Critiquing the great: Godsgrave - Jay Kristoff
Updated: Dec 20, 2019
The Nevernight Chronicle #2 Genre: High Fantasy Published: Harper Voyager UK, September 2017
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“Silver at her throat. Stone at her feet. Iron in her heart.”
Before we get into this post, a quick disclaimer, as this is the type of book where anything less than a 5 star gush can get you crucified by an entire fandom. I gave this book 3 stars, which is a fairly good rating. It means it was a good book, and I enjoyed reading. It means it’s the best sequel of the year so far, and I can’t wait for the third book to come out. 3 stars also means, however, that I enjoyed it a little bit less than the first book, and had some problems that keep it from being a 4- or 5- star to me. For a book that gets almost exclusively 5-star ratings, I feel it’s fair that those feelings get expressed as well. That’s what this post is for.
Firstly, what personally kept Nevernight from being a 5-star read for me, was Jay Kristoffs writing style, that just doesn’t fully click with me. This is purely a matter of taste, but it’s a little too dense for my taste, which leads me to struggle reading long stretches at the time and pulls me out of the story.
I still had this problem with Godsgrave although I wanted to speed through it to find out what would happen next, the writing slowed me down.
Secondly, and I hate to say it, but… I saw the twist coming. Yes, even the one at the very end. In fact, I was expecting that one to happen at the end of book 1 already. I was frustrated as hell, because I wanted to be surprised, but alas…
Thirdly and lastly, I loved Mia as a character, and was all behind her relationships in the first book (even if I wasn’t always comfortable with the explicit of the “sexy-times”). I can’t say I felt the same about the relationships in Godsgrave. The speed with which Mia got over her past lover, and threw herself in the arms of the next, felt ingenuine to me. This in turn, reflected upon their entire relationship. I loved the fact that there is a F/F relationship in this book, and that their sexuality is explicitly portrayed on the pages. Because their relationship felt ingenuine to me, some of these scenes did feel very “fan-servicy”… Perhaps even author-servicy… Someone mentioned in their review that it feels like F/F adult entertainment, written for and by heterosexual males, and ever since I read that, I couldn’t shake the cringy feeling that gave me.
Again: I really want to stress that this is not meant to be a bash of this book. Pretty much everything I loved about Nevernight is still there. Amazing worldbuilding, a unique story that dares to take risks and a protagonist (and her shadow familiars) that I still absolutely love! If you want to read more positive opinions, you need only to look Godsgrave up on Goodreads, as over 10,000 people have already sung its praises. And despite its faults, I feel most of those praises are well deserved.
Find this book on Goodreads