Conquer your fear, conquer the world
SYNOPSIS: Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.
Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.
When it is announced that Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.
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, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.
About the Book
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
Series The Nevernight Chronicle #2
Format: Hardcover, 421 pages
Publisher Harper Voyager; Signed edition, Sprayed edges
Publication September 7, 2017
Status Read from November 18 – November 26, 2017
Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave, the second book in the Nevernight Chronicles, is not an easy book to review.
This isn’t because the book isn’t outstanding – it is. You should buy it. Right now.
It also isn’t because I can’t decide how I feel about the book. I loved it, and I can’t wait for the third book to be released so I can dive back into the world of Mia Corvere and her quest to avenge her family’s deaths.
No, the greatest challenge in reviewing Godsgrave is trying to talk about this book without giving spoilers away.
If Mr. Kindly were whispering in my ear, he would tell me to go ahead, to risk the ire of the unwashed masses who haven’t yet demonstrated the wisdom to purchase and read this book. He would encourage me to discuss Mia’s surprising new love interest, the multiple plot twists, and that ending, which once again turns the series on its head.
Fortunately, there is no shadow not-a-cat whispering in my ear, and I shall do my best to describe this book without giving anything away.
In Godsgrave, Kristoff takes Mia’s story outside the walls of the Red Church and into the wide world beyond. As the book begins, Mia is a full-fledged assassin now, but clearly still has enemies among her peers. It doesn’t take long, however, for Kristoff to take the story in new directions, with fresh revelations that make it clear that Mia has a long way to go – and many more bodies to pile up – before she avenges her family.
To be honest, Mia’s new surroundings aren’t as interesting as the assassin’s school, but Kristoff keeps things moving throughout, primarily by providing fresh revelations regarding the political waters Mia is just beginning to wade into, and by taking Mia in different directions than Nevernight ever did. Unsurprisingly, the scenes in the gladiatorial arena are fast-paced and violent. In each battle, Kristoff makes certain to add an interesting twist, so we never see a simple one-on-one battle or anything that Russell Crowe would have faced in a Ridley Scott movie.
Just as Kristoff maintains the breakneck plot pacing from Nevernight, Mia remains a strong female voice. Hardened by the events of her early life and determined to unleash hell upon her enemies, Mia also shows extended moments of vulnerability, giving hint to the fact that while she talks a big game, she isn’t the merciless killing machine that she feels she has to be to succeed in her mission.
Although Nevernight included scenes from Mia’s early childhood, she actually shows softer edges in Godsgrave, from her new romantic relationship to her bubbling doubts about her decisions. Even as Kristoff ratchets up the tension and takes the plot in a direction that shows that Mia has far more enemies than she ever imagined, Mia herself becomes more human. The murderers veneer has begun to fade, and more often the reader is reminded that Mia is just a teenage girl, attempting to take on forces far beyond her years, if not her experience.
While I remain committed to my pledge not to spoil the events of this book for prospective readers, I can say that Kristoff has set things headed toward what surely will be an intriguing finale. Even with the final word of Godsgrave, Kristoff continued to pack the plot of with twists, secrets, and betrayals. After spending almost the entirety of the first book inside the Red Church, Kristoff has finally loosened the reins and moved Mia closer toward her goal. The writing and plotting both seem tighter and better focused, lending technical improvements to a story that already was captivating thanks to the sheer strength of its protagonist.
As the series moves toward it climax, it promises to be a hell of a ride.