The Midnight Queen
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented – and highest born – sons of the kingdom are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover . . .
Gray’s Britain is a fragmented kingdom of many tongues, many gods and many magicks. But all that concerns Gray right now is returning as soon as possible to his studies and setting right the nightmare that has seen him disgraced and banished to his tutor’s home – without a trace of his powers. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.
Although she has no talent of her own and has been forbidden by her father to pursue it, Sophie Callender longs for a magickal education. But she started a bookish rebellion in her father’s library long ago, and her sheltered upbringing conceals a mysterious past and what may prove a catastrophic future. Her meeting with Gray sets off a series of events that will lead them to uncover a conspiracy at the heart of the kingdom and into the legend of the Midnight Queen, who vanished without a trace years before.
Okay, just from the synopsis this sounded awesome and I knew I was going to like it...but upon finishing it....I LOVED it! Genuinely. I kind of expected certain things when reading the synopsis, and I'm not going to elaborate on them further because then spoilers and it'll take away the surprise factor for all of you, BUT....I was completely surprised by this book. It was so much more than I expected, there was more to it, and it really wasn't at all what I expected. It threw my expectations out the window and jumped all over them and it was totally awesome! I'm currently having that feeling when you finish a really good book that you loved...and you're feeling all smiley and happy and don't really want to start another book...yep. Book hangover! There are so many things about this that I loved, I'm not sure how I'm going to do this without fangirling, I'll try to keep it short and sweet!
As soon as I started to read, I fell in love with the writing style, and the narrative. It fit so well with the world of the book and the atmosphere, and it really got me in to the world of the book. The point of view switches between Gray and Sophie, but mostly Gray, and I loved how smoothly it switched and how it added depth to the two characters, and I feel like it really added to the story and helped you to get to know the characters and connect with both of them, as they're both such an integral part to the story! I will say that while the book starts off quite slowly, things are being set up and it's so worth sticking with it! I'm hoping you'll be intrigued enough to stick with the steady pace before it starts to really get going, but just in case....give it a chance because it really does get so good!
ANYWAY, I loved the opening to the book, it intrigued me and it was atmospheric, and my interest was officially grabbed. Sure I was kinda hoping for some of it to be hurried on in the beginning but now upon finishing it, I'm glad we got the chance to get to know Sophie and Gray before everything happened and things where revealed! I really liked Gray, I liked watching him go from his stuttering, student self, to a more confident guy as the story progressed. Gray is genuinely intelligent, and I empathised with him going against what his family wanted him to do. Also bless him getting dragged in to everything in the beginning! I really liked that Gray saw Sophie as equal! Speaking of Sophie, I also completely loved her! I understood her frustration and empathised with her and her situation as well, and then her new circumstances after the big reveal. I loved how determined she was to learn despite everything, and I loved Gray for helping her. She has such a burning curiosity and she's such a kind and caring person. Sure she had her wobbles, but they where completely understandable considering her situation and I think we'd all have been in the same where we in her position! I loved both of them, honestly, I felt like they where both really refreshing and I loved reading about them!
On the romance front, I loved watching them get to know each other, and watching the feelings develop and then having that whole thing where they completely love each other but don't know the other does and it was so cute. I feel like they're kind of perfect for each other, they make a great team. They appreciate each other, Gray doesn't treat Sophie like every other male. He helps her to learn Magick and he believes in her and trusts her and Sophie is the same. Gray's there for her, and he helps her when she has problems and ugh. So cute. I got my warm and fuzzies and I ship them so damn hard.
Back to characters before I list all the reasons I love my ship! We had plenty of supporting characters that I hated, looking at you Callendar, Amelia and King as well as assorted others. Genuinely I wanted to punch the King so much. And Callendar. Ugh. But we also had plenty that I loved and hope to get to see more of in future books! Joanna, Sophie's younger sister, she was brave and daring and I loved her personality so much even if I wanted to throttle her at the end a little bit! I loved Jenny, Gray's sister and I wanted to know her more, and see more of her! She's the only member of his family that we get to see and I loved the relationship between the two! I wasn't too sure about her husband at first from what had been said about him, but I actually ended up really liking him! I really enjoyed the friendships between all the characters in the group, I loved the camaraderie and how they all worked together to solve the plot! And what a plot it was, it really kept me guessing!
While the characters are totally fantastic, they aren't the only fantastic thing about the book. The plot for one, like I said, it kept me guessing and there where plenty of twists and turns. It had a steady pace and the momentum picked up more and more as the book went on. I was expecting one thing from the synopsis, but the book delivered another and it was SO damn good. I loved all the intricacies to the plot, and trying to figure things out and being wrong, it kept me on my toes!
Alongside all of that, we have the world of the book. Damn. I love it. I want to fall in to this world and never come out. It's so damn vivid as you're reading. I'm not sure how to describe it! It seems kind of familiar in places, but it's also completely different. I thought we where modern day when I started reading, but then I realised we where not, and then I re-examined the map and saw a familiar map...but it was also different with new names and new countries! The writing style complements the world of the book, it felt very Victorian to me, or some point past Victorian, way in the past either way. And the language helped to bring the world to life and draw you in to it as you read. ANYWAY, everything's been changed around, it's kinda alternate but it's such a rich and vivid world. I definitely got Jane Austen vibes from the language and the world and...other things.
I loved the way the magic system worked, I loved the different kinds of Magick, and reading about them and I want to know more. I also loved and want to know more about the religion of the world as there are a lot of different gods and goddesses and Priests of this and Priestesses of that, I need to know more! I'm also curious about the politics, as some dealings are mentioned! Genuinely, Hunter has created such a fantastically imaginative setting, and such a rich and extensive world that I want to know more and more about it, and I'm excited to read the other books and uncover more!
The Midnight Queen is insanely original and imaginative, and it'll give you that feeling when you want to visit the world...see the sights....and it'll let you get completely lost in the book too! The characters, the language used in the writing, all of it help to draw you in to the world of the book and it's a damn intriguing one! The characters are well created and memorable and you want to know more about the secondary characters! Gray and Sophie are so relatable and such a breathe of fresh air, plus they're totally made for each other and the romance will give you the dose of the warm and fuzzies that are quite often required! I just completely loved this book, and how it was not at all what I was expecting, it was better! I'm sad to be back in the real world, I'm not going to lie to you!
The Midnight Queen combines action, adventure, intrigue, mystery, magic and romance, but it also features a lot of other cool things. A secretive and dastardly plot, going right up to the higher ranks of society......a nice little flit across the country, with a cover story of course....which means...disguises! A masked ball....a touch of Austen....a group of many characters of varying reputation and occupation working together to unravel said dastardly plot....and much more! I'm definitely going to be needing to read the other books!