The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk is a tale of magic, and what it takes to keep it. In The Midnight Bargain, Beatrice defies all societal rules to fight to keep her magic.
“The talent for sorcery in women is a curse when it ought to be a blessing.”
When this book was good, it was very good. And when this book was bad, it was very bad. That made reviewing it on a star level relatively difficult. I enjoyed the world and the mythology in it quite a lot. The rules around sorcery and how they controlled women’s magic but still used them to create strong mages was really interesting. The characters had depth and interests beyond superficial ones- they wanted to be powerful mages all for their own reasons.
“The current system lays all of the restriction, responsibility, and all of the burden on sorceresses. Men aren’t inconvenienced in any way. They may do whatever they like. For them, the system isn’t broken, so why look for a solution?”
The insta-love plot of this story was honestly completely unnecessary. It was beyond unbelievable, which is my usual complaint, and it literally was not needed. This story could have bloomed in a wonderful and fun way if Beatrice was not trying to decide between love and her magic by chapter three after meeting Ianthe for the first time.
I found Beatrice and Ysbeta’s relationship really wonderful to read about. You don’t often read of ride or die female friendships in these kinds of stories, and so I truly appreciated theirs (even if part of me longed for them to be in love with each other). The spirit, Nadi, was possibly my favorite character in the entire book. An endearing little puppy of a spirit that provided good comic-relief.
The back and forth of the balls and the parties were a bit tedious, and I wish there had been less of that and more of the practice of magic. However, because the characters were so good and the world concept so fun to read, this was a 3.5 out of 5 star read for me.
“What will people say?”
“Whatever they please…are their opinions more powerful than a father’s love for his daughter?”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.