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The Midnight Queen

(Noctis Magicae #1)

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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,843 ratings  ·  345 reviews
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
...more
Paperback, 417 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Ace
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Rebecca Rose Most of the main characters are women, and three of them have more than one set of names. Does that add bonus points? They talk about all sorts of…moreMost of the main characters are women, and three of them have more than one set of names. Does that add bonus points? They talk about all sorts of things, like sewing and cooking (just kidding, though they do sew a bit.) In all seriousness, this book is basically feminist and promotes women's education and the breakdown of stereotypical gender roles.(less)

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctu http://bibliosanctum.com/2014/09/01/b...

This book would be perfect for readers looking for a well-balanced blend of fantasy with a historical fiction-type setting, overlaid with a story laced with a heavy dose of the kind of chaste, slow-burn romance one might find in a traditional Regency novel.

Graham Marshall – Gray to family and friends – finds himself out of favor at Merlin College when a midnight errand goes terribly wrong, landing himself and a couple fri
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Nikki
I can’t remember exactly when or why I picked up The Midnight Queen, but I think I was attracted by the references to the scholarship of magic. After Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, that’s proven to be something I enjoy reading about, particularly in alternate-history settings. This book reminded me of that, and of Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown in the sort of approach to integrating magic and history, while being on the lighter side — more Heyer than Dickens, if you want an ...more
Cooper
Aug 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Disappointed in what sounded like a great story. The plot was all over the place, lacked any kind of conflict, and at times just rambled on and on about nothing. A story so boring I couldn't even finish it. The only magic in this book is when I put it down and walked away. Now if I could only make it disappear.
Melliane
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Mon avis en Français

My English review

The idea of the book was really intriguing and I am rarely disappointed by the novels of this editor so when I saw the reissue of the series, I took my chance and asked for it. This is also why, moreover, I had high expectations before even starting it.

I was immediately curious about the story, a mixture of fantasy and history that we don’t find a lot in literature. We especially follow two main characters: Gray and Sophie. Gray is a young man who, after a t
...more
Cecelia
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
You know that sense of well-being after you’ve finished a good book, when life is all contentment, and you feel a flush of joy? I read a very ‘Cecelia’ book, and I felt… pleased with everything and everyone. I couldn’t contemplate my next read for days – I had to let the euphoria of a tailor-made story buoy me up for some time afterwards. What was the book that ensorcelled me so completely? Only Sylvia Izzo Hunter’s debut fantasy novel, The Midnight Queen.

Graham Marshall (Gray to friends and fam
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Katie Montgomery
Part the First: In Which Katie Lists Things She Enjoys In A Novel, As Correlated With "The Midnight Queen":

_XXX_ Period-appropriate prose*** (seriously, if you enjoy Susanna Clarke, get on this shizz pronts)

___ Talking cats

_X_ Strong, sassy heroines who have no trouble kicking it with the boys

_X_ Believable, likable characters

___ Pandas

___ Swashbuckling

_X__ Magical colleges and/or general graduate-level spell nerdery

___ Dragons

_X_ People wearing awesome hats

_X__ Perfectly executed genre mashups

_
...more
Nicki
Sep 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF

I received this ARC from Penguin (first to read) in exchange for an honest review.

As much as I tried, and as much as I wanted to, I could not finish this book. I stopped at around page 100. I usually have to really dislike a book to not finish it, so the fact that I couldn't finish it and had no desire to, says something.

The Plot:
I'm not sure if it picks up after 100 or so pages but from what I read, the plot was slow and uninteresting. Everything is written in a dull way with no suspense or
...more
Celine
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
In an age of instant gratification, a scrambling rush for "fast-paced" and "nail-biting" reads, The Midnight Queen is a breath of fresh air, recalling books as they used to be - stories to be savoured.

Grey is asked by his fellow Merlin college students on a strange mission. It goes out of hand, leading to the death of one of his friends, and Grey tumbles head first into a conspiracy that is much bigger than he could ever imagine.

