The Midnight Lie – Marie Rutkoski – The Midnight Lie #1 – Farrar, Straus and Giroux – Published 3 March 2020
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.
As a fan of Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Curse series, I was really looking forward to The Midnight Lie, which is based in the same world as the Winner’s series. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Intrigue and romance (LGBT) drive the plot and the world feels a little like being in a Hunger Games novel – the High Kith world is very reminiscent of the Capitol, while behind the Wall is a little like District 11. The Midnight Lie is a compelling book and will leave readers desperate to get their hands on the next book in the series.
Nirrim lives in a world controlled by what she can’t have or do. She can’t go beyond the wall. She can’t eat sweets or wear colours. She and her fellow Half-Kith only work to produce the goods and food that those above them, the Middlings and the High Kith, can eat, wear or sell. But when an accident leaves her in prison she encounters a traveller from far away who challenges Nirrim to see beyond the restrictions that control her life and seek the magic that is rumoured to originate in her land.
Dystopian, fantasy – The Midnight Lie feels like a little of both. There is magic and a unique world, but the themes of control, segregation, restriction of knowledge and history, and the separate class structures will appeal to fans of dystopian novels.
Readers may not realise it at first, even Nirrim is taken by surprise, but this is very much a LGBT romance. And gosh, it doesn’t hold back. Even as Nirrim integrates her way into the High Kith world and she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding magic in her world and why everything is the way it is, the romance dominates the story and drives the flow of the plot. And I wasn’t complaining. Nirrim and Sid have a wonderful chemistry, yet in other ways they just aren’t suited and seem doomed from the start. Sid is a fantastic character. She is bold, challenging and Brave, yet has her own vulnerabilities. The book doesn’t have a happy ending, but it certainly leaves one very eager to read the next book.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: LGBT, romance, segregation, control, information, magic, classes.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, implied sex scenes with some details. Violence, blood drawing, amputations.
Published: 3 March 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 358 pages.