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Midnight Never Come I actually picked this up before I ever got into the Lady Trent books, which I have loved so much, but I bought it again when Titan reissued it with a pretty new cover Fired up with enthusiasm for Brennan s work and knowing there s a wait until the next Lady Trent book, I finally decided to read it I was a bit daunted by the length, but in the end that felt perfect just the right amount to dig into The faerie court is interesting, and I enjoy the fact that Brennan kept it period and geograph I actually picked this up before I ever got into the Lady Trent books, which I have loved so much, but I bought it again when Titan reissued it with a pretty new cover Fired up with enthusiasm for Brennan s work and knowing there s a wait until the next Lady Trent book, I finally decided to read it I was a bit daunted by the length, but in the end that felt perfect just the right amount to dig into The faerie court is interesting, and I enjoy the fact that Brennan kept it period and geography appropriate in terms of which sorts of fae were present Genre wise, it feelslike historical fiction than fantasy, in the sense that I think the pacing and politicking belongs to a historical novel, and the fantasy is situated within that historical context rather than the other way round.To me, reading it that way, the pacing was mostly really good, though some of Michael Deven s sections were frustratingly disconnected from the main plot partly by their mundanity, and partly because Michael isn t a major player or even properly clued in for a lot of the book Lune s sections work better because she isaware of the situation on a macro level, and though her goal is personal advancement, at least her eyes are open to the wider implications of what she s involved in.The only part that didn t quite work for me was Michael and Lune s relationship I felt a little lukewarm about them individually, so it didn t add up to muchwith them together, and so parts of the plot which relied on their relationship fell a little bit flat for me I was reallyinterested in some of the background, the history of Invidiana, the links between the courts, etc But overall it still worked pretty well for me, and I m excited to readin this universe I suspect it ll get better as it goes along, too, knowing how much I enjoy Brennan s most recent work.Originally posted here 3.5 stars I really wanted to adore this one, because it combines two of my all time favourite things faeries and Tudors And while I did like it, I didn t love it quite as much as I was hoping to, which is kind of disappointing, because there needs to befantasy tudor books JustI need them But this was quite different from what I had thought it might be like, and although I did think it had a stunning premise, I found it a little hard to connect with the story I wanted to fall in 3.5 stars I really wanted to adore this one, because it combines two of my all time favourite things faeries and Tudors And while I did like it, I didn t love it quite as much as I was hoping to, which is kind of disappointing, because there needs to befantasy tudor books JustI need them But this was quite different from what I had thought it might be like, and although I did think it had a stunning premise, I found it a little hard to connect with the story I wanted to fall in love with characters and rave about this book, and I tried so hard to do that, but it just wasn t happening T H O U G H T S This is a very beautiful book I say that meaning the literal aesthetic The cover is super pretty, and the idea just appeals to me so much Faeries and Tudors This book sounds like it was made for me And the faeries themselves were pretty cool twisty and magical and dark and interesting I loved reading about them I wanted to knowabout the hidden courts and the faeries that lived far from the mortal world I wanted there to be somerich world building and for this to be a big, beautiful, sprawling fantasy novel Unfortunately, we didn t quite get there I think that my main issue with this book it that it feels like a fairy tale Now, I love fairy tales, don t get me wrong They are beautiful stories and are amazing to retell But they are always written slightly detached you don t get right inside the characters, they aren t super well built and detailed And that is really what this book was like Everything was beautiful and lyrical and interesting and had so much potential, but I felt very distanced from the story I could find much connection with the characters, because they were just instruments to tell the tale They felt like the fairy tale characters that I described I really wanted to relate to and love them, but there wasn t enough there for them to feel like real, likable people There were a lot of opportunities for action and high stakes, but the author kept passing them over I wish the story had been littlebroad and less focused on just Lune and Deven oh yeah, I didn t particularly like Deven There was a lot of scheming going on but not much else, and sometimes I really questioned the characters motives I would have loved for there to be a proper battle with the Wild Hunt, but I do understand that this is not that type of book There was a lot to love here, but this one fell a little flat for me I adored the faeries and the way they interfered in England, but I found it hard to get into this book I do think that if I could find it in a library somewhere, I might read the sequel, because I do want to find out what happens next However, I think each book is set in a different