Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Release Date: June 9, 2008
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Onyx Court series
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
“England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.
But a great light casts a great shadow.
In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few.
Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power — find it, and break it . . . .”
I have had this book on my to be read pile for quite a while. I really enjoyed the Warrior and Witch series by Brennan and was excited to read this one. I didn’t like this as much as the Warrior and Witch series; it was just kind of slow.
The whole premise of this book is that there is a fae court ruled by a Queen named Invidiana that lies beneath the English court of Queen Elizabeth. Initially it’s not all that clear what is driving the story. We basically switch between Lady Lune and Michael Deven’s stories. Lady Lune is trying to regain the favor of Queen Invidiana and survive the shadow court. Meanwhile Deven is trying to gain Queen Elizabeth’s favor and make a name for himself.
This story is largely layers of intrigue and conspiracy (not my favorite thing to read about). There is a lot of history in here as well, which was interesting some of the time but started to bog the story down towards the end.
Additionally I never really engaged with the characters all that well. Lady Lune and Deven both seem strangely isolated and self-serving; they just weren’t all that interesting to me.
The story moves slowly, at the beginning it doesn’t seem to have much of a point. As things continue you can see that Invidiana is having a negative impact on both fairy and human lands and then the story becomes more cohesive. As far as the writing style itself; the book is decently written and flows well. I
Overall this was an okay book. The book is well written and the idea behind a underground fae court that drives Queen Elizabeth’s above court is interesting. However the story moved slow and was bogged down by a lot of the history. The story was also primarily intrigue based which really isn’t my thing. I personally won’t be reading any more books in this series; it just wasn’t that interesting to me.