Cover Image: The Midnight Girls

The Midnight Girls

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The Midnight Girls is a YA fantasy book that revolves around two rival girls (who can also transform into monsters) and their competition to steal the prince's heart for the witches they serve. Their rivalry is extremely flirtatious, but it also puts them in lots of bloody and intense situations. There's a lot of fighting and running around and sabotaging. The world the characters live in is inspired by Poland in the late eighteenth century and much of the clothes, food, and culture is drawn from there.
The two main characters, Marynka and Zosia, were so much fun to read about both as individuals and as a pair. The side characters also were well developed and added a lot to the story. I loved the enemies-to-maybe not anymore romance arc.
The writing flowed quickly and the story was easy to devour. I was surprised when I got near the end because time flew as I read this book.
This was my first Alicia Jasinska book but it won't be my last! I highly recommend this sapphic fantasy book to anyone who likes the genre.
Thank you so much to NetGalley for this ARC to read and review!
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“No matter how dark the night, a new day always dawned. The sun never, ever failed to rise.”

e-ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley

3.75 stars(rounded up to 4) for The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska. This is a story about three witch servants: Morning, Midday, and Midnight, who are sent to physically steal the pure heart of a prince. Midday and Midnight have been rivals for years, always trying to best one another to hearts. But getting this heart and delivering it to their witches is going to be their hardest task yet. Along the way they discover there could be so much more to their lives than delivering Prince Hearts and being servants to the Jaga witches!

This story is told in a dual POV between Midday (Marynka) and Midnight (Zoisa). My favorite part of this story was definitely the characters. Midday is the type of person who does not give up despite failure and adversity. She has always been considered second in power to Midnight and has had to work hard for everything. This portrays a beautiful message about growing through failure. Midnight also has her own story. She wants to live her own life and is not willing to be a servant for anyone anymore. As these two have been competitors for years, it makes for some great banter when they finally come across each other. You will definitely enjoy their building relationship which is VERY slow burn. The romance definitely takes the back seat in this story. I also enjoyed Prince Jozef and thought he was very admirable. He ends up playing a vital role in the story between the two girls. You can’t help but hope that he does not get killed! 

The location of the story, Lechija, is loosely based on Poland at the end of the eighteenth century. The story is told in the wintertime and there are fun aspects here such as snow covered forests and sleigh rides. This definitely makes for a fun winter-time reading vibe! I did appreciate the pronunciation guide at the beginning given the names of the characters were based on this culture as well.

My main complaint of the book was that the first two acts were repetitive. Midday and Midnight try multiple times to kill the prince and aren't successful. Mostly because their rivalry ends up getting in the way. It was very "rinse and repeat” for the first half of the book. I also had a difficult time with the dual POV. Sometimes I would get lost on who was the narrator of the chapter. The author frequently switched between the servant names and real names of the characters and sometimes it was just too much. There were too many M names out there and could be confusing in the first half of the book before we had a good sense of each individual character. I had a hard time keeping track of the dialogue at points because of this. I also feel like there was not enough backstory into the politics of the land till the end. I was confused by interactions between the King and the Tsarina, the ambassador, the previous war, and how it all truly came together until the last part of the book.

In the end, I think this book had a fun and different premise. The third act was certainly interesting and entertaining, and I think it ended in a good place. Goodreads states it’s a standalone but I think it was left very open in the end for other books. I’m always a fan of reading books where the main characters are villains or at least morally-grey and enjoyed Midday and Midnight’s growth throughout the book. There was also great LGBT representation. Overall I would recommend this to fans of YA fantasy with LGBTQIA+ characters, slow burn romance, and a fun winter vibe!

TW/CW: Violence, murder, kidnapping, avalanche, parental abandonment

“Was there even a word for a rival that you also wanted to kiss?

Review posted to goodreads, instagram, amazon, and barnes and noble
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The Midnight Girls is a sapphic fantasy rival to lovers stories about two girls who are the servants of two sisters (and rival) witches and who have been raised to compete against each other but have never directly met. The concept is so fascinating and although it was a very slow starter for me I ended up really enjoying myself. 

