- Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2).
- Jay Kristoff.
- 453 pages.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.
Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.
When it’s announced that Scaeva 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 him. 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 love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
You know me by now gentlefriends (if you haven’t read Nevernight it’s a term used in the book and I’m not being weird) and as such you all know that I’m not big on spoilers or on regaling you with the events that transpire within the pages of a book. After all, it’s the author who is the teller of tales and not me, I am simply a purveyor of my own views. It’s hard to recap the story that takes place in the second book in either a trilogy or a series as you find that no matter how vague you are in recapping said story and events you will inevitably spoil what happened in the first book as obviously, it has ramifications in the sequel! – And, of course, there’s bound to be someone who picks up the second book without reading the first as the world is full of crazy fools!😉
Suffice to say that Mia Corvere is still on her quest for vengeance and revenge against those who killed her family (Julius Scaeva the Consul of the Itreyan Senate and Francesco Duomo the Grand Cardinal of the Church of the Light) first started in the previous book of The Nevernight Chronicle, Nevernight.
At the culmination of the biggest gladiatorial contest in Godsgrave, the Collegium champion who wins the Venatus Magni of the Godsgrave games will receive their freedom at the hands of an unprotected Scaeva and Duomo in a reenactment of a historical Itreyan event. Mia’s plan is simple, get herself sold to a collegium and then win, not for honour, not for freedom but for vengeance, for her revenge!
There’s plenty of twists, turns, betrayals, revelations and surprises along the way for Mia as she attempts to make it to the Godsgrave games that all make for a thrilling story. I’ll also add that you are in for a treat with the battles that take place during the various games throughout the book, these contain some awesome and visceral action packed scenes.👌
Nevernight started with one of the best opening lines in any book and set the tone for what was to follow, I mean, it was talking about the stink of shit and you couldn’t help but smile and at the same time think ‘damn, now this is going to be good‘. Godsgrave starts in similar fashion with another bang on opening line and paragraph by Kristoff depicting the stench of corpses, now that’s a sweet start or should that be ripe!😉
I remember on occasion having an issue with the pacing in Nevernight finding it to drag in places. Luckily, I found no such issues in Godsgrave finding the pace to be near perfect for the story being told by Kristoff as he constantly pushes it forward building to the books exhilarating climax – sniggers, not a conclusion but climax, it’s one of those childish days!😂 Godsgrave is split into three books, the first book features two timelines, the present with Mia and then one in the past that starts four months previously also with Mia. The timeline in the past ends at the starting point of the present timeline and shows us what has transpired in the duration in-between and how Mia comes to find herself in her current crazy predicament. After the timelines converge the following two books both then take place in the present.
Sometimes with the second book in a trilogy, you don’t get much added to the story and you find that the book is predominantly used as filler, as padding and as a buffer between the first and third books. Not so with Godsgrave as believe me, plenty happens, there’s definitely no middle book lull to be found as Mia’s story bounds forward with reckless abandon (her plan to enact her revenge is crazy but oh so fun – well, for us readers) and blood thirsty aplomb.
Mia is a darkin (I’d like to know more about what a darkin actually is and learn their origin as it is still a mystery with more questions than answers but so would Mia and well, we’ll both just have to wait until the third book is released to find out) and has two shadow daemons, the shadowcat Mr Kindly and Eclipse the shadowwolf. They don’t get along, it’s that age old battle of dog vs cat and the argumentative banter and snide comments between the two are always a pleasure to read and for me, one of the standouts of the book (yes, I have a soft spot for animal companions in literature even shadow ones). I really like Mia as a main character she’s tenacious, complex and more importantly engaging to the reader.
Godsgrave is Mia’s book, The Nevernight Chronicle is the story about her gaining her revenge. While Mia is the focus there is also a cast of secondary characters that deserve mention in this review too. Some from Nevernight return and there’s plenty of new faces too and they all add so much more to the story, really taking the book to the next level.
The footnotes used in the book are on the whole a stellar touch utilised extremely well by Kristoff to give additional background, history and lore to the story and the world that he has created and it is a fascinating world. They are written with a sarcastic flair and occasionally seem like observational musings making them thoroughly entertaining and fun to read (you will often find yourself unwittingly smirking at them).
I’m a big fan of the world (Itreyan Republic) that Kristoff has created, you can see where he has taken his influences from (ancient Roman culture) and it’s fully realised with his own touch added to the fantastical world. I liked the settings in Nevernight but for the story to move forward you need to move with it and this time around we are treated to some new locations that all add to the story.
Kristoff has a very colourful way with words, in other words, gentlefriends he likes swearing! As a foul mouth (though I only dabble) myself, I offer him the highest of high fives for using both the terms ‘cunt‘ and ‘cunny‘ in his writing.✋ And, of course, that foul mouth staple, the word ‘fuck‘ is used none too sparingly but hey, who doesn’t like a good fuck!😉 I really like Kristoff’s style, often he is verbose and he doesn’t use his words sparingly but it’s engaging, pulls you in, poetic, at times mesmerising and he uses those words to maximum effect. He’s a fine storyteller and incorporates emotion, action (he’s a dab hand at action scenes and there are plenty of top quality ones included) and humour into the pages of Godsgrave.
I really feel that Kristoff with Godsgrave has managed to improve on every aspect of Nevernight and due to this, he has taken Godsgrave to the next level creating a sublime sequel that easily surpasses the first book in terms of well, everything! Apart from a couple of slight niggles, as I mentioned earlier, I still want to know more about the origins of the darkin and I’ll also add, that there are a couple of rather elaborate and lengthy sex scenes included. I’m not a fan of romance/smut books and I didn’t enjoy the pages of copulation (sorry to be a prude). Other than that, I can’t fault the book, Godsgrave really does leave you wanting more and that ending! Damn you, Kristoff! Next book please as I need to know what happens next and how this ends!
If you haven’t yet read Nevernight then I recommend that you give it a go as even with the issues that I personally had there is a lot to like about it. Now, if you’ve already read Nevernight then simply put you need to read Godsgrave!
Oftentimes Godsgrave isn’t nuanced or subtle, it’s bold, brash, loud and what I’d call ‘in your face‘ fantasy. It’s a book that is chock-full of ‘holy shit‘ moments and it’s fucking enjoyable for it!
Or if you prefer the clean and child-friendly highly quote-worthy version:
Oftentimes Godsgrave isn’t nuanced or subtle, it’s bold, brash, loud and what I’d call ‘in your face‘ fantasy. It’s a book that is chock-full of ‘oh my God‘ moments and it’s tremendously enjoyable for it!
Pre-Order Godsgrave (September 5th US & September 7th UK).
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