Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult
My Rating: 5 stars
“Our scars are just gifts from our enemies,
reminding us they weren’t good enough to kill us.”
The story starts out split into two different points in time and alternates between the current timeline and the events of four months earlier. I enjoyed this format because it allowed for small cliffhangers as we went back and forth in time. Telling the story this way also revealed Mia to be in a really strange situation in the current timeline, and the flashbacks served to give us insight into what the hell happened to get Mia to this point. Information was slowly provided, and I loved how all the pieces fit together; what made no sense at first made perfect sense once all the cards were on the table.
– temperamental stairs that change their length at will
– bloody coliseum fights with all kinds of challenges
– lots and lots of blood and guts, deaths throughout – where nobody is safe
– new characters that I really enjoyed and the return of some characters that I missed
Lots of the characters in this book kept up the tradition of having sass, and the dialog was consistently strong throughout. Some of these exchanges definitely had me laughing out loud. (For example, Mia asking Solis about a map and getting a super sassy answer: ““ . . . What’s the map of?” “It provides detailed directions to the Empire of None of Your Fucking Concern.”) I know I shouldn’t like Ash, especially after the events at the end of Nevernight, but I think she’s a great character and was happy to see her back in this installment. A few other familiar faces from Nevernight show up again in Godsgrave, as well as a cast of new characters that added some fresh intrigue to the story.
“It’s funny, but when you take a person out of the world,
you don’t just take them, do you?”
“You take everything they were, too.”
“Do you ever think about that?”
As part of Mia’s plan to get revenge, she ends up having to compete in a series of arena style fights against all kinds of opponents. These fights were crazy tense and I was on the edge of my seat during all of them. They involved all kinds of creatures and took place on landscapes that were altered in all kinds of ways, and it was great getting to see what challenges presented themselves to Mia and how she overcame them. No one was safe, and there was plenty of graphic fighting and blood and guts to keep things interesting. There were a lot of losses along the way, and some were more painful than others, but they were definitely all unexpected and rough.
“Death is the only promise we all keep. This life we live . . . there is room in it for love, Mia. But a love like autumn leaves. Beautiful one turn. A bonfire the next. Only ashes the remainder.”
In true Nevernight/Godsgrave fashion, the author didn’t hold back when it came to the language or the fighting and graphic injuries. There were sex scenes in Godsgrave just as there was in Nevernight, but I found them to be much more easy to read and way less over the top in this installment than they were in Nevernight. For some reason the language and the way these scenes were written in Nevernight made me cringe and roll my eyes, and I definitely felt that the author did a better job of writing the interactions this time and didn’t over exaggerate everything.
I really appreciated the character growth that Mia went through. She has always been pretty black and white, where she has a goal and any means are justified in the steps she has to take when trying to achieve that goal. No matter who she had to kill or what she had to sacrifice, she wanted to attain her goal and didn’t care who she met along the way- none of them were her friends anyway. But in Godsgrave we got to see Mia start to deviate a bit from that mindset, and it was satisfying to see her grow. She still did horrible things to get what she wanted, she killed and betrayed and tricked, but she let people in a little bit, and it was gratifying to see the changes in her over the course of this book.
“Every turn she spent with this brand on her cheek made it harder and harder for her to ignore the folk who couldn’t just skip away from their chains through the shadows like she could. Not just gladiatii. The whole Republic was oiled by the machine of human misery. Now that her eyes were opened to it, she couldn’t unsee it. Didn’t want to.”
The ending was amazing and there was twist after twist. A few things I expected to happen, and a few I would have never predicted. Needless to say I was in disbelief that the novel ended where it did (the author totally knew what he did here- “I see you, bent over the tome in your hand with a frown on your face and a curse on your lips, as if I were puddled in shadow at your feet. The realization that there are no more pages is sinking in now. I hear it. I see it.”) This series has gotten better and better as it progresses, and I’m looking forward to diving right into the next installment!