A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan

A Star Shall FallThe return of Halley’s Comet, intrigue in the Faerie Court, the Great Fire that burned four-fifths of London to the ground, and the cursed Dragon that caused it: these are just some of the plot elements of Marie Brennan’s blockbuster, page-turning historical Urban Fantasy novel A Star Shall Fall. In this third novel of her series that began with Midnight Never Comes and continued with In Ashes Lie, Brennan’s epic saga comes full circle, with the much-anticipated and feared return of the Dragon that caused London’s Great Fire the subject of great concern and worry among the Fae that inhabit London and all of England. They barely managed to defeat the Dragon and send him into space to rendevous with Halley’s Comet the first time. A Dragon bent on revenge is not something they wish to face, but they will need something more than even their wondrous magic to stop the Dragon this time–they’ll also need science.

Queen Lune, the Queen of the Onyx Court, looks as beautiful and as young as ever, yet she has outlived several human consorts, known as Princes of the Stone. The main male hero of A Star Shall Fall is her most recent consort, or Prince of the Stone, the wealthy gentleman Galen St. Clair. He has done the unthinkable, but what many men would have done in his position–he’s fallen in love with Lune. She seems to care deeply for him, also, but for a being who is practically immortal and has lived longer than any of her human lovers, the concept of love starts to seem sort of vague and loses some of its meaning.

The task that Queen Lune and her subjects rely on Galen to accomplish is one which they have been trying to solve ever since the Great Fire and the last appearance of Halley’s Comet–what to do whenever it returns with a very angry Dragon aboard, ready to renew its age-old battle with them afresh. But, how can he hope to succeed where others have come up clueless? That is a difficult question to ponder, with no easy solution in sight. That is, unless the Fae can once again rely on and count on their symbiotic relationship with humans once again, the bond that has kept them alive and thriving despite such things as iron, which is very harmful to them.

Galen’s meetings at Gresham College in London, the home of “the Royal Society of London, the premier scientific body of the Kingdom of England,” and what he learns there to help him succeed in his task are fascinating. Imagine having the opportunity to meet and hear speak a great scientist like Sir Isaac Newton, or to gain first-hand knowledge of how Halley and other scientists developed equations to discover when Halley’s Comet would next come back.

Marie Brennan, whose background includes subjects like anthropology, archeology, and folklore, is well-known for the historical research she does for her novels, and how it makes them realistic for her readers, and with A Star Shall Fall, she again shines in this department. The novel even includes a pretty cool and interesting map of Greater London at its beginning, with a key depicting such famous landmarks as the River Thames, St. James’ Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Monument to the Great Fire. With A Star Shall Fall, Marie Brennan immerses you in the world of London during the mid 1700’s, and the machinations of Queen Lune’s Onyx Court, and makes you feel like what it’s like to face a rapidly approaching death, as the ice-encased Dragon frozen solid to Halley’s Comet comes closer and closer to the Earth.

The Faeries of the Onyx Court are noble and heroic figures, not like the way some people might think of when they imagine faeries, like butterfly winged wee folk fluttering about in a flower garden, or Tinkerbell. Humans sometimes get in their way, cause problems for them, and can be a general nuisance, but, they also need humans to survive. The bread they get from humans acts to counteract such deleterious things like the effects of iron on them. They don’t always see eye- to-eye with mortals, but they interact with them for their mutual benefit.

A Star Shall Fall is an epic, page-turning historical Urban Fantasy novel that can be read as a stand-alone novel, though indulge yourself, immerse yourself in the brilliant and imaginative world of Faeries and London of the 1700’s that Marie Brennan lovingly crafts. I highly recommend this and her first two novels in the series, Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie, to anyone who loves reading Fantasy novels in general, and particularly historically-based, Urban Fantasy novels. Check it out; you’ll be glad you did!

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