Devious, gripping and fast paced, Godsgrave has almost everything I expected of this much anticipated sequel, some that was entirely unexpected, and has left quite a bit up to the last book to deliver.
I have no intentions of discussing the plot in detail, this being the second book, so as to avoid any possible spoilers – Vengeance is ever at the forefront though and consumes Mia’s thoughts, night and day. The plot continues shortly after the events of Nevernight, and it is a whole new world of dangerous that Mia is subjected to. Where most of the action in Nevernight took place in the Red Church, Kristoff has expanded the playing field exponentially with Mia traveling around quite a bit in her never ending quest for justice.
Did it deliver though?
Hell yes! In SPADES.
The story starts off with two different timelines, four months apart. The present storyline has you wondering what the hell Mia has gotten herself into, finding herself being sold as a slave to a Collegium of gladiatii or gladiators. The past timeline has her assuming her role as a church Blade, longing for her revenge, yet being held in check by the church for reasons, as of yet, unknown. We get to follow both these timelines until their convergence, where the reasons for Mia’s present quandary are made clear. All of this is of course outlined in the blurb for the story, but I tend to skip reading those before starting a book, so everything was likely more of a mystery to me than it would be to many other readers. The tale was action packed and enthralling, the author’s worldbuilding continuing to provide more and more insight into the fascinating place Mia calls home. Pacing presented no issues whatsoever, with those action scenes mentioned being staggered perfectly through the book. I would even say that the writing has gotten better, with Kristoff omitting much of the extra flowery verse that reared it’s head in Nevernight, in favour of leaner, yet still beautiful prose. And the twistyness, o daughters, the twistyness. Mr Kristoff has shown his true, sly colours. He giveth and he taketh, he is ever so tricky.
Let it be said though, that this book, whilst compelling and fast paced throughout, never quite reached the level that Nevernight set the bar at, in my opinion. It hovered just below that level throughout most of the story, likely only reaching it and momentarily surpassing it with a pull out all the stops finale. I am not able to pinpoint a clear reason for this. I just felt while reading, that I was not AS engaged as I was with Nevernight, even though it was more than engaging on it’s own. If I was forced to find something, I would most certainly name the following couple (pun intended), but these are likely just my own peeves with the tale:
Firstly, two of the main characters in this book become an item. Though this may be a subterfuge beyond my comprehension on the one character’s part, I absolutely, unequivocally, HATED IT. In fact, hated sounds too tame. Although being the same thing, LOATHED and ABHORRED make better descriptors, for one of these two characters have gone beyond forgiveness in my esteem, and should never, ever have been given even a whiff of the other character’s time of day again after the events that transpired in Nevernight. Harsh on my part, but as Mr Darcy said: “My good opinion once lost is lost for ever.” In fact, the only way the odium* I have attached to this character could be removed is through his or her violent death. I guess my feelings are clear on this point. 🙂 (*Yay! Been wanting to use that word in a sentence ever since Brandon Sanderson made me look it up in the first place!)
The second thing would be a lack on the author’s part in regularly doling out any kind of information concerning darkins and the bigger picture here. Once again, this is mostly just me wanting more, and likely not Mr Kristoff. The heart wants what it wants. While the story successfully avoided middle book syndrome, there is an overarching story line here that is hinted at throughout both books so far, and we are hardly given any progress on that front. The plot did move forward on the vengeance thread, but that bigger picture felt stagnant and I kept on longing for more there. Sure, there were some small reveals on this front, but apart from tidbits that me and my fellow readers somehow scrounged together into half plausible theories, we have almost no clue what the overarching story line is aiming at with only one single book to come. While this sparse dissemination is likely intentional, we are hungering for knowledge here and I admit myself concerned at the amount of information Jay Kristoff will need to impart in the concluding book of this trilogy.
At the end of the day though, Godsgrave is an excellent sequel to Nevernight, and more than deserving of the spot it occupies in this series. I would have gladly given it five stars, had I not taken issue with that relationship and the balancing of the plots. I trust though, that Mr Kristoff will deliver everything I hope for in a final book of what is sure to be a excellent trilogy once completed and I am super excited for what is to come!
Did I mention that beautiful, dark & dangerous cover?
Review by Eon
Read in September 2017