Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must became a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
I read this in February and I have no idea why it has taken me so long to review this. I just wasn’t sure if I would have a lot to say about it but I decided to just sit down and see what came out. Turns out I actually had quite a bit to say about it!
First I just want to gush to you all about that gorgeous cover! This book was 100% a cover buy because as soon as I saw pictures of it all over Instagram, I just knew I had to have it. That cover is just so powerful and definitely eye-catching! It just really drew me in and I wanted to know what it meant by “Never Flinch. Never Fear. Never Forget.” I feel so happy having this book on my shelf and I occasionally pick it up just to marvel at the beauty of it!
Now into the actual review! I’m not going to lie, the start of this book was incredibly boring. I was really disappointed because this book cost me a lot of money and I felt like I’d just wasted it. Even now I still have no idea what on earth the first chapter was about? I was completely lost and I was praying the rest of the book wasn’t going to be as confusing as the start of it was. The first couple chapters had a lot of smilies and metaphors and I felt like a lot of them didn’t really make sense. It kind of felt like they were there to try and impress me. Like when someone uses big words they don’t understand. I was not impressed. I was really more confused and irritated. Another thing that really annoyed me was the narrator kept saying “O, Daughters.” It got to the point when it had been used so many times I was sick of seeing it.
I would like to say things got better after that but they didn’t really. The thing I hated most about this book was that it had footnotes. Footnotes. I honestly felt like I was reading an academic essay, it was so bad. They would mention something and instead of expanding on it like a normal book, there would be a star next to it and then at the bottom of the page there would be a footnote giving you a history lesson. Sometimes the footnote would be half a page long and I ain’t down for that. No, no, no. The footnotes just ruined the story for me. I’d be trying to get into the story, then I’d have to stop and read half a page of footnotes. By the time I finished the footnotes I completely forgot what had happened in the story. I didn’t have a clue what was happening and it was very annoying. Anyway, around page fifty I was debating whether or not to give up with this book but I really didn’t want to so I decided to just skip the footnotes. I’d just ignore the star and carry on reading the story which probably wasn’t the best idea because I didn’t have a clue what they were referring to half the time! But I was able to actually get into the story without any interruptions and I actually found that I liked it after that! Without the footnotes, it was a lot easier to read and definitely more enjoyable. I was able to digest the story in my own way and picture the world in my mind.
The first 100 pages is split between the past and the present which I thought was really interesting. At first it did throw me off a bit but then I found that I actually enjoyed the chapters set in the past more. It’s just setting up the story and explaining what led Mia to the path she is on now. It’s such a sad story and I felt really sad for Mia but she is an incredibly strong character. She is definitely a fighter and I really admired that about her. It also explained the words “Never Flinch. Never Fear. Never Forget“, where they came from and what they mean to Mia. They are repeated quite a lot throughout but in a good way because they help Mia be strong and of course they teach her not to be scared and not to forget what happened when she was younger. Another thing that bothered me through was that these chapters stopped all of a sudden. I guess they weren’t needed anymore? I don’t know but I would have liked more of them.
The start of the book is quite slow but then it really picks up and it has a lot of fight scenes. It’s very past faced and I was flying through it. It’s annoying that the start is such a let down because if I decided to not carry on reading it, I wouldn’t have found all the things I love about this book. I loved all of the characters because they were all so different in their own way and had different reasons for wanting to become a Blade, which is just an assassin, basically. They are attending this school to learn different ways to murder people through fighting or poison, stuff like that. They also learn how to pickpocket and deceive others so it was quite a creative story. That’s probably why this book is so long because the first half is introducing Mia as a character and telling us about her backstory, why she wants to become a Blade, etc. Then we read about her attending these lessons and her fight to beat everyone. She wants to become a Blade so she can take revenge on the men who murdered her father and only a select amount of people can become Blades in the end. So she is obviously fighting very hard since the past six years she has trained for this very moment.
The last 100 pages of the book just completely exploded because so much was happening! Mia became a really kickass character and completely owned everyone. There were a lot of characters being stabbed in the back and betrayed so it was full of awesome plot twists! I really didn’t expect the ending, it shocked me. It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that there was a lot of killings going on in this book and Mia was at the centre of it but she was just so badass! She took her powers to a completely new level and dived in and out of shadows while completely slaughtering her enemies. She was such an awesome character!
I really loved Mister Kindly who is Mia’s shadow cat. I don’t fully understand what he is but I can’t remember if it was explained in the book. The book ends on a stupid cliffhanger like Mia is talking to Mister Kindly, trying to find out more about them and what they are. Then she asks a question but she doesn’t get a reply and it just ends. I was like WHAT??? What is this ending???? Ugh, the frustration was real. I guess we won’t find out anymore until book two because it says at the end we might think we know her but we don’t. So obviously they can’t explain everything in one book. But still! I did not like that ending.
This may or may not be a spoiler I’m not sure. It’s about one of the characters but I’m not going to say who it was so it’s up to you if you consider this a spoiler and if you want to read it or avoid it. I completely and utterly fell in love with one of the characters. After Mia, they were my second favourite and I became so attached to them. Like ridiculously attached. And then I read the ending. And it destroyed me. They died at the end and I felt like I’d just been ripped to shreds! My heart hurt so damn much! Like I’ve read a lot of character deaths but this one really upset me and left me emotionally scarred by the end because that was brutal. So brutal. I was absolutely devastated. It hit me real hard. How could he do that to me? My poor heart.
Overall it’s hard to say if I would recommend this book or not. The start wasn’t great but the end definitely makes up for it. It was definitely an exciting and interesting read! I’m unsure whether or not I will read book two I’ll probably just decide when it comes out. If the cover is half as gorgeous as this one then I’ll definitely end up buying it because I can’t resist a cover like that! It’s completely up to you if you read it or not! I hope you found this review somewhat helpful! Thank you so much for reading!