The Midnight Queen is a story that follows characters rather than a
...more
Samantha
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Before I start laying into this, I'll say that it wasn't at all a "bad" book. It's charming and enjoyable, but extremely simplistic and lacking in originality. From characters to plot, it has a trite, neat and tidy feel like that of a children's book, which I suppose would be fine if only it were a children's book. So many conveniently fortuitous happenings! Ah, coincidences...the crutch employed to skirt a lack of creativity. I can't quite say it read like fan fiction for the better books of th ...more
Danya
Sylvia Izzo Hunter’s debut novel THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN is a clever and sophisticated historical fantasy with charming characters and a delightful alternate Regency setting. I would classify this as a fantasy of manners book, a fantasy novel that mimics the structure and tropes of a classic comedy of manners. Struggling with a hierarchical social structure, battling one’s enemies with wit and intrigue, and chaste romance are all hallmarks of the sub-genre.

Graham ‘Gray’ Marshall is such a wonderful h
...more
Siobhan
The Midnight Queen is the first book in Sylvia Izzo Hunter’s Noctis Magicae series. In truth, it is more of a three-point-five star read; whilst I debated rounding up, in the end I decided to round down. There were some four-star moments, but there were more three-star moments, hence why I rounded down.

The Midnight Queen grabbed my attention by the intriguing concept: historical fiction mixed with magic is a sure way to grab my attention. However, the book was not as mind blowing as I had hoped
...more
Anya
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I was in the perfect mood for the writing of The Midnight Queen but it definitely isn't fast-paced or action-packed. The writing is at times elegant and fun but other times clunky and difficult to follow. I don't read straight historical fiction but get the impression that the writing fits that genre better with fantasy elements thrown in. The characters were fine, the romance cute and blissfully drama free.
Kristen
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Syvlia Izzo Hunter's debut immensely. The characters aren't terribly complex and are clearly "good" or "evil" and sometimes the path it follows is a bit predictable, but I found it to be incredibly charming and engaging nonetheless. It has a likable cast, family secrets, hidden identities, a conspiracy, and a rather drama-free romance.

Full Review: http://www.fantasybookcafe.com/2016/0...
Carrie Mansfield
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Review on my blog: Fantasy Findings

There are light reads, and then there are light-weight reads. Light reads are your beach books. They are the kind of breezy books that, by their nature, aren't really meant to hold any deeper meaning. They're just meant to be fun and entertain you.

Then there are light-weight reads. Books that are meant to be more, but somehow don't quite get there. I feel like The Midnight Queen is one of those books. It is meant to be a blending of magic and spycraft.
...more
Bea  Charmed
As I read the first few pages, I thought it had a Harry Potter feel to it - magic school, check; boy more or less ignored by living family, check; names that border on the absurd, check. It's full of tropes and cliches. It has an Austen feel to it, which didn't really work for me nor did the fake-European setting. Use the real world and tweak it or create a brand new world but this was a mish-mash and the non-magical world building was often confusing. It's mish-mash of poorly done alternate his ...more
Daisy Paquet
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Okay, here's the review, finally.

I like, never give a book anything less than three stars. This book, however, was an adventure.

And I don't mean in the good way.

It started out really well- a strong, sassy female MC who loved books and a nerdy cinnamon roll male MC who ALSO LOVED BOOKs. my kind of people. They were cool, and the world-building was superb. The magic system seemed almost believable, actually.

Then it got slow and boring. I didn't really care about the characters, I guess. They had q
...more
Kes
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This is a fun book that reads as a standalone - Gray is sent to live under his professor, Appius Callender, where he meets the professor's daughter.

While there is romance - and I was cautious of this, going in - the romance is slowgoing, and the plot shines. The circumstances under which Gray is sent to Callender are mysterious, and I enjoyed Gray slowly discovering the heart of the plot.

The worldbuilding is also interesting: there is magic, there are gods (who wield their own magic), and there
...more
Jordan
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've had my eye on this book for a while, so I was thrilled when I finally had the chance to read it. I particularly loved the fantasy historical fiction aspect, and I felt that Hunter established this setting extremely well. The prose is truly lovely, and though I can see how it could be considered a bit slow to some, I found it to be quite enjoyable to read. To me, this book seemed to have stronger characterization and a focus on the character relations than it did on the plot, and that didn't ...more
lovemonicarose
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me a while to finish this but it was really good. Fantasy is still my favorite genre after all. The ending was a bit too neatly tied up but I'm not complaining.
Jen Davis
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I knew when I read the blurb for this book that it might be a little off the beaten path for me, but something about it piqued my interest and I decided to give it a go. It was actually a bit more off the beaten path than I expected. It wasn’t weird or anything, but it had a much younger feel than I anticipated. It’s also very English. And while I do enjoy a good regency romance, this was more of a YA British-magic-adventure thing.

