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Midnight Never Come

by Marie Brennan, Andrea Blendl (Translator)

Series: Onyx Court (1)

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7003023,211 (3.76)52
In the thirty years since Elizabeth I ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. And a faerie lady's courage and loyalty are about to be tested.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
From a slow and somewhat tottering start (for me), this finished strongly. The second half of the book really gets some momentum and complexity going, weaving together all the stuff that was laid on in the first half (I just really wish Ms Brennan had found a better, tighter, snappier way to deliver us that first half). I remain uncertain about aspects of the way it's laid out - the "memory" sections, in particular, are baffling in their placement, which is almost always after you've found out in prose recollection the scenes depicted - but it all came together in a very satisfying way.

I am not especially learned in the area of Elizabethan history, but I have read a good deal about alchemy and John Dee, and I was extremely pleased with the rendition of him and Edward Kelley in this book, and that prompts me to suspect that it's pretty well historically pieced together throughout. And the faerie court is everything beautiful and cruel and whimsical and menacing and it's pretty much damn perfect. I was even pleased with the path of the romantic storyline.

Not to mention that this basically shits all over Mark Chadbourn's The Sword of Albion, containing all the subtlety, intricacy, emotional depth and ambiguity I (loudly) lamented the lack of in that book. And if Ms Brennan's prose doesn't quite resonate with me, it's still eminently serviceable and very graceful. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
The Fae have always been around. But even they can change. Humans are like that, whatever gets close to them is altered. So although the faerie began by merely jesting, swapping children, dancing the nights away, slowly some of the human motivations began to creep into their lives. And the humans don't stop, they build hamlets become villages and cities. Where once (and still in the deeper shadows) the fae played in Hill and Glen, now there is the Oynx Court most fabulous and unique of all their realms.

It sits astride, beneath, apart and contained within the City of London currently ruled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I - recently having taking power from her cousin Mary Queen of Scots. Such little trifles as human wars and tensions between nations matter little to the fae of course. But their Queen has made a bargain, and so at times Elizabeth requires aid, and the Fae are sent with a portion of mortal bread to sustain their masquerade at court.

Luna is one such, out of favour with her own Queen and not noticed by the other. She's tasked to learn more about he chief spymaster as the Fae could do without the humans learning too much about them - even immortal beings are susceptible to fervent religion uttered at them. However when she falls even further out of favour, she finds aid in a quarter she'd never expected, and then it all comes down to trust.

I'm not a big fan of historical fiction but this is counterbalanced by a very well done faerie world. Lots of beings lots of conflicting motivations, a good sense of time and the problems of humans. I'll probably read the rest of the series especially if they're set closer to our own time. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 28, 2017 |
I have had this book on my to be read pile for quite a while. I really enjoyed the Warrior and Witch series by Brennan and was excited to read this one. I didn’t like this as much as the Warrior and Witch series; it was just kind of slow.

The whole premise of this book is that there is a fae court ruled by a Queen named Invidiana that lies beneath the English court of Queen Elizabeth. Initially it’s not all that clear what is driving the story. We basically switch between Lady Lune and Michael Deven’s stories. Lady Lune is trying to regain the favor of Queen Invidiana and survive the shadow court. Meanwhile Deven is trying to gain Queen Elizabeth’s favor and make a name for himself.

This story is largely layers of intrigue and conspiracy (not my favorite thing to read about). There is a lot of history in here as well, which was interesting some of the time but started to bog the story down towards the end.

Additionally I never really engaged with the characters all that well. Lady Lune and Deven both seem strangely isolated and self-serving; they just weren’t all that interesting to me.

The story moves slowly, at the beginning it doesn’t seem to have much of a point. As things continue you can see that Invidiana is having a negative impact on both fairy and human lands and then the story becomes more cohesive. As far as the writing style itself; the book is decently written and flows well. I

Overall this was an okay book. The book is well written and the idea behind a underground fae court that drives Queen Elizabeth’s above court is interesting. However the story moved slow and was bogged down by a lot of the history. The story was also primarily intrigue based which really isn’t my thing. I personally won’t be reading any more books in this series; it just wasn’t that interesting to me. ( )
  krau0098 | Dec 3, 2016 |
Summary: During the reign of Elizabeth I, England was flourishing, and Elizabeth's court was a center of power and influence. But underneath London, there was another court, equally powerful. Invidiana, faerie queen of the Onyx Court, rules with a power just as ruthless as that of her mortal counterpart, and the politics of the two realms are intertwined to a degree known only by a very few in either the human or fairy realms. In the mortal world, Deven, a young courtier eager to gain a place in Elizabeth's court and thus secure his position, begins to uncover dark secrets and hints of threats against Elizabeth's power. In the fairy court, Lune has fallen from favor after making a unfavorable bargain with the water fae, and is now caught between the queen and her ambitious and deadly lieutenant. Lune must keep her true identity hidden from Deven, even as he unknowingly stumbles closer to the truth, but in the end it will take both of them working together if they are to save both of their realms from disaster.

Review: On the surface, I should have loved this book. Elizabethan England! Fairies! Hidden secrets! Glamours and intrigues and spies and double-agents and a cameo by John Dee! Marie Brennan's lovely writing, which I'd only previously encountered in short story form, but which I really enjoyed! But something about it never quite clicked for me, so even though I should have loved it, it took me a very long time to get through this book, and it wound up being not quite as good as I would have hoped.

While I felt like the book kept me at arms' length from the characters and the story for most of its length, particularly in the beginning, it did definitely pick up steam once we found out more about what the issue was and got more of the history and the backstory and the actual conflict, with the result that I was much more absorbed in the back half of the book than I was in the front half. It's a clever idea that Brennan's playing with, and it ultimately did wind up delivering the thing that I want from my historical fantasy: a feeling of resonance and power and plausibility. I know the history (well enough, anyways); what I want is for authors to weave a fantasy world around and through that history that leaves me feeling like "yes, that could be true." Elizabeth I's reign was pretty phenomenal in a lot of aspects, so sure, maybe there *was* a bargain with the fae at the heart of it. And by the end of this book, I was there; Brennan pulls from a lot of British Isles mythology, and winds up with exactly the kind of resonance and authenticity that I wanted.

However, the set up to get to that point took a looooong time (or maybe it just seemed that way because of how slowly I was reading - kind of a chicken-and-the-egg thing: was it a general lack of interest in reading that made this book seem so slow, or was the slowness of the book sapping my interest in reading it?) So, while this book had a lot of good elements, it took me a long time to get to them, and this book never really got into my brain or into my heart the way a lasting favorite would. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I liked this one but didn't love it, but if books about the Faerie Court or Tudor-era England (or both!) are your thing, then I think it'd be worth a try. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Jul 2, 2016 |
Interesting concept, but veeeery slow read. Never warmed up to any of the characters. ( )
  thedreadcat | Apr 9, 2016 |
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In the thirty years since Elizabeth I ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. And a faerie lady's courage and loyalty are about to be tested.

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England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs. But a great light casts a great shadow. In 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 few. Two 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.
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