Cover Image: Godsgrave

Godsgrave

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Woooowwww. I’m still reeling from this. So about a year ago, I read Nevernight, the first installment of the series and I thought it was a bloody, murderous book. Here, Kristoff ups the game with even more brutality, which I didn’t even think was possible. I’m slightly stunned, but I think in a good way.

Mia is now a full-fledged assassin of the Red Church, and she’s ready to kill some people. Specifically, Counsul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, the two bastards who took her family away from her. But the Church won’t allow her to, so Mia decides to go rogue and handle this on her own terms. There’s a chance at a clean kill for both of them at the end of the Grand Games, a form of mass entertainment that showcases the Republic’s finest gladiators fighting to the death. Only by killing off all her competition can Mia become the victor of the games, but the price she must pay may be too steep for the reward.

See what I mean by murderous? The entire plot is filled with death and blood. In the first few pages of the book, we witness an assassination, a massacre, and a few random deaths, along with suffering and pain. During the games, entire legions of gladiators are wiped out in a few sentences. There’s almost a disregard for life, and it’s lost so carelessly we’re desensitized to it. I like my share of blood, but really, tone it down when there’s no purpose to it.

Mia definitely changes a lot from the beginning of the first book to the end of this one. Back in Nevernight, she’s brutal, but still a student in the sheltered environment of the Academy. Now, she’s out in the real world, and with an extra shadow drinking up her fear, her actions are a lot more risky and cruel. It’s like a veil has been cast off, showing the world for what it truly is: a dirty, dark, and dangerous place. Seeing this, Mia starts to question the order of her world, with the profligate elite turning a blind eye to the suffering of the people below them. Finally, Mia begins to see her family in a real light, instead of blindly assuming their innocence. It was nice for her to start thinking about the whys of her actions, and to get a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Not much is learned about Mia’s Darkin nature, and the few answers given just leads to more questions. I have a feeling that this will play a major role in the final chapter of the series. There are two major loose threads at the end of this book that will lead us directly into the third book, hopefully answering some of our burning questions.

As per usual, Kristoff closes his book with the opening for the next, leaving us anticipating and speculating. This series is not for those faint of heart, or wary of bloodshed and occasional smut. Vices and sins abound, but if you want something bloody and without a guarantee of a happy ending, this will totally do.
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I'm pretty happy with this second installment. I liked Nevernight better because I found the Red Church plot more interesting than the gladiatii plot but this was still very cool. There was never a point when I wanted to stop reading. The world of Itreya is so amazing. I dream of craving worlds as full-bodied as this. All of the hints about the darkin are amazing. I liked the vision Mia had at the end of the moon that was lost from the sky. It's also really awesome that Mia is gonna have to eat all the other darkin basically. Maybe they're all Niah's son, scattered into pieces. I also really want to meet another passenger daemon in the next one. I saw a bear on the cover of the British ARC of Godsgrave and that didn't happen so now I really want it. Honestly I'm a bit upset there are only three books. I'd read five of them.

Anyway, Kristoff's writing is great as always. So sarcastic and melodic. I also love those notes plugged into the chapters. I always read them. The revelation about Jonnen and Mia and Scaeva took me by surprise. I'm very interested to see how Mia reacts to that revelation. I also thought the return of Tric was really well done. I always thought he was going to turn up again since they never found his body but that was something I never could have predicted. I hope the Falcons show up in the next book. I think it's almost certain that they will but I wanted to make it known anyway, haha. They were all such awesome characters. Kind of upset Mia never hooked up with Furian but it's okay. That scene with Ash was super hot. I like her new red hair.

One last thing: Dear Red Church, please don't kill Mercurio. Thanks.
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Welcome to Godsgrave

Jay, you magnificent genius! I went into this one with insanely high hopes because Nevernight was that good. And not going to lie, for a majority of this book, it's predecessor outshined it by far. It wasn't that I wasn't 100% invested, because I was, it was just that Nevernight just had this way about it where everything was intense and nonstop. Whereas with Godsgrave, it felt more like a slow burn...until that fracking ending! No kidding - the last 20% or so of this book was INSANE.

Warning: if you haven't read Nevernight, there will be spoilers for that below.

