Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Never flinch. Never fear. Never forget.
A big thank you to the publishers, HarperVoyager, for sending us both ARC’s of Nevernight! 

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Nevernight tells the story of Mia, a young girl from a noble family who is seeking revenge for the death of her parents, who were seen as traitors to the state. Mia’s ambitions lead her to the Red Church, a secret guild of assassins, to train. However, Mia has an edge – not only can she fight, sneak, steal, manipulate and kill, but she is Darkin – she can control the shadows around her and bend them to her will. Her shadow-cat companion, Mister Kindly, ensures that she will never feel her fear. 
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Well, where can I start with this book? Nevernight absolutely blew me away. This is the badass high fantasy that I’ve been craving for so long. So, with high fantasy books, I have a list of necessities that all need to be included to make the story work for me: 
First off, I sometimes find with books of this genre that the political intrigue and action can be balanced incorrectly – in my opinion, you need both to make this sort of story work. Too much action will mean you won’t care about the characters and the world so much, but too much politics will become boring. Nevernight has the absolute perfect balance between these two aspects, and that’s one of the things that made me love it. 
Second, the characters. High fantasies are deep books, so we need deep characters to match that. Mia fits the bill perfectly here – she has secrets, she has a backstory, and she is mysterious. Even after finishing the book I still don’t feel like I know her – she’s still hiding things from me, and frankly, I need to know what they are, so despite Nevernight not even being released til August, I already need its sequel (this, I have discovered, is the one problem with ARCs). 
As well as Mia being perfect, the secondary characters are all top notch. Tric, Naev, Ashlinn, Mercurio, Jessamine… and I loved Mister Kindly, Mia’s shadow passenger. One of my first bookish cross stitches was a quote from Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Quest – “the word of a cat is not to be relied upon”, and I’m telling you now, I don’t trust this cat as far as I can throw him (and since he’s made of shadows, I doubt I can throw him at all). 
Anyway.
The third ingredient in the perfect recipe for a high fantasy book is the fantasy world and the world-building. I would live in the world that Nevernight is set in if I could – Itreya is completely inspired by everything Venetian, and the government is reminiscent of the ancient Roman Republic (actually, I wouldn’t be keen on living under that rule, but if I could just live in the world without it’s government, that’d be perfect). Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a complete history geek, and anything to do with ancient Rome/Italy is just about my favourite topic. This world was everything that the world of The Young Elites tried to be, but didn’t live up to. 
Finally, and probably most importantly, the plot. I suppose this kind of brings my other points together, but Nevernight has a beautifully flowing plot, with just the right amount of action, political intrigue, character development and world building all together. The flashbacks throughout were absolutely perfect, and helped me to begin to unravel the mystery that is Mia as more and more of her past was revealed. Everything about this book was just so unique, and I already want to re-read it – I genuinely have never read anything like it before. 
My one tiny criticism is that the footnotes just weren’t for me. I thought the beginning of the book especially was quite footnote heavy, and I think this is definitely just a personal preference, but stopping every now and then to read a footnote really distracted me from keeping myself absorbed in the plot. Like I say though, that’s just my opinion, and a lot of them were very helpful when a place or event was mentioned that hadn’t been explained in the book so far. 
One last comment on this book – I’ve seen a lot of people on Goodreads marking it as young adult. This book is not young adult. The majority of it is suitable for a YA audience, but there are certain more adult scenes in it that might not be appropriate for younger teens, or YA readers who aren’t comfortable with reading very detailed adult scenes. This obviously wasn’t a problem for me at all, but after seeing the issues when some younger kids thought that they’d love reading A Court of Mist and Fury as it was viewed as a YA book, I thought it was worth pointing out!
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Nevernight is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year so far, and I’d thoroughly recommend that any fantasy lover reads it. It’s released on the 11th August in the UK and the 9th August in the US!

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

• this review will be spoiler-free •

from the blurb:
Feyre is immortal. After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. 

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her girls and decide her fate. 

“I wonder if some part of me knew what was waiting for me. That I would never be a gentle grower of things, or someone who burned like fire – but that I would be quiet and enduring and as faceted as the night. That I would have beauty, for those who knew where to look, and if people didn’t bother to look, but only to fear it… Then I didn’t particularly care for them, anyway. I wonder if, even in my despair and hopelessness, I was never truly alone. I wonder if I was looking for this place – looking for you all.”


