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Midnight Never Come (Onyx Court 1) Paperback – 13 Nov 2015
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"Stunningly conceived and exquisitely achieved"- --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
MIDNIGHT NEVER COME seamlessly weaves together Elizabethan history and the fantastic to dazzling effect. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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So why as many as 4*s? The last third of the book really takes off. The climax is terrific and kept me up for 2 nights straight. Brennan writes very well and can really ratchet up tension. If the beginning hadn't been so muddly it'd have 5*s from me.
If you're into faeries, Elizabethan Court intrigue AND brain teasers you will love this.
Oh - and there's a sequel, confusingly (there's a surprise ...) it's called 'In Ashes Lie: Bk 2' (wot happened to In Ashes Lie:Bk 1 you may well ask. As did I. But this is a second book set in the Onyx Court mileu) AND there's a Kindle-only novella 'Deeds of Men (Onyx Court)' which sits in time between the other two.
Lady Lune, a courtier to the faerie queen Invidiana (whose court exists in parallel to Elizabeth's) is in disgrace for making a bad bargain with the sea faeries in return for their defeating the Spanish Armada. Desperate to redeem herself, she is tasked to spy on Walsingham and attempt to gain leverage over him but is distracted by Tiresias, a mortal in service to Invidiana who suffers visions of the future. Tiresias tells Lune to find Francis Merriman as he is the only one who knows how Invidiana came to ascend the throne of her Onyx Court and wreck an awful tyranny over the English faeries.
Lune and Michael's investigations coincide with each other. They come to realise that they need the help of the other if they are to bring down Invidiana's rule while preserving Elizabeth's.
A deftly researched book, with some wonderful period detail with regard to the politics and intrigue of Elizabeth's court and faerie folklore, the research never overpowers the story and Brennan's world building makes for a fascinating read. Because Brennan's interest is in the unravelling of a political mystery, the events in the book unfold quite slowly, which may put off those who prefer their historical fantasy to contain more action, although there some set-piece fight scenes that are exciting to read.
Michael's desire for advancement is more convincing that Lune's desire for redemption. She seems too easily swayed from her task and for a supposedly savvy player within Invidiana's court, she falls into the traps of other courtiers too easily. The `real' historical characters are convincing, particularly Walsingham, who is intelligent but in poor health and Elizabeth herself - shrewd, powerful and slightly bored with her court.
I would have liked to see a couple of scenes showing how Anne and Michael's romance developed and the ending feels slightly rushed. However this is an absorbing read that's well written and I want to read more from this author.
I enjoy a story which has a strong factual basis and then spins a web of 'what if' across it (I loved 'The Anubis Gate' and 'Declare' by Tim Powers for the same reason although his work is slightly darker). This book exceeded my expectations and in my opinion proves the adage that a book should not be judged by its cover (which in this case hints at something far more in the 'chick-lit canon).
I was impressed and after this introduction will be reading more of Brennan's work. I rarely write reviews of books here but in this case I hope that more people take a look at work by this talented author.
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It's 1588, Elizabeth is on throne in London, and the ambitious young Michael Deven has just landed a plum job in her private guard.Read more