This review is written with thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for my copy of Nevernight.
Mia Corvere is just ten years old when she witnesses her father's death and the imprisonment of her mother and brother. Several years later, she enrols in the school of the Red Church: a school where she will be taught the skills she needs to avenge her father's death, but she must prove herself against pupils who are just as determined and deadly as she is. Using the motto her father instilled in her - never flinch, never fear, never forget - can she gain the ultimate revenge?
Before I started reading Nevernight, I looked at the Goodreads page for the novel, and the reviews suggested a "Marmite" response. Although my own response was more balanced, it is easy for me to see why. I don't often read fantasy, as I find it easier to connect with a plot set in an environment with which I am familiar, and Nevernight vindicated my prejudice. Kristoff takes his time to describe the world he creates, and whilst the majority of the language he uses is beautiful, the process is often very laborious, and this caused me to lose interest. He also uses footnotes. As these are often seen in textbooks, I assumed the footnotes to be an attempt to add authenticity to the setting. However - I'll be honest - I ignored most of these, particularly the longer ones, as they made the novel feel unnecessarily heavy.
However, as Nevernight progresses and Mia enters the school of the Red Church, I became engaged in the novel more easily. The challenges that the pupils are set gave the plot an extra edge, and the sense of danger in them heightened my interest in their outcome. It is also at the school that we meet most of the central characters, and these characters all have some qualities to which I can relate, and as such, I found it easier to connect emotionally to the book as it developed.
Overall, I found the premise of Nevernight and the world in which it is set to be original and interesting. However, at times, particularly in the beginning, I found that the plot moved too slowly and was not as engaging as I would have liked.
Nevernight is published on 11th August and is available from Amazon.