With the church reeling from the loss of not only it's head but multiple blades, Mia is now a very active blade. But while carrying out orders from the church, her mind is still set on the deaths of those who killed her parents. With one down, she still has two to go. But as she becomes more entwined with the Church, she starts to learn some ugly secrets that have her questioning just who she's killing for. Especially when an old foe shows up.

We meet a lot of new characters in this book and a few who I instantly gravitated to *cough*Sidonius*cough*. And there are, of course, return favorites who mostly show up in shadow form. Come on, don't deny you love Mister Kindly - who is not taking to having Eclipse with them now too well. Cue amazing banter. And don't fret, the footnotes are still here and still as sarcastic as ever.

There was just so much crammed in this book that I can't wait to reread it (when I own my physical copy) so that I can try to pick up on things I know I missed this time around. Full of action, death, betrayal, lies, and pain, Kristoff once again knows how to play on our heartstrings but yet keeps us rooting for this little assassin.

"...those who do not fear the flame are burned. those who do not fear the blade are bled. and those who do not fear the grave..."

Brilliant.
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If you have read my review of Nevernight, then you won't be surprised that I found this book to be topping my list as one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far. This series just continues to blow me away. It's full of action and blood and gore and vulgarity and I just can't seem to get enough. It is the perfect read for those who love fantasy books with a lot of action.

Godsgrave opens with a lovely recap of Nevernight. I thought this was the perfect addition to the book as there were a lot of details that could be forgotten in between reading Nevernight and Godsgrave. So if you want to just jump right into Godsgrave without re-reading Nevernight, this recap really helps to refresh your memory of all the details you might have forgotten. I wish every sequel of a series provided a recap to the book before it! It would definitely save me the time of having to re-read the first book every time a new book in a series comes out! Authors take note!

Going into a sequel, I am always a bit apprehensive as some seem to fall flat compared to their predecessor, but not Godsgrave! This was one of my most anticipated books for 2017, and it did not let me down in the slightest! The plot had even more action and fight scenes than the first book did. I am a sucker when it comes to action scenes. Don't let the action put you off though, there are plenty of sexy scenes to make up for all the blood and violence.

"Our scars are just gifts from our enemies, reminding us they weren't good enough to kill us."
-Jay Kristoff, Godsgrave

There is a diverse set of characters both old and new that I just adored. Of course, Mia is my favorite character, not only because she is the protagonist, but because she is just badass and sarcastic. Sarcastic characters always seem to be my favorite in books, which leads me to Mr. Kindly. Mr. Kindly is Mia's shadow cat and he is one sarcastic bastard. You can't help but love him. I love the way he interacts with Eclipse, Mia's shadow wolf. Eclipse is the opposite of Mr. Kindly in personality. She is a fiercely loyal companion who does what she is told without question. The banter between these two bring a funny and light-hearted dialogue to a rather dark book. It is the perfect off-set the story needed.

Is it possible to read a book written by Jay Kristoff that doesn't have a killer ending with cliffhanger? I think not! I can feel a book hangover coming after that ending! I can't wait to get my hands on the third and final book! Ugh, why does it have to be so far away?!

I rate this book a glowing 5 out of 5 stars! Perfect for fantasy readers who love a badass heroine, assassins, action, and blood! Publication date for this book is September 5, 2017!

Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and Jay Kristoff for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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This book starts out with one of the funniest, most well thought out recaps I’ve ever read. I mean, I did just listen to Nevernight, but I do love a recap, and so of course I read it. Oh, narrator… you’re so great. ❤ ❤ ❤

Another thing that I never really noticed in Nevernight, because I listened to the audiobook, were that the footnotes are goddamned hilarious. They all sort of blend together with the rest of the story in audio. It’s not a bad thing (especially with that narration), but it didn’t have that same ‘read a footnote and chuckle’ as this did for me.

THE PLOT THICKENS! In this one, instead of being of Mia becoming an assassin, Mia becomes a Roman Gladiator, more or less. Every few years a giant tournament is held in Godsgrave, and this year, at the tournament, Mia’s mortal enemies, Scaeva and Duomo, make an appearance to crown the winner. So, of course Mia’s mission becomes to win that tournament so she can stab them repeatedly. She’s not getting much help from the Ministry of the Red Church on this one… but she is getting help from a very, very unlikely source.

