Despite my restlessness and lack of focus, I ploughed through Nevernight yesterday.
This one came to my attention due to my passionate love for Illuminae which I adore with every fibre of my being. Jay Kristoff, joint author, has a new book coming out? Clearly I need to be all over that.
Mia is the daughter of a leader – until things go pear shaped and she witnesses his hanging at the tender age of 10, gripped fiercely by her mother who her urges her to never flinch, never fear, and never forget. At 16, Mia is apprenticed to the most deadly group of assassins in the republic. But will she survive the training in order to get her revenge?
This book is a trip. I had to read the opening a couple of times to aclimate myself with what was happening, and I c0uldn’t help but feel that Kristoff’s style was some sort of mad love child of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. It’s dark. It’s brutal. And parts are laugh out loud funny. Imagine Hogwarts, except your teachers are actually trying to kill you. I really enjoyed Kristoff’s use of language and word play (unlike poor reader Emily on Goodreads who seems to struggle with simple sentences and like Justin Beiber memes.)
I think by far my favourite thing about the book is the main character. One of the things that has annoyed me a little (ok, more than a little) about girls in YA fiction (particularly in fantasy/sci fi) is that there still seems to be a burden of virtue placed on them, despite how completely screwed up their situation is. So my entire family is dead, my world has been destroyed and I could die any time …. but sex? Hell no. In the Raven Cycle, poor Blue isn’t even allowed to kiss a boy for fear that she will kill him. Talk about pressure. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Raven Cycle, and this technique is effective for making the story about something else. But there are other ways to do that to.
Mia is no paragon of virtue. She drinks. She smokes. She swears. She fucks.She doesn’t confuse sex and love. (And she kills, but she’s an assassin in training, so that’s kinda part of the job description). But these things don’t change the tone of the story or the way we view her as a character. She knows what she wants and has plans to get it. There are still moral questions asked of her, but these are more relevant to the world she is living in rather than anything artificially imposed on her by her audience.
This is a YA book. There are some graphic sexual encounters (certainly much more graphic than I’m used to seeing in YA) and some very adult language. Chances are that both of these things will make you more uncomfortable than the teen you may choose to hand it to, but do be aware of the content.
Also, check out the summary posted by the author on Goodreads here . It’s good fun!
Read this book!! And then join me in the corner as I wait for the next in the series ….
4 out of 5 severed arms .