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I'm Still Scratching My Head

Midnight Never Come - Marie Brennan

Finally, after spending time trying to conceptualize my review of Midnight Never Come, I have come up with the perfect metaphor for how I feel about this book. Essentially, I feel like a Chopped judge (I’m sorry for anyone who hasn’t stumbled upon the food network and watched the show). Not just any Chopped judge, mind you, but one who has been presented with a plate of food described as one thing and after one bite the judge knows that that description is untrue. In planer terms: they’ve been fed a big spiel of crap.

This book wasn’t crap, that’s not what I’m saying. I feel mislead, is the heart of the matter. This is why I have been scratching my head since reading the epilogue and trying to figure out what the heck happened with the final pages and my expectations.

Brennan’s book is not a seamless melding of historical fiction and fantasy. It is historical fiction masquerading as a fae story, and vice versa. I know that doesn’t make a lot of generic sense so I’ll put it this way: I wanted to read a story about the fae, I got a story about Elizabeth I; had I approached this story looking for a book about Elizabeth’s court, I would have been fooled into reading a book about the fae. Instead of taking me into the Onyx Court and drawing parallels with Elizabeth’s London home, because they are essentially light and dark mirror images of each other, Brennan does the opposite. I’ve studied the Elizabethan age so I know a lot about it, Brennan knows more. And I really enjoyed those parts, except when they started taking up the whole story. Really, I didn’t need to read about Elizabeth’s court so that I could draw my own dark conclusions about Invidiana’s, I should have been shown the Faerie Queen’s so that I could reconcile it with what I know about the real world. Phillipa Gregory has made the Tudor’s old hat, I didn’t need a history lesson, I needed a mythology one. You see?

I was willing to give the story, and the flaws that were ticking me off a little bit, the benefit of the doubt after the pace picked up, that is, after the entire tale was set up in 222 pages. It’s a 379 page book. Even math-challenged beings like myself can see the disparateness between those two numbers. Pretty much that left a little over 150 pages to get to the big conflict and resolution. Both were so abrupt I feel somewhat robbed. And the ending was not at all what I was expecting for this book or for the series.

[I thought Indiviana would be the SERIES villain, I didn’t think she’d disappear at the end of this book. Why did it take so long to get to her deal with Elizabeth when we knew about it from page 1? (hide spoi
Now I feel mislead in a big way. And, like many readers, I don’t really like that. I haven’t read the next book but my faith in the author is a little shaken so I’m not going to be going in with an open mind, to be perfectly frank. I’m going in because I feel that after 222 I’ve earned some more story since I do know that Deven is in the next book, the ebook, anyway. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t try to be more mysterious than it is. The Lune banishment explanation took WAY too long to be told, to the point that I didn’t even care, and I don’t see why it really really mattered. But that’s just me.

The last pages saved this read for me and I feel invested. It was a very slow start though.