Oh Mia. You’re still snark incarnate, and I think I sort of love you for it. I love your attitude, I love your Darkin fearlessness, I love your willingness to do whatever it takes to get what you want. I love your banter with Mister Kindly, and I love the addition of Eclipse into that dynamic. Differing typefaces to denote Mister Kindly and Eclipse speaking was also a really awesome thing to include. You wouldn’t think that it’s that important in the grand scheme of things, but it really brings a note of je ne sais quoi to the whole thing. I really, really loved Holter Graham’s narration of the first book, and though I am able to read this one early (totally worth it, I promise) there was a part of me that was like ‘but… but… Holter Graham! I must have the audiobook!’

Well, it turns out that reading it in print, with all the footnotes and fonts and awesomeness is just as good as audio, but in a different way. Plus, I can still mentally recall the bonkers awesome narration of Mister Kindly and put it to work while reading Godsgrave.

I didn’t end up liking this one quite as much as I liked Nevernight. I’ll not spoil it for you, but suffice to say that there were choices made that, given what happened at the end of book one, were absolutely maddening to me. Mia is coming to realize some things about her own sexuality at this juncture, and it’s interesting to watch it unfold because it is believable… but I mean… out of everyone to fall for…

Even though Mia’s choices baffled me sometimes, this one was still a definite thrillride of stabbing, sexing, more stabbing, and then some further stabbing all wrapped up in a really rich world of intrigue and mystery. It twisted, it turned and oh my, did it ever blindside me a few times. Absolutely, positively hit me in the face from nowhere.

It’s perfect scary hurricane reading! 😀 I can’t wait for more! (Less hurricane next time tho).
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5/5

I received an ARC of this work.

Wow, am I enjoying this series. It is an amazing fantasy read with a fantastic sense of humour and a gritty realism that is borderline impossible to ignore. I cannot add it to my library which is exclusively for junior high students (and this is definitely an adult read), but I am going to bully all of my friends into reading this.

Mia Corvere is the daughter of a rebel and the rest of her family was slaughtered during the attempted coup. She was rightfully upset and decided to spend the rest of her life getting revenge on the main figures in charge of the executions of her mother, father and brother. Since they are all very highly placed in the government, it will not be a simple job, but there is a group of highly trained assassins who do take on apprentices. In the first book, Mia manages to make it through the training and become accepted into the ranks of killers. The second book begins with her starting on her final path to retribution.

The winner of a gladiatorial contest is congratulated, in person and unarmed, by one of her targets. To enter, Mia must sell herself into slavery and be purchased by a noble house that wants to compete. Then she just has to kill every other contestant in an Ancient Romanesque bloodbath. Being a trained combat expert will help, but she will not be given her choice of weapon and is still just one girl.

For those who loved Hunger Games and Red Rising for their life or death combat scenes and action, this reads quite similarly. You have a smaller crew of distinct characters that form relationships and temporary alliances, knowing that all friendships and bonds are going to end by having to kill each other later. As a reader you are always on your toes, never really knowing who is going to die next and who is going to stab whom in the back.

What really sells this series, though, is how funny life and death, betrayal and blood can get in the imagination of a skilled author. The text is peppered with hilarious footnotes that have a Terry Pratchett/ Jonathan Stroud sarcasm and wit to them. It gives you a breath of fresh air between battles and eviscerations.

The book reads a lot like Scott Lynch, in that you have a great combination of funny and serious fantasy without the character having to save the world. So much of our science fiction and fantasy has the plot revolving around saving the entire planet/universe/species. It is rarer to find one where the protagonist is trying to do something personal. It may have larger political implications (in this case murdering the head of a country), but that is not the main focus. Mia just wants his head. The collapse of the state thanks to her actions is not a concern of hers. She is self-absorbed enough to not care about the wider fallout of her plans. She wants what she wants and that is as far as her attention really goes.