Wow. That sounded elegant.

The story follows our 20-ish hero Gray
...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books, fantasy
This is a tough book to rate. Unfortunately, I read it during a busy time so I was unable to read more than a chapter or two per night. It felt more like a book that required longer sittings to really immerse yourself in the story.
The concept wasn't ground breaking: a young man (Gray) at a school for magic discovers a murderous plot, meets a charming and independent young women (Sophie) who turns out to have very strong magical talents, and they team up along with some side characters to stop t
...more
Mimi Zane
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
DNF at page 78. The print was too small and I couldnt get used to the writing.

*I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The August 2014 batch of First-to-Read books from Penguin was the best selection so far. I won my first book from the raffle but this is my second win overall. I was really happy to win a copy of this but I could not finish it and it had nothing to do with the content of the book. I DNF at page 78.

My biggest complaint with this ARC was that the wri
...more
Danielle (Love at First Page)
A mini-review will have to do for this one.

I had high hopes for The Midnight Queen, but they unfortunately weren’t met. To start, the writing style isn’t something I ever got used to. It’s old fashioned and third person point-of-view, both of which kept me from ever connecting to the characters on a deeper level. I felt like an observer rather than an invested party. The story itself is tedious and looooooong; I found myself bored more often than not but wanted to finish since I paid $15 for th
...more
Margaret
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book had a lot going for it. Interesting premise. Perhaps a unique world. However, for me everything fell flat. The world is not described in enough detail to really picture. It's also unclear what kind of culture and society the characters live in. I liked the characters, but wanted them fleshed out. Much of the book simply didn't flow, and there wasn't enough detail of events, places, or characters to be a satisfactory read. I had the uncorrected proof, so perhaps edited would be better? ...more
Allison
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would have read this so much sooner had I known it was alternate-Regency era! I assumed it was going to be like Discovery of Witches T____T (It's much better!)

Slow-burn romance and really nifty alternate history world-building with Britain still worshiping Roman, Breton, and Celtic gods.

Already have book 2 on order!
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I love Gray and I love Sophie and I love them together. They are just so cute. This is a sweet story that is very entertaining, even if it is a bit slow at times.
Emilia Rosén
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh.
Kirsty Stanley
I was immediately drawn into this British alternate history fantasy world that author Sylvia Hunter has created. Men are the only ones allowed to study magick, even though women can possess it too. The magick system seems to be quite complex and some can be taught and other aspects need to be harnessed. There’s shapeshifting (the front cover might give you a clue into what), scrying, elemental and summoning magicks. There’s an awful lot to learn. Cue a library and books and also practical demons ...more
Ellis Knox
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was a Book of the Month Club read, so I worked through to the end, but I don't think I would have otherwise.

The book is well-edited, has an ok premise, and a setting with some potential in that I'm sort of a sucker for anything Breton. But the story had too many contrivances, a historical setting that was a little slippery for me, and some outright bad choices in the last third of the book. I won't belabor the point, but the author slows things down right at the climax when we ought to be h
...more
Rachael
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy Robin McKinley
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed the world that Hunter has created--it's alternate world Britain, where not only is magic a legitimate profession, but history has significantly diverged: Britain is comprised of England, Cymru (Wales), Kernow (Cornwall), and three provinces in France: Normandie (Normandy), Breizh (Brittany), and Maine, and a Tudor king still sits on the throne. Eire (Ireland) and Alba (Scotland) are separate countries. I love that the author has retained the old names in their native tongues, an ...more
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Sylvia Izzo Hunter was born in Calgary, Alberta, and started making up stories at approximately the time she learned to talk. She now lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and daughter and their slightly out-of-control collections of books, comics, and DVDs. When not writing, she works in scholarly publishing, sings in two choirs, reads as much as possible, knits (mostly hats), and engages i ...more

Other books in the series

Noctis Magicae (3 books)
  • Lady of Magick (Noctis Magicae, #2)
  • A Season of Spells (Noctis Magicae, #3)
“I meant to learn something,” Sophie said, impatient. “Something else than embroidery or dancing, or playing pretty tunes on the pianoforte. I am not a decorative object, Father. I have an intellect, also, and I wish to make good use of it.” 1 likes
“A breeze, briefly gentle but growing more savage, jostled the potted plants and curios that cluttered the room.” 1 likes
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