Friday, September 5, 2014

The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

YA Regency Paranormal

I received a copy of The Midnight Queen from Penguin's First to Read program in return for am honest review.  This is the first time I have received a book from this program and I found I had trouble downloading the book.  As a result I ended up having to read it on my computer which is not my favorite way to read.  It may change how I participate in the program.


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 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

Falling into the story from the very beginning is the sign of a well-written book. From the very beginning I was intrigued with the world, the characters and the story line in The Midnight Queen.  Hunter made good use of the action, the setting and the characters to set the scene for a story that builds in tension and romance.  Magic and its uses form much of the foundation for The Midnight Queen.  It’s use in the story starts very slowly and becomes more important and more understandable as the characters learn how to use their powers.  

All of those elements add to a story that is character driven.  Sophie and Gray have to carry much of the story.  Both grow and become more developed as the plot is revealed.  They are backed with secondary characters that are also fully fleshed out.  Several of those characters had unexpected surprises to deliver.  Those surprises sent the plot in directions I was not expecting.

Everything leads to a very enjoyable book.  While it is the first in a new series it still came to a very satisfying conclusion and works well as a stand-alone novel.

Penguin published The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter in 2014.

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