It is also very refreshing to see such a bloodthirsty character. Too much of YA has characters that want to do what is right and make sacrifices for love/saving something. Mia is just ignoring friendships and people and love and cutting down everything in her path. It makes it a more interesting read to not be guaranteed the actions that other characters might make. Mia might choose to kill a friend or screw somebody over or she may not. Her vicious nature makes her harder to predict.

I adore this series. It was really hard to put down and I was alternatively giggling and close to tears. A must-read.
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***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
Book Two of the Nevernight Chronicles
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

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.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

What I Liked:

***SPOILER-FREE REVIEW*** (I promise!)

Believe it or not, I wasn't planning on reading this book, and for a couple of reasons. I read Nevernight last year (a little over a year ago) and enjoyed the book, but a year later, I couldn't remember much from the book (except a key death in the ending). I couldn't remember who Mercurio or Ashlinn or Scaeva were. Heck, I almost forgot who Mister Kindly was! So as Godsgrave began to pick up speed in publicity and marketing, I felt less inclined to read the book - partly because I couldn't remember much from Nevernight. The other reason was because I thought to perhaps binge-read the series, once the third book was published. I'm glad I decided to read Godsgrave now, even though the ending was quite the cliffhanger, and there is a good chance I will forget everything while waiting for the publication of book three. Kristoff has put together an excellent follow-up to Nevernight, and it will not disappoint.

In this novel, Mia Corvere has taken on a new task in her journey to get her revenge. She is now a Blade of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but the Red Church doesn't like her pursuit of revenge. She defies the Church, and has herself sold to a gladiatorial collegium in order to get closer to Scaeva and Duomo, who will make appearances during the grand games in which the gladiators fight. In the arena, Mia sheds more blood than she ever has, but she also makes unexpected allies. Her need for revenge competes with her loyalty and her conscience. And she will discover truths that she never thought possible, truths that will change her world.

At first I was a little daunted by the size of this book - most likely, it's no bigger than its predecessor, but still. It's a fairly long book. No matter though, because it was action-packed and twisted from start to finish. At no point was I lacking interest. Kristoff has upped the ante in this book, drawn the stakes higher, and given Mia more close calls. 

Mia is as clever and as fearless as always, but she also shows some vulnerability, to herself and to a select few people. She isn't cold and unbreakable as steel like her fellow gladiators think, but she is unshakable in her goals. Mia is a fierce girl who becomes not only driven by revenge (though it is always present on her mind). What happens when she starts to care about others, and her loyalty interferes with her quest for revenge? You'll find out in this book.

There are a lot of old and new secondary characters that make significant appearances. I won't mention too many names because things will become spoiler-y really quickly. There are a few people that you would never expect to see working with Mia, a few that you wouldn't expect Kristoff to take and dig deeper and redeem. My favorite secondary characters are some new ones that you'll meet - Sidonius, Bryn, Belle, and some others. Kristoff's characters are so likable, even the messed-up villainous antagonists. And of course, there were many Mister Kindly appearances, and Eclipse too. I love Mister Kindly and Eclipse's back-and-forth banter.

I was a little wary of the idea of the "grand games", because it is a concept that isn't new to fantasy series, especially in a sequel novel. These games were extremely bloody and merciless, and even though I knew Mia would walk away from each fight (this isn't a spoiler -- I doubt Kristoff would kill off his protagonist in book two of three), I felt a little uneasy. Kristoff doesn't hold back when it comes to the blood, gore, and #stabstabstab.

On that note, this is not a Young Adult novel. I think most people should know this by now, having read Nevernight. But in case anyone needs a reminder, this is not a YA book. Definitely adult. Lots of bloody murders in explicit detail. Oh, and there is sex in explicit detail. A fair amount, and right from the start.

I didn't think I would totally enjoy this book, given the ending of Nevernight, in which one of my favorite characters dies. But I liked this sequel. Kristoff did the series justice (so far). There is a massive cliffhanger at the end of this book, which is to be expected but is still annoying, but it ensures that I'll be reading book three!

What I Did Not Like:

There are only two things that I didn't enjoy about this book, and both are preferences of mine. I don't like love triangles, and this series definitely has one going on. There is a new love interest introduced in this book, and things go very far in that romantic direction. I don't really have a problem with this ship - I just don't like love triangles and at this point, there are two love interests.

