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The Midnight Bargain

by C. L. Polk

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18316113,133 (3.98)17

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it was nice. I enjoyed it. Wish-fulfillment-y (not that that's bad) and uplifting (in a sense) in the end. ( )
  iewi | Apr 19, 2021 |
I checked out this book from my library as part of my reading of Nebula finalists for this year.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. LOOOOOOOVE. It hits all of my sweet spots. A regency-inspired original world, with magic! Women striving for independence against societal expectations! A central romance with a guy who is a respectful, smart, supportive person, not a jerk! Smart heroines! Everything about this book is glorious and wonderful, including an ending that delivered a multitude of surprises and immense satisfaction. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Mar 25, 2021 |
(Up for Nebula consideration, which is how I was able to read it. Thank you, SFWA Reading Packet.)

Austen-esque romance set in an alt-world with magic. Well written, feminist & funny, and quite entertaining. I particularly liked the evolution of the relationship between Beatrice and Ysbeta as they move from rivals to friends. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Mar 18, 2021 |
When I was 12 or 13, I discovered my mother’s trove of Georgette Heyer Regency novels and I dove right in, unaware of the sexual politics underlying the stories. Decades later we have C. L. Polk’s “The Midnight Bargain,” a sort-of Regency YA fantasy that is all about sexual politics. Beatrice is the 18-year-old daughter of a banking family, not rich but respectable, who must participate in Bargaining Season, where the scions of the mid- and upper classes choose their mates; but in this world, some men and women have magic. Because this magic involves summoning and controlling beings from the spirit realm, who are powerful but very greedy for physical experiences, women with magic are at risk of having a spirit enter the fetus of any child they carry, resulting in mass destruction. So women are “warded” during their child-bearing years, which cuts them off completely from magic and which makes it impossible for them to reach their full magical potential. Beatrice has the makings of being a very powerful mage indeed, but she needs to marry well to save her family’s fortunes; those competing desires are only complicated when she meets the Lavan siblings, very beautiful, very rich and very magical…. I like the world-building here, but I found our main character quite off-putting: she is so polemical in her constant arguments about the unfairness of “the system” that I just got annoyed with her. Of course the system is unfair, of course women are devalued and, essentially, enslaved - we get it, already! Then again, as a book meant for teenage readers (I assume), perhaps that much ranting and raving is to be expected. I’ll definitely read more of this author as I find stories, because “The Midnight Bargain” is well written; I’ll just hope future stories are a bit more in the “show, not tell” vein. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Feb 21, 2021 |
This is not a book I would normally read, but did so because it is one of the Canada Reads contenders for 2021.

It held my interest, which says a lot for a book of this genre! I commend C.L. Polk on her imagination. This was a blend of Jane Austen meets magical fantasy. Debutante balls, making a good marriage, money issues...etc. It also dealt with the choice so many women still have to make in our world between family and career. Granted, most of us have it much easier than the women in this novel, but the questions are the same: why does the burden fall solely (in this novel) on women? Why does no one question this?

So, good writing that provokes an examination of our own world...for that I give it high marks. ( )
  LynnB | Feb 19, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. L. Polkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alciano, MicaelaCover designer & interior elementssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Alexis, Kim, and Sarah
you know what you did
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The carriage drew closer to Booksellers' Row, and Beatrice Clayborn drew in a hopeful breath before she cast her spell.
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