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Released: December 28th 2021
Genre: Young Adult
“Readers who enjoy sapphic romance, the enemies/rivals-to-lovers trope, and fast reads will enjoy this book.”~ Under the Covers
The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska is a sapphic young adult fantasy, perfect for those looking for a wintery read. Set against the backdrop of a kingdom inspired by 18th century Poland, Jasinska invites readers into an immersive world of magic, monsters, and stolen hearts.
From the first page, the rivalry between Marynka and Zosia is set up to be a major driving factor in the book. Both are servants to witches (Red Jaga and Black Jaga respectively), and they are frequently pitted against each other when gathering hearts for their mistresses. The cat and mouse nature of Zosia and Marynka’s rivalry was so much fun, especially when it evolved from rivalry to romance.
I absolutely love morally grey characters – I think Loki was one of the first I was ever introduced to while reading. There are multiple characters with questionable morals in this book, but Zosia was my favorite. I had a lot of fun puzzling her out. On one hand, she disagrees with what the witches are doing and wants her freedom. On the other hand, she willingly sacrificed innocents to get the power she needs, seemingly with little remorse. A good origin story that explains why morally grey characters got to the point in time that we see them always hooks me, and Ms. Jasinska delivered all that and more.
One less obvious aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the magic structure. Witches and the number three tend to go together a lot. For example, three fates, three Sanderson Sisters, or even the three aspects of Hecate (mother, maiden, and crone). Ms. Jasinska puts her own spin on the number three by giving the apprentices powers based on the time of day. Beata is nicknamed Morning, has a bright and cheery demeanor, and serves the nicest of the Three Witches of Lechija. Zosia, by comparison, is dark and standoffish, fitting her role as Midnight and servant of the cruelest of the sisters.
While I think this book is currently planned as a standalone, I would be thrilled if the author announced some type of companion piece (novella, short story, or full book – I’m not picky). Beata needs her own story – she played second fiddle to Marynka and Zosia a lot in this book, and there’s so much that could be explored. A story covering just the three sisters would be cool too – there would be a lot for the author to cover just with their relationship alone.
Readers who enjoy sapphic romance, the enemies/rivals-to-lovers trope, and fast reads will enjoy this book. A bit bloody and violent at times (these witches have a thing for stealing hearts and leaving the bloody body for others to find), but nothing that would deter me from recommending it to young adult readers and older.
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