The world-building is gorgeous and the interweaving of folklore and fantasy is flawless and incredibly beautiful. A lot of the imagery is top tier. The writing is atmospheric and decadent and suits the story marvelously. The characters are all well developed (although I had a hard time warming to Marynka). The two MC's- Marynka and Zosia balance each other wonderfully, they have such different personalities and perspectives that it's intriguing to watch them interact and develop a relationship with each other. The third 'witches servant' Beata is also well-rounded and despite being portrayed as the 'weakest' she's anything but and has a lot going on in her own arc. 

I have to say though, I was absolutely enamored with the background dynamics of  Kajetan and Józef and desperately want to see more of their story/past and overall dynamic, it was so interesting. 

This is morally grey, queer, beautifully written, and just a lot of fun. Overall I really enjoyed this. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
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'The Midnight Girls' follows the main character, Marynka, who is the apprentice of a witch. For as long as she's been an apprentice, she has thrived on competing against a rival apprentice. A girl she's never met. A girl she calls Midnight. The story focuses on three apprentices viying for the pure heart of a noble Prince. 

I found this book to be okay at best. I DNF it, and only got a third of the way through. It gets better as you continue to read, but I honestly cannot see how or why this story is so long. 

The book is in the format of multiple perspectives, this being of Marynka and Zosia. However, although I found Zosia to be a likeable and misunderstood character. The character of Marynka is someone I would personally enjoy hitting with a frying pan. This is ultimately the reason I didn't finish the book; as she was so boisterous and irritating, and just so, so big headed. I couldn't stand her. 

Rated 2 stars - Solely because I liked the idea of the story, and the world building was incredible.
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Absolutely loved this one! The magic system was amazing, and I loved the two main protagonists! Very much highly recommend!!
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Sapphic rivals-to-lovers make villainy look fun in this ya fantasy standalone. Inspired by late-18th century Poland, the world is brimming with dark forests hiding heart-eating witches and towns and cities hosting a religious milieu of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. External imperial forces may vie for control of the area, but there are internal magical threats to fear, as well. Our story centers on three monsters created by the Jaga sisters in the forest. These monsters are teenage girls honed into weapons that steal princes' hearts. All flavors of heart are fair game for our predators, but the story follows them as they seek out the ultimate prize: a pure heart. Marynka and Zosia have always been rivals, but this is a competition like no other, one with higher stakes and fewer secrets between them.

It's a furious, action-packed standoff as our monsters try to outperform one another and win the prize. They are unapologetically vicious and powerful as they pass through the upper echelons of society to get close to his royal highness. The tension between the two is palpable and fraught as they come to understand one another as something other than the competition. The third monster, Beata, creates an interesting counterpoint, not caught up in the mutual frenzy.

The world-building here is decadent and festive even with the dark patina of magic and the looming imperial threats. The sapphic romance is chaotic and heartfelt, with an equally resounding mlm love story at the periphery. While the hunt for the heart is resolved by book's end, it still leaves us with a bit of an open ending regarding how these girls will move forward and stake a claim on their own future. I enjoyed the read, especially appreciating the anti-imperialist sentiment, even if our monstrous girls don't exactly take up the cause.
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The Midnight Girls is an atmospheric novel with Polish folklore weaved in. Marynka and Zosia are the main characters competing against each other for a Prince's heart, not in the way most people would though. As monsters, they go after pure hearts to take back to their grandmothers who had rescued them when they were younger. 

I enjoyed both of the girls as characters but I truly enjoyed Beata who for me was underestimated by all throughout the novel. She was focused and never let her emotions deter her from her task. Personally, I think that Marynka and Zosia got distracted by their thoughts and emotions too soon in the novel for a book that is marketed as villain x villain. It felt more like rivals than enemies but that could be a personal thing and my preference for morally grey characters. 

The writing was absolutely beautiful and I found it easy to get into the novel. I was entertained the whole time and I liked the various aspects of the magic each character possessed. It added intrigue and variety to a small magic system. The romance was excellent but as stated before, I feel like it got too much in the way of the enemies' relationship. I did find the pacing to be a little bit slow and was hoping for more hearts to take since this was a stand-alone. If it were a series then I would understand the one heart focus throughout the entire novel. but that is a personal preference. 

