Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Midnight Queen - Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Summary: 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…

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: I feel like it’s only fair that I tell you right off that the reason I picked this book is because I was super wistful of the Harry Potter series. And you have to admit that the description of this book seems to be very reminiscent of at least Harry Potter-esque goings on. Well, I was very wrong. And I’m quite sad about it, I might add. I was hoping for more Harry Potter, even if it was just a knock-off. Therefore, you can see how a non-fantasy reading person who only liked Harry Potter because it was Harry Potter would have felt about a book that was decidedly not Harry Potter but more like all those other fantasy books I don’t really like to read. Yeah.

First off, this book takes place when Henry VIII was king. In fact, he is a character and plays a big part at the end. It’s not real history, though, more like an alternative history that involves some of the real players and real goings on, but mostly just kind of does its own thing. It wasn’t super obvious that this book took place during this time, either. There wasn’t a lot of discussion or atmospheric descriptions that led me to believe it took place in any specific time or place. Technology (or lack thereof) wasn’t really discussed, and the atmosphere wasn’t such that I felt like I’d been transported right back to the Middle Ages. As the book went on and I was able to reframe my belief that I would be reading Harry Potter again, I could see how it could have been Medieval, but it wasn’t obvious right off. To me, that's a detriment. I like being transported to the time and place of a book.

Secondly, this book reads like a traditional fantasy book involving mages and magic, and specifically reads like the books my husband read in his childhood. Although we weren’t alive and reading in the seventies, this book could have easily jumped from those types of books—you know, the ones his dad would have liked in the sixties and seventies that he then passed on to my husband, who then devoured them and their cheesy covers. This book actually has a cool cover, but it could have been one of those books. I found the writing to be dated and I didn’t really enjoy it. (My husband was mildly offended by this paragraph.)

The story itself was okay. I didn’t enjoy the very un-modern (I wouldn’t go so far as to say old-fashioned) treatment of the characters, especially the women. This wasn’t a function of the times, either, i.e. I know that women during the Middle Ages didn’t have a ton of sway in society. It wasn’t that, though. It just felt, well, dated.

Overall this book took me much longer to read than it should have. Half of the problem is that I was having a pity party because it wasn’t Harry Potter and the other half of the problem is that I really just don’t like fantasy that much, and this embraced pretty much everything I don’t like about fantasy. I know, I know. This isn’t very fair to the book right out of the gate. However, I try to be open-minded about what I read, I read a wide variety of things and enjoy a wide variety of things, and I just didn’t really enjoy this. I will not be reading the upcoming books in the series.

My Rating: 2.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: This book was mostly clean. There was a love scene between two newly married people, but it was not graphic.  

1 comment:

kural said...

nice post


Related Posts with Thumbnails