time, and just marks what is going on in the Onyx Court during those centuries, so you could read this one as a standalone, if you wanted to I would recommend this book, but only if you like that fairy tale esque sort of narrative, and are interested in the premise, because that s the best bit Beneath Elizabethan London, there is a hidden city, where the faerie queen Invidiana holds court The deal she made with Queen Elizabeth long ago draws mortal Michael Deven and fae Lady Lune, each seeking to gain knowledge and power, into a deadly web of political intrigue which tangles their fates and the fates of their courts together I liked Brennan s previous two books Doppelganger and Warrior and Witch, recently reissued as Warrior and Witch a lot and have been looking forward to thi Beneath Elizabethan London, there is a hidden city, where the faerie queen Invidiana holds court The deal she made with Queen Elizabeth long ago draws mortal Michael Deven and fae Lady Lune, each seeking to gain knowledge and power, into a deadly web of political intrigue which tangles their fates and the fates of their courts together I liked Brennan s previous two books Doppelganger and Warrior and Witch, recently reissued as Warrior and Witch a lot and have been looking forward to this one for a while it doesn t disappoint Instead of using the Seelie vs Unseelie Courts situation which is perhaps overly common in faerie related fiction, Brennan has created a beautifully English feeling fae court with allusions to counterparts in other countries which she weaves seamlessly into her excellent depiction of Elizabethan London Similarly, she mixes her fictional characters nicely with historical people I thought her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth especially convincing In terms of complexity of setting and plot, particularly, I think this is a step up from Warrior and Witch, and I really look forward to seeing Brennan s next book about the Onyx Court which is apparently to be set around the time of the Great Fire This is an elegantly written historical fantasy about two queens and two courts, the mortal one of Elizabeth I, and the fae, known as the Onyx Court, of Invidiana The two courts are linked both by physical proximity the Onyx Court is beneath the city of London and by an arrangement between the two monarchs when Invidiana raises the young Elizabeth to the throne There are fae spies at the mortal court, and mortal pets at the faerie court, but how the two courts are otherwise linked takes aw This is an elegantly written historical fantasy about two queens and two courts, the mortal one of Elizabeth I, and the fae, known as the Onyx Court, of Invidiana The two courts are linked both by physical proximity the Onyx Court is beneath the city of London and by an arrangement between the two monarchs when Invidiana raises the young Elizabeth to the throne There are fae spies at the mortal court, and mortal pets at the faerie court, but how the two courts are otherwise linked takes awhile to unfold The novel concerns the adventures of Michael Deven, one of Elizabeth s pensioners, and the Lady Lune, one of Invidiana s spies The first part of the book is devoted to these characters struggle for upward mobility and Lune in particular to make up for a botched deal she made with the people of the sea At the beginning, the book is merely interesting full of court intrigue and rich with both Elizabethan politics and British faerie lore, but the characters a bit difficult to warm up to I found this a bit of an issue with Brennan s previous books as well, because she is better at showing us what her characters think than what they feel This is particularly problematic with Deven, who at one point is broken hearted over a love we had little chance to see him feel Not that the protagonists aren t likable, butthe literary equivalent of reserved, taking awhile to move from objects of interest to objects of sympathy They do so around the same time that the plot picks up, transforming the book from interesting to compelling to unputdownable Your intellect and imagination may be engaged before your heartstrings are, but by the end of the novel, you should be satisfied all around MIDNIGHT NEVER COMESet during the reign of Elizabeth I, Midnight Never Come tells of two Englands one a realm of mortals ruled by Elizabeth, and one a realm of fairies, ruled by the heartless and exceedingly ruthless Invidiana The two realms and the two rulers are linked by a pact which brought both queens to their thrones But while Elizabeth has no interest in interfering with Invidiana and her subjects, the fairy queen s agenda leads her to both help and hinder Elizabeth She has spies in t MIDNIGHT NEVER COMESet during the reign of Elizabeth I, Midnight Never Come tells of two Englands one a realm of mortals ruled by Elizabeth, and one a realm of fairies, ruled by the heartless and exceedingly ruthless Invidiana The two realms and the two rulers are linked by a pact which brought both queens to their thrones But while Elizabeth has no interest in interfering with Invidiana and her subjects, the fairy queen s agenda leads her to both help and hinder Elizabeth She has spies in the mortal court, and has manipulated events in such a way that Elizabeth has sometimes had no choice but to act as Invidiana chooses, not as she would choose herself.Because much of the plot hinges on politics and espionage we see little of the pageantry and color of Elizabeth s court, but we do get to see its darker corners, and meet some of history s most fascinating characters, like Doctor John