The other thing? I'm not a fan of a certain sexual act that occurs in this book. Which is funny because I read a looooooot of adult romance novels - but this thing isn't usually in those romance novels, so I was a little taken aback. You can ask me about it privately, if you wish to know ahead of time!

Also, don't get me wrong - these are not negatives in terms of Kristoff's writing or anything like that. These are things that I typically don't like - but another reader might love.

Would I Recommend It:

If you read and enjoyed Nevernight, there is no way I wouldn't recommend reading this book. It's a good sequel - dare I say an even better novel - and worth the read. But like I said above, this isn't a YA novel (I know Kristoff has a lot of YA readers), and there is a lot of explicit content (killing/mutilation and sexual acts), so I don't recommend this book/series to younger readers. But I think most people know their limits so I probably don't need to state that.

Rating:

4 stars. I'm excited for the rest of the world to read this book because I have a feeling that the Nevernight fandom will explode after going through this one! Things get more and more intense in just about every area of Mia's life, and it's all leading to a showstopping conclusion in book three. I'll be waiting for it!
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this is......................... literally the best book ever
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I need more Mia Corvere, Stat!!
It took me a bit longer to read this book than it should have because I had to put it down for fear that the author was about to kill off some people I didn't want to see dead yet...he has a way of doing that to me :/ I enjoyed the footnotes way more this book, especially that one, you know the one...right before that one scene. I did see some of the twists coming but man, the ones I didn't were insane. The ending of this book...just AGH!!!! Curse you Kristoff!! 
*Received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
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"This is not where I die.
I’ve far too much killing to do."

HOLY FUCK THIS IS A MASTERPIECE

THE PLOT

"Why is everyone still acting like this is a fucking game?"

I’ll try to keep it simple to avoid spoilers. In the first part of the book we follow Mia in two different adventures.
In the “present” chapters she willingly gets captured by slavers to inflitrate a gladiatorial collegium. Yes, you’ve read that right, GLADIATORS.
In the “four months earlier” chapters Mia is working for the Red Church but when she meets an old enemy she starts questioning the Red Church’s true motives.
There’s a lot of blood, death, betrayals, battle scenes, friendship, sex, sassy shadows and breath-taking plot twists. I basically died with a smile on my face.

MIA

”You wound me. I’m fucking lovable, I’ll have you know.”

She’s like Kaz Brekker and Manon’s love child. I love her to pieces.
She’s an assassin who actually KILLS. And she’s so smart and sassy and strong and loyal and awesome and amazing and I just love her a lot ok?
Her character arc is perfect and she’s now officially one of my all time favorite characters.

THE OTHER CHARACTERS

"What was more important?
Revenge for her family? Or the lives of folks who, try as she might to deny it, had become her friends?"

Mister Kindly and Eclipse: they’re basically sassy children who fight to get their mom’s attention. So yes, they’re perfect.

The other gladiators: you see, Jay Kristoff is actually one of the few authors who spend time to shape their secondary characters. He gave them depth, complexity. He made me care for them. My favorite was Sidonius but I’m not going to say more because it would get spoilery way too fast.

Ashlinn: yes, Ash. She’s amazing and if something happens to her in the next book I’m going to riot.

Tric: *puts tape over her mouth*

THE ROMANCE

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THE ROMANCE AT A L L.
It’s an enemies-to-lovers (aka my all time favorite trope). It’s sweet and hot and I’ve found a new otp and please don’t hurt them Jay please please pls
I’m just going to leave this quote here and I’m not gonna tell you from which pov it was written (if you want to know you can dm me!):

"She was poison.
So why had her lips tasted like honey?"

IN CONCLUSION

It was amazing, go read it. (yeah I know I'm so eloquent)
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"The heavens grant us only one life, but through books, we live a thousand."

I never thought anything could compare to my fierce love of Nevernight.
I have been proven wrong.
Very, very wrong.

This book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more!

It was brutal, beautiful, bloody, and brilliant!
There was so much more suspense, lashings more danger, mountains of violence, and whole bucket loads of sass and sarcasm!

