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Midnight Never Come (The Onyx Court, Book 1) Paperback – June 9, 2008

37 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Onyx Court Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Stunningly conceived and exquisitely achieved, this rich historical fantasy portrays the Elizabethan court 30 years into the reign of the Virgin Queen, often called Gloriana. Far below ground, her dark counterpart, heartless Invidiana, rules England's fae. Brennan (Warrior and Witch) pairs handsome young courtier Michael Deven, an aspiring agent under spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham, with bewitching fae Lune, who attempts to avoid Invidiana's wrath by infiltrating Walsingham's network in mortal guise. History and fantasy blend seamlessly as Deven and Lune tread their precarious tightropes between loyalty and betrayal. Brennan's myriad fantastical creations ring as true as her ear for Elizabethan and faerie dialogue. With intriguing flashbacks to historical events and a cast of deftly drawn characters both real and imagined, Brennan fleshes out the primal conflict of love and honor pitted against raging ambition and lust for power in a glittering age when mortals could well be such fools as to sell their souls forever. (June)
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"Stunningly conceived and exquisitely achieved." - Publishers Weekly (starred review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Onyx Court (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1st edition (June 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031602029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316020299
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marie Brennan is an anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She most recently misapplied her professors' hard work to the Onyx Court historical fantasy series (Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, A Star Shall Fall, and With Fate Conspire). She is also the author of the doppelanger duology of Warrior and Witch, the urban fantasy Lies and Prophecy, the upcoming adventure A Natural History of Dragons, and more than forty short stories.

When she's not obsessing over historical details too minute for anybody but her to care about, she practices shorin-ryu karate and pretends to be other people in role-playing games (which sometimes find their way into her writing).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In 1588, England flourishes under the rein of Queen Elizabeth, but deep in the hidden catacombs beneath London, a second queen reins: Invidiana, the cruel, cold-hearted ruler of faerie England. Above ground, Deven enters Elizabeth's court while below ground, Lune is cast from Invidiana's court, and when the two are drawn together they must discover the secret bond that joins the two monarchs--and break it. Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy which takes full advantage of both parts, spinning out a vivid story of faerie magic which is intimately bound by English politics. Intelligent, skillfully written, but a bit tied up in research, this is a solidly good book that never quite manages to be exceptional. I recommend it.

Brennan has done a remarkable job researching and conceptualizing her England, where human and faerie courts mirror each other--but thorough research is at once a strength and a weakness as Midnight Never Come becomes somewhat tied up by history. Infrequent flashbacks, many of which recount real events, seem like welcome historical background--but most of them are unnecessary deviations that carry the reader away from the book's plot and towards a greater historical arc. 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. As a result, the historical setting is authentic and the faerie court is realistically conceived within it, and so setting and plot are strong. But these large aspects eclipse local aspects, and so the characters remain underdeveloped.

Limited emotional impact aside, Midnight Never Come is an intelligent, enjoyable, and constantly strong book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RaV on December 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
London 1554 - Elizabeth is in the tower awaiting Mary's decision regarding her protestant beliefs, when she gets a visit from Invidiana, a Fairy!

Midnight Never Come is a "what if" kind of book. What if Elizabeth's decisions and entire political career were influenced by a Fairy Queen? A fairy queen who rules Fae London in the Onyx Hall, which exists just below the streets of London itself.

Invidiana is the Fae Queen in question who strikes a deal with Elizabeth that is supposed to aid both of them in their quest for the throne and their reigns as Queen. But something goes wrong, and the pact they make isn't all it is cracked up to be. Lune, a courtier of Invidiana, is assigned the task of living as a human amongst the mortals to gain knowledge of the goings on in Elizabeth's court. During her stay she meets and falls in love with Michael Devin, a human. Together with the help of some very interesting fae creatures and very unique mortals, they discover the origins of Invidiana & Elizabeth's pact and the trouble it is about to bring to both of their worlds. Their mission is to set things right.

What I liked: The characters were very well developed and the descriptiveness of old world England and Fairy England was wonderful. I felt like I was right there in the book while I was reading. I have a special appreciation for Queen Elizabeth and Elizabethan England, so I enjoyed reading a supernatural spin on the story. Amongst the history and politics resides a love story.

What I didn't like: The beginning of the book was a little slow, but once things picked up, I couldn't put the book down.

Last word: If you like reading historical fiction as I do from time to time, this book is for you. It blends all the majesty of Queen Elizabeth's England with the fantastical, beautiful and sometimes mischievous fae.

Reviewed by Christel
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim C. Hines on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
With her latest book, Brennan has moved from more traditional sword & sorcery to intricate historical fantasy. Anyone wanting or expecting more of the same might be disappointed. I was not.

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. The Onyx Court is a dark shadow of the city above, a secret place of cruelty and deception. One member of Invidiana's court, a faerie named Lune, struggles to regain the favor of her queen by spying on events above. Lune's counterpart is the human courtier Michael Deven, who has been tasked by spymaster Francis Walsingham with finding the hidden player influencing Queen Elizabeth. As Lune and Deven discover the secrets behind Invidiana's power and the true nature of the faerie queen's pacts, they must choose whether to work together, risking everything to try to break Invidiana's rule.

Lune was a more appealing character to me, in part I think because her stakes were higher. Whereas Deven starts out trying to secure a position in Elizabeth's court, Lune serves a more temperamental and dangerous ruler in a court that makes human politics look as simplistic and straightforward as the squabbling of preschoolers. Watching Lune navigate that court, seeing her fall and struggle to rise again, leaves Deven feeling a little bland by comparison.

I confess to being a poor historian, but even to my eye it's clear Brennan has done a great deal of research for this book. Every detail is meticulous and precise, evoking not a generic English fantasy setting but a very real and concrete place and time.
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