I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses. In fact, I was so desperate for it that when the copy I’d ordered didn’t arrive on time, I went straight to town and bought a new copy (which happened to be a signed copy, so for once, I won’t begrudge my impatience!) 
This book as a whole was a strong, addictive piece of writing – something that I’ve come to expect from Sarah J Maas. When it was announced that this would be a reselling of the story of Hades and Persephone, I think a lot of fans worked out what (or who) that meant that this book would feature a lot of. ACOMAF explores some new areas of Prythian as well as expanding on old characters and introducing new ones – almost all of whom I loved, especially Mor. As with ACOTAR, the majority of the action was definitely in the last third of the book, and once again this irritated me slightly but has also left me anticipating the final book in the series. Looking back, this middle section definitely had a lot of important character and relationship building parts, and I’m so glad that they were included. 
ACOMAF also deals with a lot of important issues, mostly related to what is right and wrong within a relationship, and the importance of equality. 
I was blown away by this book, and had no choice but to give it 5/5 stars! 
Is anyone else reading A Court of Mist and Fury at the moment? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

– Becky x 

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas


“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

A Court of Thorns and Roses is Sarah J. Maas’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The story follows Feyre, a young girl who is forced to hunt in order to keep her father and sisters alive. However, when Feyre kills a wolf that turns out to be a faerie, she is taken across the wall that divides the mortal lands and faerie lands to pay for her crime by spending the rest of her life in the Spring Court of Prythian, where she will face trials that she could never have anticipated.


Angharad:
Oh wow, this book was a roller coaster of a ride.

I almost put the book down after 100 pages. It just did not hook me in any way and I found the huge information dumps about the fae world to just be monotonous. Although in its defence, I have never been a huge fan of fairy tales/stories. I was originally going to give this book 1 star but the last 100 pages saved it, in my opinion.


Before the last few pages, I was reading purely for the sake of reading. I found Feyre’s time in the Court to be so uneventful that I nearly tore my hair out. Painting, eating, hunting, painting, eating, hunting and on and on and on. The occasional event happened but other than that, it was extremely boring.

On to the romance side of things. The relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, in my opinion, was quite problematic (the whole bite thing. Her fault apparently??) but other than that, it was… there. They were basically like horny teenagers. The three characters I enjoyed the most were the side characters – Lucien, Rhysand and Nesta. 

Basically, to cut a long story short, as soon as the trials began, so did the story. It’s such a shame that we had to wait until the end of the book for that. I’ll be in no rush to get the sequel.



Becky:

Well. What can I say about A Court of Thorns and Roses?
I LOVED THIS BOOK.


I haven’t found a fantasy novel that I literally couldn’t put down in a very long time (probably since I read Throne of Glass, to be honest) so I was so happy when I was immediately sucked into Feyre’s story. 


I thought that Maas adapted the classic story of Beauty and the Beast enough so that it didn’t feel as though you knew exactly what was going to happen whilst reading, but at the same time the inspiration for the book still very much shone through. A Court of Thorns and Roses really is a fairytale through and through – from the events leading up to Feyre’s actions and the consequences of it, the way that the love story develops, the folklore elements, to the three trials at the end of the book. As always with Sarah J. Maas’s books, it was written beautifully and I thought that the world building was perfect – I really could imagine what both the locations and characters looked like whilst reading. 

As for the characters, I loved Feyre from the beginning. The Hunger Games (as it did for many others, I imagine) ignited in me a love for girls who are good archers, and Feyre’s passion for art touched a soft spot too. As well as this, I loved that she had shouldered the task of keeping her family alive, despite being the youngest and not really being noticed or appreciated for all that she did for them. Her strength and bravery carries on throughout the book, when she willingly goes with Tamlin to Prythian in order to protect her family yet again, and when facing the three trials. 

On to Tamlin – of course, I hated him to begin with, but as his and Feyre’s romance developed, he grew on me more. However, Rhysand is the faerie that truly has a place in my heart after reading this book. 
I really enjoyed most of the other side characters as well, especially Lucien and Nesta (her development was perfect!) and Amarantha was an amazing antagonist. 

I did feel like this would have worked really well as a standalone book, but at the same time I am so glad that it isn’t and I can’t wait for the sequel!

I’d definitely recommend A Court of Thorns and Roses to all fantasy and fairytale lovers, and definitely to people who’ve loved the Throne of Glass series so far!



Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!