Be prepared for blood, fights, betrayal, mystery, passion, death and darkness!

I was so sure that nothing would ever beat the setting of the first in this series; a dangerous school for assassins where nothing is as it seems.
Thankfully I was proven wrong again and this time around we get to follow Mia as she sells herself into slavery in order to compete in vicious battles to the death as a Gladiatti.

Throughout this book Mia manages to become an even more fascinating character (if that is even possible?)
She grows so much, having her strength of character, bravery and resolve tested constantly.
Mia has even more Darkin mysteries thrown at her in this installment, and even more questions about who and what she really is.
The other characters we meet along the way are all equally as fantastic.
We get to make friends, enemies and maybe even a lover or two?

The writing was just as stunningly beautiful as in Nevernight, though maybe with slightly less flounce and over-the-top descriptions.
There were definitely no weird and strange metaphors this time around, and the book is so much better because of this.

Just as in the first book, the pace of this book was pounding and perfect!
I literally could not stop reading as I was so desperate to find out what was going to happen next.
There were twists and turns on every page, keeping you hooked and immersed right until the very brutal end.

And the ending!
THE ENDING 

All you need to know about that is - oh my god!

"That's the power of words: twenty-six little letters can paint a whole universe."
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having really enjoyed the first part of the series i was delighted to be given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Godsgrave and what can i say except i loved it!!! starting where the first book finished and taking us on a roller coaster of  a ride with enough twists and turns to keep me wanting  more. 
Every time i though i had the measure of where the author was heading another curve ball would appear and without spoiling anything the twist at the end has left me gasping for the next in the series......
a seriously seriously good read!!!!!!
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All I can say is "Wow!" I'm speechless with wonder, with awe at the twists and turns the story had taken. Though I'm expecting things not to go swimmingly for Mia, I never imagined the routes the plot would take to bring her to where she was by the end of the book.

Mia just keeps on evolving throughout the series. In the first book, she is out for revenge against the three men who are instrumental in murdering her family. In the second book, she has not forgotten this purpose, yet, she now sees other things, too, like how the riches that are enjoyed by the few are provided by broken backs and blood of the many. And what she has seen, she cannot forget. What would Mia do about these things, if she even can?

One aspect that I hadn't expected was Mia's love life. I'm not passing judgement nor can I say whether I like it or not (the jury's still out), but I was just surprised at the twist it had taken. Though, seeing how fond the author is of parallelism in his prose, perhaps this is sort of a parallelism too with regard to the revelation regarding her father. (More questions there!! But to state them here would be a spoiler, so I'll just keep them to my chest.)

Another thing that is put into more focus in GODSGRAVE is Mia being a darkin. This started when she was a little girl running for her life (in Nevernight) and a dark shadow attached to her and saved her life. This is Mister Kindly and he has been with her ever since. At the end of the first book, she has acquired another shadow--Eclipse, the shadow-wolf of Lord Cassius. And she would acquire yet another by the end of GODSGRAVE. Yet, what does it mean being a darkin? What is she, and what does it mean about painting the skies black? The mystery of Mia deepens, and I think we'll see all sorts of revelations in the third book.

And the ending--whoa! The twists and turns are shocking and the revelations astounding. Everything happened very fast, leaving me stunned. I couldn't turn the virtual pages fast enough. And the very last scene!! All I can say is book #3 is going to be very interesting indeed. (I would advise not peeking ahead. To get the full effect of the last few chapters, it is advisable to read in the usual order.)
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Reading "Nevernight" was quite the experience for me. I really enjoyed it but still had a very hard time getting through it. I wasn't totally connecting with the characters or what happened but the characters and the plot were still so cool. After the end of Nevernight I wanted to continue with the next book because I thought it would be better as I sometimes take some time to really warm to the characters. Sadly Godsgrave didn't do this for me... I had an even harder time with it than I had with Nevernight...
I might give the series another go some time in the future, as the whole thing about assassins is something I really love, but as for now we just didn't work together...
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3 1/2 stars

I enjoyed this, but I didn't love it as much as I loved "Nevernight." I think there was a couple of reasons for this. First of all, I personally preferred the school setting to the gladiator one in this novel. I also felt like this one had a little less humor. Don't get me wrong; this one did have some fantastic quotes from our mysterious, sarcastic narrator, but I felt like there were fewer asides. (These books are filled with footnotes with humorous stories and sarcastic comments that add depth and breath to the world, and more importantly, a whole lot of personality.) I loved the dark humor of the narrative voice, and it was one of things I loved most about the first book, so I was a little disappointed to see less of it here. I also really liked a lot of the characters from the school, and felt like none of the new characters lived up to the ones that were missing here. 

