Why I DNF-ed Nevernight by Jay Kristoff [ARC]

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Alternative cover

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?’ Goodreads

I had ginormous expectations of Nevernight because of Kristoff’s description/review on Goodreads, the glorious cover, and the fact that it’s a high fantasy book about assassins. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it. 

Nevernight is strange; it has footnotes.  Sadly for me, this was a major pitfall. As great as the narrative voice was (it was funny), it was super distracting to keep flicking my eyes down at the footnotes to read the narrator’s descriptions and general comments. Some footnotes were ridiculously long, so it felt like the author was trying to compensate for missing information by throwing it into the footnotes.

The story was bombarded with unnecessary and confusing metaphors that pulled the focus off what was going on and onto the writing style. It was kind of like the author was saying, “Hey don’t focus on the story, look at the fancy descriptions I’m using instead.” The entire point of reading fantasy is to lose yourself in the author’s constructed world (okay, that’s arguably the point of all fiction), but how am I supposed to fall into the story if I keep thinking about the long-winded metaphors?

As a result of all of these ‘quirks’, I kept getting pulled out of the story; found myself getting lost a lot, and I kept forgetting what was going on because of how often I was losing track of what I was reading. And that’s why I decided I couldn’t carry on with this book. Maybe I’m just crap at remembering things (this is true ), or maybe it’s just the book (it’s the book).

Anyway, I read to page 148 before giving up, then I tried again and got to page 200 and decided it’s definitely not for me. I might have enjoyed Nevernight more if I could stay glued to it as the plot itself was cool, but the writing style and footnotes were too awkward. I had a little chat about the footnotes with some bloggers and we were divided about how we felt.

So, the footnotes and general writing style might be the cherry on top for some readers, but they’re not my thing.

I was sent an ARC copy of Nevernight by the publisher for an honest review.
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