Written by Jay Kristoff
Published by Thomas Dunne Books, September 5th, 2017
My star rating: 4.5
Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.
When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. 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 within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world. Find it on Goodreads
I’m officially in love with Jay Kristoff…… wait does that sound creepy with some stalker tendencies? Let me rephrase – I’m officially in love with Jay Kristof’s writing, humour and graphic content (both bloody and otherwise). I’m going to try to piece together a proper review but after reading the last 50% of this book in one sitting last night, my brain is having problems!!! If you liked Nevernight, this one will not disappoint!
First of all, this book starts off with a recap of Nevernight!!! WHAT!? There are a few pages that list the characters in book one and go over their events and role in the story. I didn’t need this as I just finished Nevernight a couple of weeks ago, but I read it and enjoyed the hell out of it! This was such a genius move and I hope other authors take note of this!
Get ready for a change of scenery. With Mia being done with her “schooling”, we leave the Red Church as she begins her life as a full Blade. As with Nevernight, the book starts out with the current time line in regular font, and the past events in italics. Later on, the two paths merge and we just have the current timeline to follow as she sells herself to the gladiatorial collegium. No not a spoiler (as it’s mentioned in the synopsis) and yes, that essentially means that she sold herself to become a gladiator. Seriously, that happened! I mean, as if being a Blade wasn’t bad ass enough she now needs to become a gladiator?! But with Mia Corvere, everything has its purpose, and that purpose is vengeance.
Even though Mia is in a new environment, we still see quite a few of the characters that we met in book one. Each of those characters were just as sneaky and vicious as ever! Even more so actually. Everyone had their own job to do and their own asses to cover, so you spend your entire time wondering if you can really trust them and what their end game was. When Mia sold herself off to the gladiatorial collegium we met an entirely new cast of characters. As much as I wanted to, I just didn’t connect with them as much as I hoped to. Most of them I just had this feeling of “meh, whatever” as far as their story line and lives were concerned. These people that she was with were all so secretive. Their lives before this didn’t matter. All that mattered was winning for their Domina, so we didn’t get into each of their lives so that I could feel that connection. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy them – because I did – I just didn’t have an immediate love/hate relationship like I did with the characters in book one.
Mr Kindly and Eclipse = hilarious!! They are the two shadow creatures that follow Mia and they hate each other. They never agreed with each other (ok, maybe once) and they were constantly bickering back and forth. They sounded like a couple that had broken up and were now stuck together in a locked room. The fact that Mia is a Darkin was still never explained though!! These shadow creatures followed her, eating her fear, and she learned to use the shadows to her advantage more, but there’s still no explaining. In fact, there were even more questions being added to this mystery. I’m not mad about it but I would love to know what’s happening!
The action in this series is just so well written! And this one involves a little more to the political plot and lends us more information on those that are responsible for Mia’s fathers death. You think you know…… but you don’t. Mia thought she knew too. The ending – OMG THE ENDING!!!!!! I swear it slayed me and I finished the last 50 pages with my mouth wide open. Why are you doing this to me Mister Kristoff!?!?
If you’re looking for an adult fantasy novel with graphic killing and sex scenes, hilarious one liners, and an author that isn’t afraid to make his characters suffer…… READ THIS!!!!!!!!! Well, read Nevernight first, and then read this. Order is important.
Until next time, happy reading!