My other complaint is that I saw a lot of the surprises coming, but to be fair, I read a lot, and it takes a lot to surprise me. A couple of things, felt a bit like a cop outs- though safer, I felt a bit cheated by a few twists. 

However, this was still a very strong book. The world is dark and bloody, with strong world building and history. It has lots of well drawn, complex characters, and pretty much everyone is morally grey. The book moved the plot along, but there is still lots of room to work with narratively in book 3. I think most readers of the original will be happy with this sequel. It ends on a very big cliffhanger, but our faithful narrator does acknowledge this (which amused me anyways). It is definitely not a book that should be read without reading the first, but anyone who made it through the first (It was on of those books that people either loved, like me, or hated) will be happy with this continuation!
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***Please note that review link will not be live until one week before publication date (i.e., Aug 29)***

How do you top Nevernight, a book that's basically Harry Potter for assassins, complete with magical, stairway-shifting school accessible only by diving through something that really shouldn't be dived though? Well, actually the second installment does involve a diary and a giant snake, but that's where the similarities end. Mia Corvere murders people to further her plans, to get attention, to get paid, to get even, and to get laid. She's so Slytherin you might as well rename it House Corvere. But Mia has graduated, and to follow up her blood-soaked graduation, she's decided she needs to become a gladiator.

Godsgrave is told from alternating times several months apart, one beginning with an assassination gone poorly and the other with Mia's capture by slavers who sell her to a gladiatorial master. Or rather, to a mistress: Leona is a fierce competitor who aims to win big at the games. This suits Mia, who sees the culminating battle royale as the only opportunity to strike at her remaining two enemies. If she can win through the increasingly deadly games to the final clash, she will be within striking distance of Consul Scaeva and the hierophant of the sun god Aa, Cardinal Duomo.

Straightforward, right? Stab people, win, stab more people.

Not exactly. There are people and entire organizations who are not thrilled by her mad plan, not to mention certain...entities. These...entities...want her to stop messing around with killing the de facto emperor and focus on more cosmic concerns. She is told to seek what she does not remotely understand, that for which her only reference is in a madwoman's diary: the moon. Who—or what—is that? (We know, of course. Jay Kristoff has left generous clues as to the myth that is slowly wrapping Mia in its tentacles, but that's for her to discover and us to delight in.) She cares, but not as much as she does about vengeance. Not even as much as she does about discovering more about her darkin nature, that mysterious power that lets her manipulate shadows and give berth in her own to now two entities, Mister Kindly and Eclipse. The cat and the wolf bicker like, well, cats and dogs, and have no answers for her. One of her fellow gladiators might know, but she'll have to survive training and combat to earn more than a few nasty words from him.

She also has to contend with further secrets of the failed rebellion that ended in her father's execution and her mother's imprisonment (and eventual madness and death, of course--this isn't a book that skimps on the body count). These secrets bleed into yet more secrets guarded by the Church of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, until she feels rather queasy about her current vocation. The appearance of an enemy from the past only heightens her disenchantment with the Red Church, which is, on the whole, disenchanted with her as well. They may need each other, what with the ranks decimated by the events of the last book and resources for heretics thin all around, but trust between them has cracked. Whether it can be entirely shattered is the work of this second installment, which delights in undermining everything you thought you knew.

