Today’s query: How is The Midnight Queen a really terrific fantasy novel? Well. Let me count the ways…
World-building? Check. The author, Sylvia Izzo Hunter, reworks history just enough to create an alternative version of Regency England that is easily recognized but distinctly different. Borders are different, names of countries are different, religions are very different; and all because certain events in world history unfolded in a decidedly unfamiliar way. Add the study and practice of magic to the setting, and you’ve got a world that’s fascinating indeed.
Characters? Check. The protagonists, Gray and Sophie, are sympathetic and engaging. Their imperfections only serve to draw us closer to them and further into their lives.
Writing? Check, check, and check. The dialogue is clever, with an Olde Englande flavor that still sounds fresh and vigorous. The descriptive language never gets bogged down. And if you have read Jane Austen novels over and over, as I have, you can occasionally hear the echo of a thread of dialogue or a turn of phrase that is very pleasing.
Other magical books include:
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston
and of, course, the sequel to The Midnight Queen, Lady of Magick