Midnight Never Come: The Onyx Court (Book 1)
by Marie Brennan
“England flourishes under the hand of Elizabeth I, last 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 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.
When the faerie Lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Devan, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Devan’s courage alike. Will she betray her queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the Machiavellian world of the fae? Only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power – find it, and break it…”
While reading The Memoir of Lady Trent series (A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, Voyage of the Basilisk and In the Labyrinth of Drakes so far) I noticed that Marie Brennan was re-releasing some of her previous work, The Onyx Court series was previously published 2008-2011. So I decided I wanted to read them as I was enjoying The Memoir of Lady Trent series so much, even though I did not bother to read any of the blurbs or anything about them before buying Midnight Never Come.
Elizabeth I made a pact with a faerie (called Invidiana) before she came to her throne, and this fact is unknown to all. Michael Deven is trying to make his place at court, he becomes a Gentleman Pensioner and finds Walsingham whom he ends up working for. Lune (a faerie of the Onyx Court) has fallen out of Invidiana’s favour and to try to regain it she ends up in the mortal court spying on Walsingham, to do this she must wear a disguise. But the faerie dealings in the mortal court seem to run deeper than first thought.
I think Lune is my favourite character of all of them, just because of following her so closely and feeling her emotions and the desperation that she goes through at points. I love her so much, you can see that not all fae are strong and powerful. Closely following are Michael Deven and the Goodemeade sisters. All the characterisations are great, the relationships are fabulous and the long term ones are already solid while the ones that develop over the book develop naturally.
I think most of my favourite bits were in the second half, but I really liked the moments between Michael Deven and Anne Montrose, and I also liked the bits with Walsingham and Elizabeth I in as having studied them at school it is fascinating to see them come to life.
Midnight Never Come had plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing all the way to the end. It was a complete page-turner! I did not want to stop reading and first thing this morning I picked up the next book (In Ashes Lie). Midnight Never Come made me tense and scared in all the right places, I almost cried in one or two and I did laugh in a couple of places as well.
Midnight Never Come does end semi-tied up, but also on a cliffhanger as The Onyx Court series continues in In Ashes Lie, which I did start this morning due to the fact that I could not wait any longer than the time that I had slept!
The way I described the book while reading it was historical fiction and fantasy at the same time, as it is set in Elizabethan London with fae. I personally cannot find any fault with it and would recommend it to anyone. 5 out of 5.