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‘Byss And Blood

The sequel to Nevernight, Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave features cutthroat action, brutal fight scenes, and character growth.

‘Byss And Blood

BOOK REPORT for Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff

Cover Story: Pretty Deadly
BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Puts the A in YA
Bonus Factors: Footnotes, Redemption, Gladiators
Anti-Bonus Factor: Slavery
Relationship Status: Friends?

Danger, Will Robinson! Godsgrave is the second book in the Nevernight Chronicle. If you have not read the first book in the series—Nevernight—turn away now to avoid possible spoilers. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you’re caught up with the series, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Pretty Deadly

This cover is … fine. It does the job well of making people aware that this is a book about a powerful woman. And the use of the color red in an otherwise muted palette packs a punch.

But after seeing the UK cover of Nevernight—and subsequently the UK version of Godsgrave—it just doesn’t compare. The UK versions are the kind of novels I will make room on my shelves to face out, and y’all know that kind of placement is reserved for the truly deserving.

The Deal:

Becoming a Blade of Our Lady of Blessed Murder wasn’t without its difficulties, but Mia worked hard to make herself an invaluable asset to the Red Church, even with that little hiccup of humanity at the end. And in her time since becoming an official blade, she’s done more than her fair share of the Church’s dirty work. But the new career isn’t leading her quite in the direction she wants it to take her, and she’s not getting any closer to her quest for vengeance against the people who destroyed her family.

So when she learns of an opportunity that will help her get close to both Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo at the same time, she takes it—even if it means going against the will of the Church, relying on an enemy, and risking her life by becoming a gladiator.

Because nothing will stand in Mia’s way … except for maybe Mia herself.

BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia

When I first met Mia in Nevernight, I was confused as to whether I’d like to be her friend. After spending more time with her in Godsgrave, I’m not exactly confused any longer, but there are still as many checkmarks in the cons column as their are in the pros. Pros: She’s vicious and deadly and would have my back in a fight. Cons: She’s vicious and deadly and has severe tunnel vision on that whole vengeance plot thing, which makes me feel like I can’t truly trust her. But I think I’m willing to take the chance.

Maybe.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Like in Nevernight, the swoonworthy scale of Godsgrave is thrown off a little by Mia’s unwillingness to let herself get involved with another person unless it’s for personal gain (or a job) and the fact that there are graphic (albeit hot) sex scenes. There’s a huge battle waging between the heart and the pants in this book. Thankfully, Mia does make some strides in the not being totally aloof when it comes to her lovers, which ups the actual swoon factor quite a bit. She also is more true to herself about what she really wants in a relationship, and that’s lovely to read about. #vagueonpurpose

Talky Talk: Puts the A in YA

In addition to the graphic sex scenes, Godsgrave is overflowing with blood. From the blood pools of the Red Church—which would have me singing the praises of being stuck on board a smelly ship for a multi-week-long ocean voyage—to Mia’s day job to the gladiatorial matches, most of which are fought to the last man or woman (barely) standing. This book isn’t for the faint of heart, nor the young of eyes.

But, once again, even with the gore, Kristoff has written a compelling tale filled with fascinating characters set in world so unlike our own that it’s sometimes hard to fathom, and yet there are moments of familiarity that keep readers fully engaged. Godsgrave also features hints of the explosive events to come in the final book in the series, which keeps it from falling prey to the dreaded Bridge Book Blues. (Because, to be honest, although there’s a lot of action in the book, it’s not until the very end that the larger plot really gets moving.)

Bonus Factor: Footnotes

Some readers might find the footnotes in the Nevernight Chronicle distracting; it can be hard to remember where you left off if you jump to a footnote in the middle of a page. But the narrator of the series is so darn snarky that I never minded having to pick up where I left off. I even found myself laughing more than once, which I definitely needed after the more bloody of Mia’s gladiator matches.

Bonus Factor: Redemption

A “bad guy” from Nevernight makes a reappearance in Godsgrave and has a believable arc of redemption that’s tempered with just enough suspicion to make it that much more believable.

Bonus Factor: Gladiators

Although the brutality of the gladiatorial matches are unparalleled, it’s a fascinating culture to read about. The astounding skills they possess, their ability to look past taking a life, the way some are unflinchingly loyal to their masters, even though they are slaves. And, while we’re on the terrible topic ...

Anti-Bonus Factor: Slavery

There are a couple of scenes in Godsgrave that hurt my heart for their depictions of the horrifying conditions slaves in this world find themselves in. But all is not for naught, because they also serve to be eye-opening experiences for certain characters who realize that they don’t yet see the world for what it truly is.

Relationship Status: Friends?

I know you’ve got your own thing going, Book, but I’d like to give this whole relying on others for help thing a try. I think we’d be good for each other. And I really need to hear more about your backstory. To this point, you’ve been a bit of a tease.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money, and received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Godsgrave is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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