Doppelganger (Warrior) by Marie Brennan
I picked up Doppelganger (Warrior) because Marie Brennan is a graduate student at Indiana University where I also went to grad school, so I felt a connection there. (How she's managing to write novels while in grad school, I'll never know!) Overall, Doppelganger is a good debut.
At first the story follows the separate lives of Mirage, a kick-butt warrior who has recently graduated from warrior school and makes her living by being commissioned for various dangerous tasks, and Miryo, a witch who has been in school and has just failed her "final exam" because of the existence of Mirage, the doppelganger. Every witch has a doppelganger who is supposed to be killed while they are babies so that the magic power can be controlled by the witch. Because Mirage was not killed, Miryo must hunt her down and kill... Read More
Marie BrennanMarie Brennan holds a joint B.A. in anthropology (archaeology) and folklore & mythology from Harvard University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology and folklore at Indiana University. She’s been writing fantasy since she was nine or ten years old, and blames this fact on Diana Wynne Jones. Learn more about Marie Brennan and read excerpts of her writing at her website.
Doppelganger — (2006) These were originally published as Doppelganger and Warrior and Witch, but they have ben re-released by Orbit as Warrior and Witch. Publisher: When a witch is born, a doppelganger is created. For the witch to master her powers, the twin must be killed. But what happens when the doppelganger survives? Mirage, a fierce bounty hunter, lives by her wits and lethal fighting skills. She always gets her mark. But her new mission will take her into the shadowy world of witches, where her strength may be no match against magic. Miryo is a witch who has just failed her initiation test. She now knows that there is someone in the world who looks like her, who is her: Mirage. To control her powers and become a full witch, Miryo has only one choice. To hunt the hunter and destroy her.
Doppelganger (Warrior) by Marie Brennan
The Onyx Court — (2008-2010) Publisher: 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… A breathtaking novel of intrigue and betrayal set in Elizabethan England; Midnight Never Come seamlessly weaves together history and the fantastic to dazzling effect.
Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
Midnight Never Comeis the story of two courts, and of two courtiers who must uncover a deadly secret that threatens both mortal and faerie England. Lune is a disgraced lady of the faerie court, trying to win her way back into the good graces of the cruel Queen Invidiana. Michael Deven is a young gentleman of Elizabeth I's retinue, working with Elizabeth's spymaster Walsingham to sniff out a "hidden player" in English politics. Neither is quite prepared for what they discover.
Marie Brennan has a lovely, elegant prose style that lends itself well to describing the glittering courts. There's a certain "iciness" to it, a certain emotional distance between reader and characters, at least at first. Later in the book, emotion does bleed through, unmistakable even when it's described with great restraint. And speaking of restraint, Midnight Never Come is unusually... Read More
In Ashes Lie by Marie Brennan
In Ashes Lie continues the story of the Onyx Court, a faerie city situated just below London, and the Court's dealings with London's mortals. Lune, who became queen of the Onyx Court in Midnight Never Come, reigns still. Her mortal consort, Michael Deven, is long dead. Lune has chosen another man to act as her official consort and liaison with the mortal world, but the role is political only.
In Ashes Lie follows Lune and her allies through the end of Charles I's troubled reign, Oliver Cromwell's rise to power, and the eventual restoration of the monarchy. Running alongside this mortal politicking, dangerous plots are afoot in the faerie court. As you might guess by the novel's title, the climactic events take place during the Great Fire of 1666, which... Read More
A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan
From the celestial heights the arbitrary acts of life seem patterned like a fairy-tale landscape, populated by charming and eccentric figures. The glittering observers require vital doses of joy and pain, sudden reversals of fortune, dire portents and untimely deaths. Life itself proceeds in its unpredictable infinite patterns — so unlike the measured dance of stars — until, for the satisfaction of their entertainment, the watchers choose a point at which to stop.
That’s a quote from Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, but I kept thinking of it while reading A Star Shall Fall. It’s part of the nature of the ONYX COURT series that the books are tightly focused on specific points in time. Marie Brennan zooms in o... Read More
With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan
The Onyx Court is crumbling. The gradual demolition of the London Wall dealt the first blow to the faerie palace beneath the city. Now the Underground is hammering in the coffin nails, its iron rails ripping through the fabric of the palace. Queen Lune has not been seen in years. The elegant court is no more, and ruthless mob bosses rule in the sinister Goblin Market. Now, the Underground’s Inner Circle is nearing completion and may destroy what’s left of the Onyx Court forever.
The fate of the faerie city lies in the hands of three unlikely heroes, all of them from society’s lower classes. Eliza is a street vendor, later a maid, who faces anti-Irish prejudice in mortal London while searching for her lost sweetheart, Owen, who was taken by the faeries seven years ago. Dead Rick is a skriker (dog shapeshifter, death omen) who was once a loyal Queen’s man; now, his memories stolen, he’s ... Read More
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
I’m not going to start at the beginning with A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan; I’m going to start before the beginning — at the cover. Why? Because it’s gorgeous: a beautifully drawn, silver and blue and grey hued dragon walking on all fours, its left front and right hind leg in the process of moving forward; its powerful legs, erect head, out-thrust chest, and soaring wings proclaiming its power; while the back half has been illustratively flayed to reveal its carefully numbered and delineated muscles, bones, and layers of underskin that create that power. It looks ripped right out of Gray’s Anatomy (the text, not the show). The interior illustrations, also by Todd Lockwood, are equally beautiful, losing little in their shift to simple black and white lines. I wish more fantasy novels had such artistic enhancements and h... Read More
Lies and Prophecy (Wilders) — (2012) Publisher: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and prophecy. Kim thought majoring in divination would prepare her for the future. But even with her foresight warning her of trouble, she’s taken by surprise when an unknown force attacks Julian, her enigmatic classmate and friend. Her gifts can’t protect him against further attacks and an inexplicable string of disappearances… and if she’s reading the omens right, Julian isn’t the only one in danger. Kim knows she isn’t ready for this. But if she wants to save Julian — and herself — she’ll have to prove her own prophecies wrong.
Apex Magazine is an online magazine I’ve reviewed once before, stating some reservations about the change in editorial command. I’m happy to report that the summer’s issues indicate that the magazine is as strong as ever. The June, July and August issues contain something to satisfy nearly every fantasy reader.
The August issue opens with the stunning “Waiting for Beauty” by Marie Brennan. This twist on the classic fairy tale “The Beauty and the Beast” will stop your breath. The devotion of the Beast to his Beauty is transcendent and sad.
Kat Howard’s “Murdered Sleep” is equally extraordinary, though in a completely different way. Kora has long hea... Read More