I loved this historical fantasy standalone and rated it a 4.7/5 stars. The reason why it wasn’t 5 stars was mainly because a few chapters in the middle felt a little slower and uneventful. I wanted the emotions to be a bit stronger for some of the epic scenes but sometimes that barrier just happens in third person narrative.
I loved the magic system with the spirits and the feminist themes. I’ve been told this author is known for LGBTQ+ representation of characters but I don’t recall there being any in “Midnight Bargain” so that confused me a little.
Here are my live thoughts while reading:
The opening scene is every book lovers’ dream. A female heroine on the search for a rare coded book that will enhance her status and magical powers among men. But her purchase is blocked by a cunning sibling duo hunting for the same thing.
I love that she didn’t give up on her goal and through of a new plan despite her father wanting her to attend more meetings with suitors to marry her off.
Omg the scene with the opening spirit Nadi is perfection.
Oooh now she wants two things but can’t have both!!!
Harriet is one annoying little sister lol
But the father and societal patriarchy seems to be the villain of the story.
The stakes are raised when it shows how much trouble her family is in financially
Chapter 5 unexpectedly switches to Yabeta’s POV when I had assumed the whole novel would be one point of view, third person, past tense.
Oh no. Poor Spiritborn! I expected more emotion about this though.
I’m confused by some of the warding collar rules involving pregnancy.
When Ianthe and Beatrice had an long argument about gender inequality it was lacking emotions shown in their exchange. This novel is more ‘social’ oriented than what I originally assumed from the first scene.
I love further world building after chapter 6 and she has to be more careful, which is clear. But I’m hoping for more action soon or a betrayal or a twist.
So far the vibe reminds me of both Spellbreaker and Fire In the Glass. Those reviews are also on my blog.
Question of the century or millennium: Is a woman considered selfish by going after her own passions?
At the halfway mark I’m getting a little bored of the courting because I thought there would be more to the story, but goodness, Ysbeta’s mom was a bitch!!!
As the novel progresses and the theme increases in Beatrice not having any say in her future and the men “buying” a wife is so exhausting. I truly need to find more feminist novels where the woman isn’t solely fighting against men continually in control, but already in a place of power.
This paragraph, as hard as it was to read, was extremely effective:
“And then the collar clicked closed. She landed with a thump. The collar settled around her neck and all the color leeched out of the room. A soft whine sounded in her ears, dulling the sound of her own sobs.”
The climatic scene was AWESOME! Sometimes I was a bit confused since there were 6 names and had to make sure I understood who was winning but the idea/concept of the scene was brilliant.
I’m highly satisfied with the ending and until there was an epilogue was slightly uncertain if there would be a sequel but things wrapped up nicely for this brilliant standalone.
Usually when I’m done with a book I just move onto the next one. But this is one where a enjoyed it to them point of looking up the author’s other works.