I was extremely excited to be offered a review copy of Jane Kindred’s newest novel, “The Midnight Court.” I reviewed “The Fallen Queen” back in January and enjoyed it tremendously, and ever since then I’d been looking forward to the next book in the series.
“The Fallen Queen” was about an angel named Anazakia who falls from Heaven into modern-day Russia after her family was murdered Romanov-style. Anazakia’s story is an imaginative parallel to the familiar legend that Anastasia Romanov might have escaped when her family was murdered, and I appreciated the level of detail that Kindred put into the setting. Reading “The Fallen Queen” made me miss Russia, and I was glad that “The Midnight Court” was able to evoke the same sense of nostalgia.
“The Midnight Court” begins as Anazakia’s baby is kidnapped. She fears that Aevil, the witch who killed her family, might be involved, but the trail seems to be cold. Anazakia seeks help from the syla, fairies who appear with the changing of the season. The first book seemed to parallel the story of the Romanovs. This one goes a bit further, and the events in Heaven are reminiscent of the Bolshevik Revolution.
As with “The Fallen Queen,” I appreciated that the author did her research when it came to Russian culture. The magic is in the little details, like the food, the geography, going to a dacha, or even the fact that people wear slippers called tapochki whenever they go into a home or apartment. Most books that I’ve read that are set in Russia don’t take the time to mention something like tapochki, but even though it seems insignificant, it’s little cultural things like that that make this book stand out so much.
One of the other things that I love about this series is the love triangle. Yes, you heard that right. It’s adorable. There’s Belphagor and Vassily, who are a gay demon couple. Vassily is also bi, and he and Anazakia have a thing. Everybody gets along for the most part. It’s so unconventional, and it makes me happy. I get tired of reading about triangles where there are two guys, one girl, and one of the guys ends up having his heart broken in the end. It’s refreshing to read something that allows for other possibilities instead of playing into the same tired tropes.
The only thing that really bothered me about this book was the cover, because it makes the book look like a romance novel rather than epic fantasy.
Jane Kindred’s writing reminds me a lot of Jacqueline Carey. It’s epic fantasy, but there are elements of romance and sexuality throughout the book that one wouldn’t typically expect to find. There’s also a lot of sexual violence, so if that bothers you, then you might want to steer clear. However, if the idea of a parallel supernatural world that incorporates Russian history and culture sounds appealing, then this one’s definitely for you!
I’m including this book in the Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge, as it contains elements of the paranormal/supernatural.