Dee.The protagonists of the tale are Lune, who hopes to better her precarious position within the cut throat politics of Invididana s Onyx Court by accepting an assignment to disguise herself as a mortal and spy on the humans, and Michael Deven, a young Englishman whose family has recently been elevated to the gentry, and whose ambitions lead him to work for Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth s spymaster It is inevitable, of course, that these two should meet, and that their agendas should clash over developing events The difference is that Lune knows most of what is afoot, and for much of the book Michael is ignorant However, once he is assigned to uncover a suspected secret influence on the queen, it is not in his nature to leave any possibilities unexplored The pacing of the first part of the story is slow, as Brennan sets up past and present events Just as I was becoming interested in one group of characters, she would switch to another But I have some familiarity with the period and with fairy lore and I was intrigued by the way she wove real events so cleverly with the folklore Then, about halfway through the book, when the various strands of the plot began to come together, and when the personalities of the main characters wereestablished, the story itself became considerablycompelling As well as Invidiana s role in manipulating English politics, there is the mystery of her own origins, the creation of the vast underground Onyx Court, and her ascension to the throne, which Lune and Michael join forces to discover There is also a developing romance, where I would have liked to seedepth of emotion, but the tragedy inherent in a mortal and an immortal falling in love are sufficiently obvious, perhaps the author decided to leave that aspect to the readers imaginations.Brennan is able to inject quite a bit of darkness and suspense, without resorting to much in the way of violence or gore Vicious and ruthless as the fairy queen is, it is the subtlety of her methods and punishments that makes her the most dangerous Overall, I found this a clever and entertaining book, and went straight toafter finishing it, to order the sequel In 1588, England flourishes under the rein of Queen Elizabeth, but deep in the hidden catacombs beneath London, a second queen reins Invidiana, the cruel, cold hearted ruler of faerie England Above ground, Deven enters Elizabeth s court while below ground, Lune is cast from Invidiana s court, and when the two are drawn together they must discover the secret bond that joins the two monarchs and break it Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy which takes full advantage of both parts, spinn In 1588, England flourishes under the rein of Queen Elizabeth, but deep in the hidden catacombs beneath London, a second queen reins Invidiana, the cruel, cold hearted ruler of faerie England Above ground, Deven enters Elizabeth s court while below ground, Lune is cast from Invidiana s court, and when the two are drawn together they must discover the secret bond that joins the two monarchs and break it Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy which takes full advantage of both parts, spinning out a vivid story of faerie magic which is intimately bound by English politics Intelligent, skillfully written, but a bit tied up in research, this is a solidly good book that never quite manages to be exceptional I recommend it.Brennan has done a remarkable job researching and conceptualizing her England, where human and faerie courts mirror each other but thorough research is at once a strength and a weakness as Midnight Never Come becomes somewhat tied up by history Infrequent flashbacks, many of which recount real events, seem like welcome historical background but most of them are unnecessary deviations that carry the reader away from the book s plot and towards a greater historical arc The omniscient narrative voice is already rather distant and cold compounded by these deviations, Midnight Never Come drifts further and further away from the emotional heart of the book that is, the characters As a result, the historical setting is authentic and the faerie court is realistically conceived within it, and so setting and plot are strong But these large aspects eclipse local aspects, and so the characters remain underdeveloped.Limited emotional impact aside, Midnight Never Come is an intelligent, enjoyable, and constantly strong book Brennan s voice is somewhat distant, but it also eloquent, spelling out noble, fluent sentences which work alongside history to build the book s setting and tone Her faeries are grounded in mythology, and have both realistic faults and otherworldy appeal Midnight Never Come s plot ranges from historical to fantastical, a balance of courtly intrigue and faerie magic, dotted by a few character cameos from historical England Events are pleasantly overshadowed but the plot stays a few steps ahead of the reader so that there are always twists and turns to keep it interesting Best of all, the historical and magical elements flow smoothly into one another such that even with an underground faerie court, even with a somewhat unwelcome deus ex machina the book is a plausible, convincing whole.I read Brennan s journal , but this was my first chance to read one of her books and I m glad I did If the concept of faeries within Elizabethan England intrigues you as it did me, then I certainly recommend Midnight Never Come With a lovely writing style, realistic characters, and a brilliantly imagined plot which meshes faerie and historical England with nary a