Book Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

4/5 stars

Hello. I feel like someone just hit me in the face with something heavy. Like a tank. I have so many questions! There are so many things I need to know! Just… WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK, PLEASE? That ending was insane. Literally everything happened in it. I’m just sitting here wanting to scream questions into the abyss.

Godsgrave is the second book in the Nevernight Chronicle, following Mia Corvere, a badass assassin on a revenge quest. In the first book, we saw her go to assassin school and do everything in her power to cross off everyone on her hit list. In this book, she goes to gladiator school and does everything in her power to cross off everyone on her hit list. If you’re new to this series, check out my review of the first book here, because, no, I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Despite its slower middle, Godsgrave is a worthy follow up to the very entertaining Nevernight. I loved being back with Mia, I found the new setting was interesting, the plot surprised me with twists and turns, I was on board with the snarky footnotes, and we’ve already established that the ending was fifty-eight different kinds of epic. However, I did feel that the plot dragged in the middle, and there are still elements of the writing style that I really don’t like.

Mia is back and badass as ever. (I’m the person silently mouthing yaaaaaas queen every time she commits mass murder.) I am here for her as a protagonist, and I love how she’s getting darker and more stabby without making the series veer away from what I know it is at its heart, which is a fantasy action movie in the vein of John Wick. She’s obviously a very serious, murdery assassin, but she’s still got these shreds of humanity, and I’m seriously not sure if I’m rooting for her to become a bit of a morally grey hero or for her to just become an all-out soulless killer. Either one works, to be honest.

Writing-wise, I still feel the prose can be very purple, and I’m still not sure if it slowly goes away or if I slowly develop Stockholm syndrome as I read it, but thems the facts. I still like our sarcastic narrator and his excellent black comedy, and I can report that it is much easier to read footnotes in a physical book than in an ebook. (PSA: Don’t read this book as an ebook. Please don’t. The whole footnotes thing will drive you insane.

I was perfectly fine with the new setting. To be honest, I really hope that this series isn’t just Mia Goes to *insert name of profession here* School done over and over, but there were enough differences between Gladiator Academy and Assassin University (132% their real names) that the book didn’t just feel like a retread of the first one. The occasional fight to the death to entertain the masses provided shots of action to the second act, although I did feel like once those were over, there was a certain forward momentum lacking from the plot.

However, once the third act got going, it got going. All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that Jay Kristoff writes AWESOME third acts. (Okay, I’m just basing this off the fact that I loved Nevernight’s third act as well, but that basically means this argument is peer-reviewed.) Once shit starts going down, shit starts going down. Literally everything that can go wrong will go wrong, ten thousand different things will be revealed, and I did call some of those, but there are so many revelations and they’re all wrapped up in so much showstopping action that it doesn’t matter if you had an inkling about one or two.

(Speaking of showstopping action, I think these books would be awesome as a TV series or something. There’s just something very visual about the way Jay Kristoff writes these for me.)



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