Finally, after spending time trying to conceptualize my review of Midnight Never Come, I have come up with the perfect metaphor for how I feel about this book. Instead of taking me into the Onyx Court and drawing parallels with Elizabeths London home, because they are essentially light and dark mirror images of each other, Brennan does the opposite. Really, I didnt need to read about Elizabeths court so that I could draw my own dark conclusions about Invidianas, I should have been shown the Faerie Queens so that I could reconcile it with what I know about the real world. (view spoiler)I thought Indiviana would be the SERIES villain, I didnt think shed disappear at the end of this book.
Fired up with enthusiasm for Brennans work and knowing theres a wait until the next Lady Trent book, I finally decided to read it. To me, reading it that way, the pacing was mostly really good, though some of Michael Devens sections were frustratingly disconnected from the main plot partly by their mundanity, and partly because Michael isnt a major player or even properly clued in for a lot of the book.
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.
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.
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 be more fantasy-tudor books! 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. - I think that my main issue with this book it that it feels like a fairy tale. They felt like the fairy tale characters that I described. 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.
Brennan has done a remarkable job researching and conceptualizing her England, where human and faerie courts mirror each otherbut thorough research is at once a strength and a weakness as Midnight Never Come becomes somewhat tied up by history. 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. 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. 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.
But while Elizabeth has no interest in interfering with Invidiana and her subjects, the fairy queens agenda leads her to both help and hinder Elizabeth. Because much of the plot hinges on politics and espionage we see little of the pageantry and color of Elizabeths court, but we do get to see its darker corners, and meet some of historys 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 Invididanas 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, Elizabeths 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.
With her latest book, Brennan has moved from more traditional sword & sorcery to intricate historical fantasy. 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. One member of Invidiana's court, a faerie named Lune, struggles to regain the favor of her queen by spying on events above.
Two Queens Elizabeth I of England & Invidiana of the Onyx Court. Two Identities the faerie Lady Lune & her mortal glamour Anne Montrose; Invidiana & Suspiria. In so doing, she takes a task to infiltrate the court of Queen Elizabeth by assuming the identity of Anne Montrose. Deven finds Anne (Lune) and learns of her dual identity and her mission to spy on Elizabeth. Deven feels betrayed and is hurt Lunes deception, but looks past it to help undo the pact that is hurting both courts. Deven and Lune learn of Invidianas true identity and the curse she tried to lift by creating the Onyx Court. 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.