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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Harper Voyager
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 0 00818006 5
Publication Date: 28 June 2018

Mia Corvere is no longer the young aristocratic woman she used to be. Having watched her father being murdered, during an unsuccessful coup against the corrupt rule of Julius Scarva and Francesco Duomo, she has trained to become an assassin, all the while dreaming of her revenge...

Godsgrave (2017. 419 pages) is the second book in The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy, written by Jay Kristoff. Originally published as a hardback, the novel now sees the light of day as a paperback edition.

Both in content and structure the second novel is very similar to the first book, Nevernight. The world of the novel is not the usual faux medieval Earth which is normally the backdrop for fantasy books, for a start it has three suns. This trio is not just placed in the book to provide flavour; it has a direct impact on how the heroine, Mia, is able to function.

Mia is a darkling, a human who is able to manipulate shadows. She is able to travel through walls by slipping in and out of shadows and she has two shadow familiars: Mister Kindly, who appear in the form of a cat, and Eclipse, who resembles a wolf. These two can be sent off scouting, but mostly they spend their time around Mia, bickering and offering sarcastic advice.

One can instantly see that having a planet with three suns messes up the creation of shadows and places a limitation on Mia’s more mystical abilities. Although her familiar’s are referred to as daemons, there is not the traditional subtext of a war between deity controlled heroes, so both their demeanour and the known mythos does not actually denote these creatures as evil. If anything Kristoff has created a world not dissimilar to that of Peter F. Hamilton’s Void series, where potentially magic occurrences do not rely on gods, devils or mages.

Mia has changed considerably since the first novel and while that concentrated on her travails in becoming a Blade assassin, this book opens up with her fully engaged in her new employment.

Kristoff once again uses the split time structure to present part of the novel in Mia’s here and now, while unpeeling the present by visiting the past. This worked better than the first novel. Likewise we are back with the foot notes. These pieces of extraneous information are often witty, oft times illuminating, but still best when kept short. Some of these are quite lengthy and pull you right out of the plot as you skip back and forth between the main text and the supplementary material.

In the current novel Mia has her eye on the main prize, the murder of the two men she blames for her father’s death. Along the way she discovers that her father’s assassination was not as clear cut as she had believed. She also finds that some friends are actually enemies and one-time enemies may well be better friends.

I did quite like the second book. The Romanesque culture set against a renaissance world does allow the book to stand apart from most mainstream fantasy novels. Mia is an engaging heroine and the story barrels ahead at a cracking pace. The overall tone is light and the book will not fail to amuse, some of the jokes were even genuinely funny.


Charles Packer

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