seam, Brennan delivers on the potential that her book promises It never quite manages to become exceptional and the characters are distanced, but all told Midnight Never Come is a solid and enjoyable read I recommend it, and look forward to Brennan s other novels especially those which combine the faerie world with human history England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchsBut a great light casts a great shadowIn hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a fewTwo courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham s His discovery of the hidden player in English politics will test Lune s loyalty and Deven s courage alike Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana s power find it, and break it A breathtaking novel of intrigue and betrayal set in Elizabethan England Midnight Never Come seamlessly weaves together history and the fantastic to dazzling effect With her latest book, Brennan has moved fromtraditional sword sorcery to intricate historical fantasy Anyone wanting or expectingof the same might be disappointed I was not Set in the late 16th century, Midnight Never Comes opens with a pact between two women who will soon become the most powerful rulers in England Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, and Invidiana, faerie ruler of the Onyx Court below London The Onyx Court is a dark shadow of the city above, a secret place of cruelty With her latest book, Brennan has moved fromtraditional sword sorcery to intricate historical fantasy Anyone wanting or expectingof the same might be disappointed I was not Set in the late 16th century, Midnight Never Comes opens with a pact between two women who will soon become the most powerful rulers in England Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, and Invidiana, faerie ruler of the Onyx Court below London The Onyx Court is a dark shadow of the city above, a secret place of cruelty and deception One member of Invidiana s court, a faerie named Lune, struggles to regain the favor of her queen by spying on events above Lune s counterpart is the human courtier Michael Deven, who has been tasked by spymaster Francis Walsingham with finding the hidden player influencing Queen Elizabeth As Lune and Deven discover the secrets behind Invidiana s power and the true nature of the faerie queen s pacts, they must choose whether to work together, risking everything to try to break Invidiana s rule Lune was aappealing character to me, in part I think because her stakes were higher Whereas Deven starts out trying to secure a position in Elizabeth s court, Lune serves atemperamental and dangerous ruler in a court that makes human politics look as simplistic and straightforward as the squabbling of preschoolers Watching Lune navigate that court, seeing her fall and struggle to rise again, leaves Deven feeling a little bland by comparison I confess to being a poor historian, but even to my eye it s clear Brennan has done a great deal of research for this book Every detail is meticulous and precise, evoking not a generic English fantasy setting but a very real and concrete place and time Brennan blends historical detail with the fantastic so smoothly I barely noticed the seams This is a book that invites you to slow down and savor Broken into five acts, each act buildstension, moving from a relatively leisurely introduction toward a muchfocused struggle in the final act By the end, I had a hard time closing the book, and lost quite a bit of sleep as things came to a climax If you re looking for nonstop action and excitement, this may not be the book for you But if you want rich worldbuilding and a story you can truly immerse yourself in, I d recommend picking this one up This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Midnight Never Come is a tale of twos Two Courts Mortal Invidiana Suspiria The moral court is the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England At the start of the story Elizabeth is her prime as monarch Her kingdom is secure thanks to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but she is plagued by the recent execution of Midnight Never Come is a tale of twos Two Courts Mortal Faerie Two Queens Elizabeth I of England Invidiana of the Onyx Court Two Bindings A Curse A Pact Two Identities the faerie Lady Lune her mortal glamour Anne Montrose Invidiana Suspiria The moral court is the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England At the start of the story Elizabeth is her prime as monarch Her kingdom is secure thanks to the defeat of the Spanish Armada, but she is plagued by the recent execution of her cousin Queen Mary of Scotland She feels managed by another and dislikes it The faerie court is ruled by the tyrannical Queen Invidiana Her court is attended by the Lady Lune, who is recently fallen out of Invidiana s favor Lune negotiated a pact with the sea folk to assist the mortal court in the defeat of the Spanish, but overstepped her boundaries when she promised peace Lune is ostracized by Invidiana, but nobly wants to regain favor In so doing, she takes a task to infiltrate the court of Queen Elizabeth by assuming the identity of Anne Montrose.In Queen Elizabeth s court the Lord Walsingham controls the security of the empire through secrecy and espionage Master John Deven seeks to gain social status and courtly favor by working for Walsingham Walingham suspects that the Elizabeth is being influenced by an outsider and he and Deven attempt to solve the puzzle Deven is courting Anne Montrose and he benignly feeds her information regarding the mortal court Deven is in love