Book Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

book review

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Publication date: 05 September 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Page count: 484 pages

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This is a spoiler-free review for Darkdawn, but will contain spoilers for Nevernight and Godsgrave.


The Nevernight Chronicles has been one of my favourite series since I discovered it about this time last year. I loved Nevernight, absolutely adored Godsgrave, and therefore had sky-high expectations for the concluding book, Darkdawn. Unfortunately after two amazing books, the final installment in this series was a serious disappointment. I am going to keep this review on the shorter side, as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it yet!



The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?


So here’s the thing: there were parts of Darkdawn that I loved. I absolutely adored certain new characters, I shrieked with delight when we found out the identiy of the mysterious narrator, and I enjoyed everything that had to do with Mia’s revenge story. There were, however, a number of places where Kristoff lost me. A lot of this comes down to personal preference, so take all of this all with a grain of salt.

As always, the world of the Nevernight Chronicles is fantastic. I really loved revisiting old locations and settings, as well as discovering new ones. I always love anything that has to do with the darkin, and we continue to learn more about the lore of this world. We also dive deeper into the more, as I call it, fantasy-y side of the story. We are introduced to this in Godsgrave, however it completely dominates the story in Darkdawn. I really didn’t enjoy this particular aspect of the story, which meant that I didn’t enjoy the majority of the plot. I found it so far off from the story I fell in love with — Mia’s tale of revenge and murder.

I think my biggest issue with the book is Mia and her story arc. For me, she’s always toed the line between being completely and totally awesome and a total caricature. In Nevernight and Godsgrave, she was such an incredible character and in Darkdawn, she just seemed ridiculous and like a parody of herself. I didn’t feel like she was acting like the character I’ve come to know over the course of the series and some of the decisions she made just didn’t make any sense. The Mia Corvere I know and love wasn’t present in Darkdawn.

The rest of my thoughts on this book are super spoilery, so I’m going to leave this review here. To me, the pacing in Darkdawn was off, the characters were off, and the plot was off. To me, Darkdawn felt more like poorly written fanfiction* than the concluding book in one of my favourite series. While there were some bits I really loved, I mostly found Darkdawn underwhelming and disappointing.


*I hope it’s obvious that this is not a knock on fanfiction, but I’m including this note here anyway. After all, we Nevernight fans do love a footnote.


Want to try Darkdawn for yourself? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):

Book Depository | Blackwells


Have you read Darkdawn? What did you think? Is it in your TBR? Let me know!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

  1. I still haven’t gotten around to this, but your review makes me want to put it off indefinitely! But I do want to finish the trilogy. Can’t deny I’m disappointed by all the lackluster reviews I’ve been seeing, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t actually read the review, since I want to read the book first. But I’m shocked about the 2 star rating! Definitely shoudl read your review after I finished the book!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have nailed it, the biggest problem I had with this one– “I didn’t feel like she was acting like the character I’ve come to know over the course of the series and some of the decisions she made just didn’t make any sense.” Yes. It felt more like the plot was overriding the character, whereas before everything was character driven. I wish I had thought of this when writing my review….I lament. Still, I did overall have a good time with it, but it was a disappointment compared to the other two books.

    Liked by 1 person

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