Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
|Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan|
|Reviewer: Myfanwy Rodman|
|Summary: An intriguing and original historical fantasy.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: May 2008|
England, 1588 and the English have successfully defeated the Spanish Armada. Michael Devon, a young nobleman, comes to court to join the Queen's retinue and to offer his services to Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster. But deep beneath the city of London there lies another kingdom, a mirror image of the world above encased in stone halls that never see the light of day, this is the court of Invidiana, the Fairy Queen.
Invidiana's rule is cruel, vicious and full of secrets: her courtiers vie for power in a deadly game where the losers are often hideously punished, and it is all too easy to fall from grace. Lady Lune is one of the fallen. Desperate to survive the treacherous fairy court, after failing a mission set by the Queen, she finds herself tangled in webs of intrigue that she cannot control. When these intrigues leave her cast out, friendless and hunted, Lune begins to question the world she knows. Where do Invidiana's terrible powers come from? Why is she so hated by the Wild Hunt? And does Tiresias, Invidiana's mortal pet, see prophetic visions or the delusions of a madman?
Marie Brennan's Midnight Never Come is a historical thriller with a fascinating twist. Her use of fairies that are a part of the folklore of England is original and adds great depth to the story. Her fairy court is atmospheric and eerie and perfectly mirrors the royal court above ground, just as Invidiana the Fairy Queen mirrors Elizabeth 'Glorianna,' Queen of England.
Her use of historical facts is deft and her detailed research shows through in her countless references to the people and events of Elizabethan England. Mentions of England's war with Holland, the death of Mary Queen of Scots and the publication of Spenser's The Faerie Queene, all ground this novel in place and time. As does her use of dialogue, which is not too archaic but formal enough to give a flavour of Tudor England.
This novel starts slowly and is slightly complicated by the constant shifts in time. Sections move from 1588 forward as far as 1603 and then back to 1574 and 1547. The reader sometimes has to check to see which time period a scene is set in. Though by the end of the novel it's clear why Brennan has chosen this technique, it is a little confusing.
This is largely a mystery novel, with Michael Devon and Lady Lune struggling to understand the complexities of the two courts and the action only revving up as it nears the climax. As with many modern fantasy novels – and strangely enough a lot of those that are written by women – fight scenes are kept to a minimum.
Because of the slow build-up there is little of the epic feel about this novel and though the ending is satisfyingly explosive, the sense of imminent threat is weak, which was disappointing. An added bonus to this edition was the extra section at the back, where the author writes about the book and their processes in creating it. As both a fantasy writer and a genre fan I found this section very interesting. Overall Midnight Never Come is an intriguing example of historical fantasy.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Silverhorse by Lene Kaaberbol.
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