Title: The Midnight Lie
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Midnight Lie #1
Audience: Young Adult
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Length: 358 pages (~9.5 hours)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Library (Libby app)
Recommended for Fans of: The Winner’s Trilogy, LGBTQ romance
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.
Marie Rutkoski is such a beautiful writer, creating rich imagery with her words as she weaves her stories. The Midnight Lie takes place in the same world as The Winner’s Trilogy, but at a later time and in a secret country where magic is real. That was one of my issues with The Winner’s Trilogy–it’s classified as fantasy because it’s set in a made up world with different customs and beliefs, but there isn’t any real magic. I think The Midnight Lie is setting up to be an even better series.
Nirrim is such an interesting MC. At first she seems simple. She trusts too much in others and not enough in herself, choosing to see only the good in people even if it means ignoring some serious issues. She cares so much about doing what is right and doing what others expect, which leaves room for a very interesting character evolution.
The slow building romance with Sid was so well done. Sid challenged Nirrim to believe in herself, to stop letting others take advantage of her, and to want more from life than her caste allows. Sid was tricky to figure out with all of her lies and half-truths. I predicted her true identify, but that did not lessen the impact of the reveal.
The best way for me to describe the situation with Herrath and the caste system and the Ward is MESSED UP. Nirrim and Sid’s investigation into the source of the city’s hidden magic led to some disturbing revelations about the city’s history.
The story was slow in some places, but that was more a side-effect of the rich world building and deep character development rather than a lack of action. I love how confident Nirrim was by the end, while still retaining her selflessness. AND THAT ENDING! This book ends on such an unexpected cliffhanger that changes everything and left me desperate for the next book.