and credit.

I always pride myself in being able to see the twists coming, and I was completely blindsided by the end reveal of Nevernight! Also, for those of you who have finished, I will go down with that hate to love ship. I. WILL. GO. DOWN. WITH. THAT. SHIP.

And finally, if you find yourself loving this series and wanting more, I can’t recommend Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister enough! It’s a very reminiscent story, with perhaps more violence, but with definitely less sex, and both star queer assassin nun-like characters who study at a church.

Nevernight was everything that I never knew I wanted, and it is totally just as amazing as some of the most popular and highly acclaimed adult fantasy series out there. This novel meant so very much to me, and I cannot wait to start Godsgrave as soon as humanly possible! Happy reading, everyone!

“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”

 


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Buddy read with Katherine, Jules, & Paloma! ❤