Published by Ace Trade, Penguin on September 2, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General
In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover...
Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.
Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings. Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them.
And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost...
The Midnight Queen has many different feels to it. It is like a historical and a fantasy all rolled into one. The world felt very realistic with a current of magic running throughout. It is a setting that I really take to. I love imagining our world (or historical London) as a magical place with wizards and spells and intrigue around every corner.
The story follows Grey, who is studying to hone his magic and the young Sophie. Sophie is age appropriate for young adult books, but the language and writing style of this book is much more on an adult level. I don’t mean profanity, I mean the actual language. It is more dense and flowery. It takes a while to get used to the way the book is written and the meandering slow pace at which the story unfolds but both the language and the pacing felt very fitting for the time period and the overall atmosphere of the book. Grey and Sophie are both very likable, and the adventure that they eventually embark on kept getting more and more interesting.
At times this book dragged a bit for me, but it was the kind of story that you won’t be able to guess what is going to happen next. Author Sylvia Izzo Hunter unfolds the story right before your eyes slowly- bit by bit. The story took a while to draw me in, but the mysterious air that surrounded all of the characters kept me interested enough to keep going. I really enjoyed the story, and how it was continually surprising me. I didn’t read the Midnight Queen all in one sitting. More than once I found myself putting the book down and picking up something different, but I was always drawn back to the story. I wanted to see what happened.
Sophie is incredible. I loved watching her discover herself and figure out the puzzles along with Grey. I am not sure which of them I ended up liking more. They are both unique in their own way. Sophie is such a strong girl, and watching her come into her powers was so satisfying. The Midnight Queen is an interesting story and will be great for readers of historical and fantasy lovers a like. Just give the start of the book some patience and don’t give up on it too early. I think you will enjoy the rich and detailed story and world that Slyvia Izzo Hunter has created.
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