Midnight Never Come - Marie Brennan

Midnight Never Come - Marie Brennan

A solid three stars for the majority of the book, reduced to two stars for its irritatingly overblown, happily-ever-after ending.


Midnight Never Come is a tale of two courts: the mortal court of Queen Elizabeth I in London and the faerie court below, ruled by the brutal Invidiana. Lady Lune, a disgraced courtier of Invidiana's Onyx Court, is sent to redeem herself by spying on Elizabeth's spymaster, Walsingham. In order to do this, she disguises herself as a mortal woman, Anne Montrose, and gets one of Walsingham's men, Michael Deven, to fall in love with her (Brennan is hazy on exactly how she does this; certainly there's never a hint of chemistry or sexual tension between them). Then A Thing happens (I forget precisely what it was) and she resolves to bring the Onyx Court down.


I guess I just never felt that there was any substance to the book. Certainly the first third or so feels bitty and unfocused; Brennan jumps around temporally quite a bit, and skips over stuff that seems significant. Its middle third hits some mildly interesting faerie politicking with some nice nuggets of worldbuilding, and at this point I was quite enjoying the read in a fluffy sort of way. But the last fifty pages or so made me want to hurl the book against the wall: Brennan doesn't trust her politics to get her where she wants to go, and so indulges in, literally, a deus ex machina and some magical theatrics.


Not that I don't like magical theatrics; I just prefer for them to have some serious consequences rather than just, "Oh, will you look at that, I mended everything". Also, if you are going to pull a rabbit out of the hat (metaphorically speaking) as part of your denouement, you should at least introduce the possibility of the rabbit from the beginning of your book.


Also, the whole Love Conquers All storyline sort of made me want to retch.


Brennan's Natural History of Dragons series is supposed to be quite good, and generally everything this is not, so I may well give that a try in the future, Midnight Never Comes' failings notwithstanding. But I won't be reading the sequel to this one.