with Anne and asks for her hand in marriage, but is refused with little explanation Anne disappears and Deven searches for her by using Walsingham s contacts Deven finds Anne Lune and learns of her dual identity and her mission to spy on Elizabeth Deven feels betrayed and is hurt Lune s deception, but looks past it to help undo the pact that is hurting both courts The pact between Elizabeth and Invidiana was made while Elizabeth sat in the Tower under the imprisonment of Queen Mary I The pact binds Elizabeth to Invidiana in exchange for securing the English crown Deven and Lune learn of Invidiana s true identity and the curse she tried to lift by creating the Onyx Court But the creation of the Onyx court was also formed by the pact made with Elizabeth Undoing one would undo the other With the help of mystical advisers, the spirit of the river Thames, angels, wise brownies, and other fae the Onyx Court is released from Invidiana and the pact with Elizabeth is broken Lune with Deven by her side will rule the Onyx Court and coexist with the mortals of London.Firstly, Midnight Never Come is my kind of story Elizabethan historical fantasy And Brennan really gets it right The detail and accuracy of this story is phenomenal I can t imagine exactly how much research when into this, but I bet it tooktime to research the story than to actually write it I loved the characterization of the faeries and mortal courtiers You really feel like you get to know the characters well, but aren t daunted by minutia The settings are beautifully descriptive, but not overpowering The plot is intricate, severe, and you can feel the risk But the plot themes are loosely tied and I feel like it could have been backed up byaction and explanation There were a couple instances where I needed to re read something to make sure I caught all of the details The language is a bit overwhelming and if all of the historical facts weren t accurate I d call it pretentious If it twere packed full of tws, twould ve been twerrific guess that movie No really, I could stomach it, but twas too much Anyway, Midnight Never Come isn t a simple Sunday afternoon book, but it s enjoyable if it s your type of book If not, stay away 2.5This is the sort of book which should be right up my alley a historical fantasy, with Elizabeth Tudor, no less, and fae The book has a slow build and stuff didn t really seem to be really interesting until the last, like, 25% of the book.It s an historical fiction with only glimpses of history, and sometimes give in info dumps And a fae story with a different sort of faerie vibe though that s sort of the point of the story, as it goes to some pains to point out that the Onyx Court is no 2.5This is the sort of book which should be right up my alley a historical fantasy, with Elizabeth Tudor, no less, and fae The book has a slow build and stuff didn t really seem to be really interesting until the last, like, 25% of the book.It s an historical fiction with only glimpses of history, and sometimes give in info dumps And a fae story with a different sort of faerie vibe though that s sort of the point of the story, as it goes to some pains to point out that the Onyx Court is not typical for Faerie I also wished they had stuck with the bit of the lore where view spoiler faeries can t outright lie Would ve added an interesting dimension to this story, but instead we have them lying all over the place hide spoiler In general the story uses different bits of faerie lore, but in its own way.It s also an intrigue book, but one where we, the reader, seemed to know everything that was going on, and it was just a matter of watching the characters figure things out This would be ok if the characters themselves were interesting enough to make the story interesting, though I m not sure they were really strong enough, for me, to carry the story.But towards the end we find that things aren t quite as they seemed, and there are hidden depths going on I also grew to appreciate the romance aspect of the story.It was the ending, really, which decided me to give this 3 stars It was pretty much a 2 star book before then and, as always, I reserve the right to change my rating at a future date.One thing I am glad of is that this story, despite being part of a series, does seem to stand well enough on its own I would ve been very annoyed had I come to the end only to find it be one of those stories where book 1 is really on setup for what s yet to come especially since I m not sure even my enjoyment of the ending was enough to make me want to continue the series.ETA There was one aspect of the writing style which was a bit odd We would have memories sections where we saw bits that had happened prior to the story, which set up the events we saw unfolding This would all be well and good, but the memory bits often came after Deven and Lune had themselves discovered those bits of the story So it s like we get the story of what happened, and then we see it again from a different perspective For a book where I felt pacing was a problem, these bits didn t really seem to offer much Or, rather, they would ve been better had they happened as Deven and Lune were learning of them like movies sort of handle flashbacks and not as ancillary pieces

  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • Midnight Never Come
  • Marie Brennan
  • English
  • 12 December 2019
  • 031602029X

About the Author: Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is the author of the Doppelganger, Onyx Court, Wilders, and Memoirs of Lady Trent series of fantasy novels Sign up for her newsletter here