A review: Darkdawn – Jay Kristoff

Well well well, I finally did, I finished the set (rare thing really, I’m notorious for not finishing book series’), I finished The Nevernight Chronicles and ‘byss and blood, I’m in love.
I was lucky enough to receive Nevernight – what feels like yonks again – in a book box and instantly fell in love with Mia Corvere, and the world that Jay Kristoff has created. 

39281503._SY475_“The greatest games in Godsgrave’’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?”

What can I say? Mia Corvere is the black hearted bitch of my soul. She’s not a hero, she’s in it for herself and makes no apologies and I just adore her for it. Throughout this series she’s been unapologetically selfish and it’s so refreshing to see, well, read. For the duration of this book we see Mia struggle with her emotions and with her task set upon her, we see her build her own familia and love with her whole heart. Honestly, the character development warms my icy cold depths – not just for Mia, but for Ashlinn and others (I am truly trying to make this as spoiler-free as possible!).

The three books of the Nevernight Chronicle, are in fact chronicles of Mia – Nevernight; her birth, Godsgrave; her journey, and this book, Darkdawn; her death. We’re told that from the very beginning of Nevernight. And it’s so incredible to witness her progression. Whilst personally I enjoyed the last book for what it, I wasn’t the biggest fan in the direction the plot took – it didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment because I was just so invested in Mia’s journey and the grand finale that I was able to overlook the parts that I didn’t particularly enjoy.
This is for me, one of my favourite character journey’s to date, and I will always hold a special place in my heart for Mia Corvere. 

The world of Godsgrave and Itreya on the whole has been built so intricately over the last two books that it feels like falling back to a place I’ve visited multiple times. The towering Ribs of gravebone creating just an intimidating image as the first time we read about it. I love how immersed Kristoff manages to get me – I feel like I’m there even though this world is quite fantastical. The shadows lurking, figuratively and literally around every corner.
One of the smartest introductions to the world was the Dramatis Personae at the beginning of the book helping to bring us all together for the explosive ending. It reintroduces us to the characters and where we left them in Godsgrave and I am so thankful that it was there! I have a knack for leaving large gaps between reading books in a series and always always always forget what happens within those time periods. 

“This is who I am. I’m not a hero. I’m a vengeful, selfish bitch. And I’ve never pretended otherwise. If you wanted a saviour, perhaps you should’ve picked a girl who believes this world is worth saving.”

This book definitely subverted any expectation I may have had going into it – whilst I knew this was a definitive ending, I didn’t know how we would get there and trust me when I say, I did not see this one coming that’s for sure. It is, in my humble opinion, as one of many blogs on the internet, is that the ending is divisive and I honestly don’t know what side of the fence I sit on about it.
Up until the last 50 pages I was on board – it wasn’t what I expected for sure, and I enjoyed it for the majority I just don’t know if the ending was what I wanted. Yes, this is a fantasy novel, therefore there are no real limits on what can happen – yet somehow my suspension of disbelief still waned. Whilst the book is very nuanced in it’s play on itself and exposing it’s own problems – one of my favourite parts personally – I think it almost played itself with the ending.
Yes, it wasn’t what I expected, great, I love having to keep guessing until the end. But I also wish what I expected did happen, as for me, it would’ve rounded off Mia’s journey more organically. 

Overall, this book, and especially the series as whole, felt like it was written just for me. It contained so many tropes and characters that I would look for when starting a book. The writing felt personable and fresh whilst set in a time a tad more classic – I can understand that it perhaps a tad too sweary for some readers, that’s all down to personal preference but, I actually really enjoyed that! It made me far more relatable to me.
Maybe that’s just a eye-opener on my speech patterns, oops. 

I love this book series, and whilst Darkdawn wasn’t the ending I envisaged, and wasn’t to my preference, I still vastly enjoyed this book overall. I will always recommend my vengeful little crow to all my friends! 

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