I got this e-ARC from Erewhon Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Title: The Midnight Bargain
Author: C.L. Polk
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 384 pages
Year of Publication: October 13th 2020
Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.
In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.
The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?
Set in a world where women has no voice of their own, being forced to marry for political advantage, and are forbidden to pursue high magic. Beatrice Clayborn wants magic more than any woman ever, she practice secretly hoping she could make a great bargain with a spirit so that she could pursue magic and didn’t have to be married. She has to do it before the bargaining season end, or else she would be married off with a man she didn’t love and forced to wear a collar to supress her magic forever.
I love the main idea of the magic system, but I feel like it’s not properly explained, sometimes I fail to understand how it’s exactly work. I think it’s weird that the world if full of magician but there’s so little magic showed in this book. The pace started slow and getting much slower in the middle and I think there are so many fillers, but the pace is starting to get too fast in the last few chapters toward the end. Although I feel like it’s rushed and too easy, but I can’t deny that I love the ending so much and it’s such a great conclusion to the story.
I really love the main character, Beatrice is a strong-willed, fierce, and smart woman, she also believes in gender equity, a trait not many woman has in this patriarchy world. The side characters are interesting too, I love the friendship she developed with Ysbeta, another woman who has the same goal as her, and the luck spirit Nadi, where can I get a friend like Nadi? I need Nadi in my life! I love Ianthe too but I hate the insta-love, I think it would be much better if their relationship developed slowly instead of falling for each other at first sight.
In conclusion, although it’s such a roller coaster but I enjoy this book and I would totally buy this book once it published!
C.L. Polk is the World Fantasy Award- winning author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Witchmark, which was also nominated for the Nebula, Locus, Aurora, and Lambda Literary Awards. It was named one of the best books of 2018 according to NPR, Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Review, BookPage, and the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog. She lives in Alberta, Canada.
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