Book Review

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff


Having loved the first two instalments of Jay Kristoff’s absolutely outstanding Nevernight Chronicles which began with Nevernight and continued in Godsgrave, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Darkdawn.  This has been a brilliant trilogy, and I’ve loved every single page.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run.

After the greatest games in Godsgrave’s history ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic, Mia finds herself 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.

As the third novel in the trilogy, you really do need to read both Nevernight and Godsgrave before tackling this novel.  It begins where Godsgrave ended, and while I don’t want to go into the plot at all, it very quickly becomes apparent that Mia’s problems are far from over.  Suffice to say that if you’ve enjoyed the previous novels then you will love seeing how Mia’s story concludes, and this novel wraps up all of those unanswered questions from the earlier novels, resulting in a deeply satisfying and highly entertaining read.

Throughout the series, Mia has been a fantastic character and she has become one of my favourite anti-heroes.  Driven by a need for vengeance, she is extremely determined and won’t let anything, or anyone, stand in her way.  Darkdawn sees Mia end up in some tough situations as she seeks revenge on the Red Church all while dragging a reluctant nine-year-old boy around who seems likely to betray her at the first chance he gets.  I’ve loved seeing this character grow over the course of the series, and while her path hasn’t been easy, it has been highly entertaining.  Darkdawn sees Mia and friends come up against angry goddesses, pirates, and assassins and the pace never lets up.  There are plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments as you wonder how Mia is going to get out of her latest predicament, and you can only sit back, turning the pages as quickly as possible to see what comes next.

Stylistically, the novel is, unsurprisingly, very similar to the previous novels, containing humorous and informative footnotes.  Throughout the series, I have loved Kristoff’s sense of humour which comes through in these asides, and while the sense of self-awareness may not be to everyone’s taste, I enjoyed the fact that Kristoff doesn’t take himself too seriously, and pokes fun at himself throughout the text, particularly in relation to authors using footnotes in abundance.

Darkdawn is the stunning conclusion to what has been one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.  I can’t recommend it enough, gentlefriend.  Darkdawn was published by Harper Voyager in September, and is available now in hardback and digital formats.

%d bloggers like this: