Book reviews

Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff

Release date: 5 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ – 10/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) blurb:

A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

I was fortunate enough to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book, and let me tell you now, it did not disappoint.

The story picks up about eight months after the end of Nevernight, where we find that Mia has been sold into slavery for a long, convoluted plan that involves much more luck than any kind of skill in order to achieve its end goal.  Kristoff excels in plot twists for this, and you can expect to be hanging off the edge of your seat as you get further into this book, with a conclusion that will just blow your mind.  Trust me, this review has taken me nearly three weeks to write because I’m still reeling from it.  Forget everything I said before about Victoria Aveyard and Leigh Bardugo being masters of plot twists. Kristoff is the new king (Bardugo remains Queen though…).

I love the characters in this series.  If Karou (of Daughter of Smoke and Bone) is my spirit animal, then Mia is who I want to be if I end up in a fantasy world – any fantasy world.  Mia is the girl you would hire to take out Arya Stark, Katniss Everdeen and Feyre.  Hell, she’d probably give Aelin Galathynius a run for her money.  Despite excesses of pressure from the Red Church, Mia continues to be true to herself and what she believes in.  Call it stubbornness if you will, but I think it adds to her badass-ery.  In terms of growth, I think that Mia becomes more patient, more forgiving, and more compassionate.  Not necessarily traits that will keep an assassin alive, but they absolutely give her a greater depth.

Ashlinn, Mercurio and several others return in the sequel, plus we add a number of new characters – all who make their own mark or impression on Mia, sometimes leaving a scar.  Of those, Sidonius and Wavewaker were my favourite; however, let’s have a little chat about Furian… So, because I’m an idiot and couldn’t remember that Jonnen was eight years younger than Mia, I had a vague notion for the first half of this book that Furian and Jonnen might be one and the same.  Let me tell you now, I have never (with the exception of Jon and Dany) wanted two people to be related and simultaneously wanted them to sleep together before.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not into incest (I feel like I need to clarify that), but the way this was written made me absolutely cheer them into a bedroom, while wondering (again, idiot) if they were related.

Also, Mister Kindly and Eclipse are hilarious.  I just needed to state the obvious and point this out.  In its own paragraph no less.

So I absolutely need to give kudos where they are due.  Jay Kristoff can write.  I mean, obviously, he’s a writer, but considering the number of books I have DNF’ed this month (even with other circumstances), this book is a freaking masterpiece.  The writing is captivating, descriptive, exciting and everything else that keeps you hanging on reading well past your bedtime.  The only thing that I (love) hated was the ginormous cliffhanger at the end of the book, but only because it felt mean.  Godsgrave isn’t even out yet and you’re asking me to wait until as yet unnamed book is released to find out what happens next?  I may just die of anticipation in the interim.

Now, I know that I said the footnotes weren’t as good as Pratchett’s in my review of Nevernight; however, they definitely have their own voice.  While it is possible to read the book without reading them, they add another level of awesomeness in the voice of the narrator, and they are equally descriptive and amusing.  Also they add that extra level of world-building if you like that kind of thing.  And if you don’t like that kind of thing, then why are you reading fantasy???

In summary, this was one of my two most anticipated reads of 2017, and it delivered in spades.  Thanks again to Jay Kristoff for hosting a giveaway for the Godsgrave ARCs, and also just for being a badass author who writes awesome books.