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. <sarcasm font.>
The story follows our 20-ish hero Gray Marshall, a student of magic who was wrongly blamed for the death of one his peers. Shortly after, he becomes a guest/ prisoner of one of his instructors at the man’s home for the course of the summer. Gray thinks he must follow Professor Callendar’s orders if he is to clear his name, but more than that, he has reason to believe something nefarious is going on with the Professor that means to do harm to others.
At Callendar’s home, Gray befriends two of the man’s three daughters. He becomes closest to Sophie, the middle child, who is about 17 and wishes to become a scholar of magic. Not only do she and Gray become friends, they find a kinship in their love of learning and magic. Together, they slowly unfold her father’s plan and later embark on a journey to stop his deadly intentions from becoming a reality.
It wasn’t for me. I found it terribly slow, especially in the beginning. The emotions felt shallow and I struggled to care about the characters. It all felt kind of whitewashed. The villains were cookie-cutter and the big reveal of their schemes at the end felt laid out like the end of a Scooby Doo mystery. The romance was… not a romance. These two people go from friends to in love with the snap of the fingers, once the other character notice they might like each other. Only I have no idea how they saw it, because I sure didn’t and I was reading in their POVs. No hints of a physical attraction or even a desire to kiss and then *WHAM* LOVE.
Maybe I am the odd man out. Apparently this sold to Ace after a three week auction and that’s part of the buzz –and the publicist told me it was one of her personal favorite titles of the year. It just wasn’t my cuppa tea. Maybe this young magical alternative-history adventure is just better suited for someone else.
*ARC Provided by Ace
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Midnight Queen
by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Release Date: September 2, 2014