I know I love badass female assassins. I know I love the idea of training. And I still waited all this time to read Nevernight…. why oh why do I do this to myself 😣😣😣😣 This book transported to a new world, made me fall in love with all these awesome characters, and then stabbed my heart over and over again till I was left wailing.
Mia is an excellent protagonist to follow. She is smart, intelligent, strong and sassy and her only goal since she was ten has been to become an assassin capable of getting revenge for the deaths of her family. She also has the ability of interacting with shadows and has a constant companion, a shadow cat named Mr. Kindly, who is always there with her absorbing her fears and advising and helping her. Their conversations are some of the most funniest and sarcastic in the whole book. But despite striving to be this ruthless assassin, Mia has her moments of vulnerability and compassion which truly depicts her humanity and I loved this characterization. Her bisexuality is also treated very naturally and there is no questioning or hate because of it, which I thought was wonderful.
The world building is quite unique in this book and I really enjoyed getting to know more about it. The maps of the Republic of Itreya and the city of Godsgrave at the beginning of the book are some of the most gorgeous and intricate ones you will find in fantasy. The setting of Godsgrave is very much based on Venice and the descriptions give us a lot to imagine. Church of Our Lady of Blessed Murder also called the Red Church, where Mia goes to become an assassin is like a highly darker version of Hogwarts. The students attend classes to learn the arts of fighting, poisons, thieving and seduction. The professors are masters in their subjects, but don’t think twice before brutally injuring the students or trying to poison or torture them. The fact that only a few students would qualify to become the Blades at the end of their training ensures the persistence of rivalry and sabotage among them which even leads to murder.
The writing in the book is something that takes getting used to. Almost the first third of the book feels difficult, because we are thrust into this new world and the vocabulary feels unfamiliar. But once Mia enters the Red Church, I did not want to put the book down. It’s a whirlwind of murder, blood, brutality, violence and Mia’s struggle to retain the parts of her that are still human and not become a mindless assassin ready to kill anybody. I spent the last third of the book at the edge of my seat because the twists kept hitting me, the betrayals blindsided me and I just waited with bated breath to see what was going to happen next. The footnotes in this book are definitely a unique part of the worldbuilding, which might not appeal to everyone but I really enjoyed them. They gave me more context about the culture and beliefs of the people and also had some funny historical stories.
This was such a thrilling ride of a book. I enjoyed every second of it and I’m already very excited for Godsgrave, but apparently it has a cliffhanger 😭😭😭. I recommend this book to everyone who loves stories about assassins and their training, an awesome cast of morally grey characters, alongwith a huge dose of blood and gore. My only caution is that if you want to preserve your sanity, don’t get attached to the characters, because you never know who will break your heart.