I posted about NEVERNIGHT earlier this year, and it basically sounded like the book was written for me. And turns out it is my favorite published book of the year so far. I may have even gone as far to say “Compared to NEVERNIGHT, ILLUMINAE is garbage”. And I love ILLUMINAE. So that should tell you a lot.
So here are my ten reasons you need to go buy it now. And it is only ten. I had five others. I don’t even mention the teachers! Or the other awesome students! Or that it kept me guessing!
1. That first chapter
The writing in this chapter is mind-blowing with its awesomeness. Once you get it (and it may take you a bit to get it), you will make some kinda of shocked and awe noise. Mine was an audible gasp. And once you finish the chapter, you’ll probably go back and read it again. And again (it took me five times to get to chapter two).
Writers should all read this first chapters to see how important every single word can be.
Are you sick of “the strong female character” and all the tropes that come along with her? Then this is a book for you! Mia is nothing like that stereotype. She is a kick-ass female, but it isn’t over done and she is a full fleshed out character. I feel like I know her. I want to check in how she is doing.
3. The world building (and the maps!)
Gah I love this world. It is so complex and awesome. The government! The politics! The secret societies! The magic!
And the maps in this book. Virginia Allyn made them and WOW they are gorgeous. I spent 10-15 minutes pouring over them, and I am usually not a maps in books person.
4. The swears
Okay, this seems like a little one, but I love how much swearing there was in this. There is a whole conversation about the c-word (and that is actually what started the entire book) and it makes me kinda annoyed that I still feel like I have to say it like that.
The swearing makes the characters feel natural.
5. The humor
This book is so funny. I was laughing out loud a lot, and it takes a lot to make me actually laugh out loud. The humor really fit my comedy taste, but I think everyone will enjoy it too. There is even a time when the author imagines your reaction to the humor and has a footnote about it. It’s brilliant.
6. The darkness
And this book is DARK. Obviously because it is a school of assassins, but it really goes for it. I love the dark and sad. There are actual consequences to things. There is no victory without suffering. This delivered 100%
7. The writing
Goddamnit Jay Kristoff can write. And he keeps getting better and better. This book took me three times as long as normal books because I kept reading things over and over and over because they were so well-written.
8. The smutty bits
I mentioned this is my goodreads review that if Jay wrote romance under a pen name, I’d totally read it. For a dude writer, it is pretty good from the female perspective. I do wish we saw more with the Hall of Masks teacher…
9. The footnotes
When I first heard about the footnotes, I got a lot less excited about it. Used well, they can work and add a lot. But they are often not used well. But they add so much to the world and there is so much VOICE in these footnotes that I couldn’t imagine the book working without them.
10. It will be a classic
It will go down as a classic in the fantasy genre. It is that good. People will be talking about this book along with the other greats. And don’t you want to read it before then? So you can say “Ah, I read it the month it was released and I knew it was headed for greatness”? You do. And if you hurry, you can still get a signed 1st edition! DO IT.