Title: The Midnight Lie
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series:The midnight Lie #1
Release Date: 3/3/2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 38
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Hodder and Stoughton , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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
This was my first time reading Marie Rutkoski but this has made me interested in picking up the Winner’s Trilogy, as this is billed as the author’s return to this universe. I have to admit the world was what kept me reading this book, while the rest just kind of plodded along for me. That was until we got to the last 5% of the book.
This book left me a little torn. I am usually adore flowery purple prose but the writing style of this book just didn’t gel with me for the first 50 or so pages. It was just filled with very flowery descriptions combined with hundreds of short sharp sentences that if read aloud I would imagine would leave one out of breath. It seemed to have this weird sense of urgency when it was actually a REALLY slow plot line. In fact it wasn’t until the introduction of the love interest that I really started to have any interest in this book.
We follow Nirrim and her daily life in the Wards, a sector of a vast city where the oppressed people are marginalised to unable to travel, wear bright or beautiful clothing or eat sweet foods. Punishment for breaking any of these rules is a tithe of some form of bodily aspect such as hair or blood. Nirrim for me just doesn’t sing as a main character she is predictable. An orphan, that is not like other girls, special but she doesn’t know it, easily manipulated. She is insistent she is happy but then runs off in chase of adventure risking all those she insists she loves in a heartbeat. I have just met this character before. Of course her sense of adventure is spurred on by the arrival of the love interest Sid whom is rakish and good looking, flirtatious and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them. They can show Nirrim everything she has wondered about and more. Again we have seen that love interest before too.
While I did love Sid and Nirrim’s relationship, it just didn’t quite hit the mark. There was a lot of on paper will they wont they without letting the reader feel the angst, which for the major plot of the book was just a bit of a let down. It is still a good read just not thrilling. The same can be said for the secondary plot lines. I could see all the twists and turns coming a mile off. Within the first few chapters of the book I had already sussed out all the major "Twists" bar the one at the very very end (and even then I had an inkling). That again made this a good read but not a great one. It was just a little dull as when the reveals were finally made they were more of a poof than and bang.
The thing that saved this is the worldbuilding. God damn was it gorgeous and interesting and I really just wanted more. We spent a lot of time in middling scenes without action, which were almost static and it was a shame as if we could have spent those scenes exploring ward, the middling night market or the lavish parties I would have rated this book very highly. Also I will admit the ending did save this a bit. It left the romance behind and took Nirrim in a direction I had not considered. This sets us up for a very different story in book two, which it might have just persuaded me to pick up.
Overall my thoughts are this book was good, an enjoyable read, a cute romance and a great ending. It just wasn’t knock your socks off.