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Review: The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

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The Midnight Queen
Author: Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Reviewer: Una
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

The Midnight Queen is like a roller coaster ride, the first climb seems long, but then once the world is established and the characters are in place, the rest is gripping and wonderful.  I think anyone who enjoys fantasy blended with a slowly burning romance in a historical setting will enjoy this new series, Noctis Magicae.

I think what gave this novel a slow start was my adjustment to the language.  The language fits the historical setting of the novel, and since I have been reading a more modern novel, I needed time to make the adjustment.  Once I had, I found myself lost in this world.  It is a nice blend of magic and an alternate history.  The addition of the slowly burning romance between Gray and Sophie enriches the world.  I will say that it is a chaste novel and would feel comfortable for anyone high school age or older, even mature junior high students could read this.  It is similar in maturity level to the Harry Potter novels.

Though the novel progresses slowly, considering the time period and the mysteries it unveils, it is not sluggishly paced.  The action is slow, but the unfolding mysteries and the building relationships help to keep the pace moving.  I feel that this novel was like a chess game in poetry: gripping but elegant, and ruthless but poised.  Ms. Hunter did an excellent job of balancing the descriptions, keeping us grounded in the world, and yet moving everything along.  The slowly burning romance is coupled with the teasingly paced unraveling of the schemes surrounding Gray and Sophie.  This pace allowed me to mull over things and try to puzzle them out.  Although some resolutions I was able to figure out, others were a surprise and I enjoyed it immensely.

I love Gray and Sophie for their personalities and how they interact.  They are both clueless and intelligent and I enjoyed watching them as they bumbled with each other.  Their romance is very sweet and yet their connection is as strong as steel.  Their courtship was simple and natural and even with the mysteries and truths they reveal about themselves, their secret hope for each other was refreshing.  I hope we are able to revisit them in the next novel in this new series.

The Midnight Queen is a wonderful start to what appears to be a fascinating new series.  If you enjoy fantasy blended with a historical setting, great characters, intriguing mysteries and a slow and sweet romance, you may want to start the new Noctis Magicae series.  I know I am eagerly looking forward to the next novel.

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot

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About the Book:

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…

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher:
Ace
Series:
Noctis Magicae #1
ISBN: #978-0425272459
Genre:
Fantasy
Format(s):
Paperback (432 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley

Purchase Info:
The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae #1)

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