Title: The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae #1)
Author: Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Release Date: September 2, 2014
“I know what I am running from. What am I running towards?”
Set in an alternate England in the early 1800s, we follow Graham “Gray” Marshall as he’s expelled from Oxford’s magickal Merlin College after a midnight errand goes awry. Gray is taken by Appius Callender (the Professor who sent Gray and his friends on the ill-fated mission) to his estate where Gray has very little freedoms and trouble accessing his magic. The only bright spot during his dreary days is Sophie Callender, the Professor’s middle daughter. Together, Gray and Sophie begin to unravel secrets about themselves and their histories as they discover more about their own magick.
Things I Liked
I really liked Sophie. She’s precocious and quizzical. She likes to discover things and learn. She is assertive and bold without ever being cold or distant. She also has a really great self discovery journey in the story.
I enjoyed the relationships in the story. There’s a great found family aspect to the story that I really appreciated. We see these characters come together and support each other, encouraging one another to be better, and be more. The relationships all felt really real, they were easy to connect to.
I like that Gray could shape shift in the story. It was one of the more defined magickal elements we got in the story. And I really loved seeing it, because shape shifters are always cool.
Things I Didn’t Like
Personal preference, but I found the chapters to be really long. I have a harder time getting into books with longer chapters, and they never hold my attention as well as books with shorter, more focused chapters.
I found the beginning of the story to be very muddled. You jump right into the action, which is good, but we have really no clue who-is-who, where they are, or what they’re doing. We get a lot of information thrown at us and very little context to form the story in our minds.
Magick really seemed to take a backseat for most of the story. This is much more of a personal journey story, that happens to have magic in it. I was hoping for more magick and magickal worldbuilding, but it felt like the world in the story just existed. We weren’t being introduced to it, it’s already here and we should know about it.
I also thought the pacing was a little slow and drawn out. We actually get a lot of information in the first 100 pages, but then it takes time where nothing is really happening, to do something with that information. The book felt like it lacked urgency, even though there were high stakes and dangerous threats from the Professor.
The Midnight Queen has some great characters and micro relationships, but lacked worldbuilding and urgency for me personally. This is one of those adult novel that can have cross over appeal with YA audiences, so I still think you can check out the story and see if it’s for you. The story wasn’t as magickal for me as I would have hoped, but I do feel like I read a complete story, even though this is only the first in a series.
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.