Most distressing of the revelations is that Mia finds that she has a heart. How embarrassing! Though she tries to quash every upwelling of feeling, she's unable to prevent herself from caring for her fellow gladiators who risk their lives to further her aims (albeit unknowingly). She also sympathizes with Leona, who like her is burdened by vengeance, and begins to recognize some squishy feelings for her co-conspirators. It's an interesting complication because rather than watching someone slowly go bad, we get to see someone slowly wonder if being bad is always worth it (versus just most of the time). The reversal of the moral quandary would be trite in less capable hands, or tragic in reverent ones. Instead we have Kristoff cracking dark jokes to ensure that nobody gets too comfortable with easy ideas like good and evil. Everyone is evil. There's only a matter of degrees, and how much sympathy they can drum up to counterbalance it: just as everyone is bad, everyone has had very bad things happen to them, so terrible that they wring some empathy from even Mia's desiccated heart.

Worse than a heart, Mia's also finding that she has eyes. As a child and then as an initiate of the Red Church she was not expected to see more than her elders allowed. But now that she's out on her own recognizance, she begins to see many of the sickening realities that undergird not just the viciously political upper class, but the whole of the empire. Slavery fuels industry, and lives are cheap. To be a gladiator means being a slave—a more valued one, certainly, but that value is distinctly measurable by success in the arena. Failure means swift demotion to a grave or a whorehouse. It's one thing to know it happens, but when it becomes Mia's reality, she begins to grasp it.

But she has a deeper goal, a more burning one. What are slaves and allies compared to the revenge that has consumed her for so long? Why care, when she can slip her bonds and be gone from that world as easily as casting a shadow? Mia has spent a long time with a single focus, but here she begins to question the underpinnings of her convictions. Were her parents really virtuous patriots? What will killing the people who killed them actually accomplish? And where does culpability for their deaths really begin and end, when the systems of the world begin and end in blood?

Mia is cool and compelling enough that I (and you) will be clawing at the walls for the third book regardless of her conclusions. It's incredible, really, to have a character (and a young woman at that) who sidesteps the demands of likability on the basis of her antics and grit. She murders people, many of whom don't deserve it, and she isn't sorry. But what's at stake now is whether we can still sympathize with her. Will she accept any collateral damage as a means to her ultimate end--including her newfound allies? Or will she retain some shreds of humanity that will distinguish her from her enemies? There are three hints—two in the text of the novel, one in the nature of novels—but I won't give them away. It's a nailbiter if ever there was one, waiting to see exactly how ruthless Mia is and how much of her heart vengeance has rotted.

Godsgrave comes out September 5.
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Erm…6 out of 5 stars for Godsgrave. 

It was absolutely epic - in every sense of that word. And the twists at the ends had me pulling out my hair. If you love adventure, non-stop action, queer romance, badass characters and loads of sarcasm - look no farther than this series. And Jay - how dare you end the book there? And when can I have book 3?

Godsgrave picks up where 18 months after Nevernight. Mia is a Blade now - sent to serve the Red Church. With so many blades murdered and so many of the Church’s hideouts destroyed in the Luminatii raid, not everyone is happy with Mia being a Blade, especially since she failed the Church’s last test. And more than anything else - Mia wants revenge for her familia’s death, but the church won’t let her. 

On her latest mission - Mia learns of the Church’s treachery and concocts a plan to fulfill her desire for revenge. To achieve this - Mia must become a gladiatii and win the magni (a fight to the death among the best gladiatii where the winner is presented with freedom). If she wins - she will be presented her freedom by Counsul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, both of whom will be undefended and easy targets. But the road to the magni is hard, treacherous and full of obstacles. 

Needless to say, the book is fantastically written, it’s hard to put down, it’s non-stop action and tasteful smutt and the sarcasm, oh how I missed the sarcasm. Without a doubt - this is the best book I have read and will read this year. 

And yes - I will be doing more fan art coming.
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I received an advance copy from Netgalley. I've been waiting anxiously for Godsgrave for a year after Nevernight became 1 of my 2 favourite reads of last year. I've been building the anticipation and expectation in my mind over that whole period and with the weight of those it could rightly be expected that any book wouldn't make the grade. And let me tell you O gentlefriends it makes it and then some! There was not a moment throughout the entire book where I wasn't completely enraptured with the story, it took everything I loved about Nevernight and knocked it up a notch. Sexier, more brutal, more exciting, more twists and turns, more............just more! My only complaint is that I'm now going to have to wait a year for the final chapter in this story
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