Overall, this was a good novel. It was great to read about different folklore than the majority of other books and the characters were interesting. Although the romance and pacing did bring my rating down some, I would still recommend this to other readers and my friends. 3.5/5
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The Midnight Girls is a dark Polish inspired fantasy, and I absolutely loved it. Marynka and Zosia perfectly fit the enemies to lovers trope. Their story was fun and creepy. Loved all the magic. Strong witchy girls are the best.
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Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-arc!
The midnight girls caught my attention in the first paragraph. I was pulled into this world by the writing and the atmosphere. I had a great time following Midday and Midnight stories
That said, it's not a book that will remain special to me and I probably won't reread it. But if you wanna enjoy a read about sapphic girls doing what they most to survive and their relationship with each other this book is for you!.
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The Midnight Girls is a sapphic enemies to lovers ya fantasy about two girls Zosia and Marynka who were taken by witches when they were young to be servants. Throughout the years, both girls have been in competition with each other to see who can get the princes’ hearts. Literally. 

The story itself was beautifully written and the details for the world were astounding. I loved the wintery vibe and the Polish setting. The romance was more of a slow burn and I really enjoyed that. Reading from both the girls prospectives kept the book fast paced and intriguing. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend picking this one up if you love monster girls and their ruthless ways.

Thank you SourceBooks Fire and NetGalley for the e-arc!
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Dark, chaotic and Queer, this was such a good book to read after Little Thieves. The best girls in fantasy stories are sarcastic, hilarious and morally grey, which we get in Marynka. I loved that the quieter, more cautious perspective of Zosia balanced her out, and it was easy to root for them as a couple.

Despite the dark story of two monstrous girls, seeking to tear out the heart of a Prince, this story was so... fun? It feel like a mad caper to see who could get there first, and what would happen next to deter them. I found myself rooting for the Prince, Józef, and his friend and maybe-lover, Kajetan, and I would honestly re-read the entire story from their perspective too.

Rooted in Polish history, this standalone fantasy story of three girls who will stop at nothing to get what they want is a surprisingly quick read, but the world building is rich and the characters are complex, each having their own histories and reasons for the choices they make. This is such a perfect winter book.
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This book ticks a lot of boxes for me. Queer rep, likeable villains, enemies to lovers, a great story; check, check, check! 

Marynka serves Red Jaga and always finds herself in competition with Midnight, Black Jaga's servant. In order to beat Midnight, Marynka will have to steal the pure heart of a prince. But along the way they discover themselves and each other in a way they never expected. 

I loved the world, the characters, the monstrous natures. It was such a compelling book and I recommend it to anyone who loves the above mentioned tropes! 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this wonderful story!
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Behold, sapphic villains! I think this is the first book I’ve read with protagonists who could be considered evil (ehh, I think they’re more morally grey), and it was so much fun! Alicia Jasinska’s writing is readable and she knows how to create well-rounded main and side characters. Written in double third-person POV, we see both sides of the intense rivalry (and eventually romance!) between the main characters. 

The three witches (Jagas) of Lechija complete with one another to capture princes’ hearts to fuel their power, but since they can’t get the hearts for themselves, they use their servants to do so. Marynka aka Midday (17), the chaotic and fiery servant of Red Jaga, has a rivalry-slash-obsession with Midnight, the servant of Black Jaga. Sneaky and cunning Zosia aka Midnight (18-19) is the most powerful of the three servants, but she wants to cut ties with Black Jaga and live her own life. When Marynka and her best friend Beata (aka Morning, servant of White Jaga) are sent to team up to acquire Prince Jozef’s pure heart, things get harder when they realize Midnight is after the same heart. 

Zosia and Marynka are complete opposites and their interactions are so entertaining. I enjoyed watching Marynka flirt with her homoerotic rival while still yearning to annihilate her, and I loved seeing stoic Zosia become weak to Marynka’s charms. This book is a great example of why opposites-attract romance works so well (imo), and adding messiness and rivalry to the mix makes Zosia/Marynka a top-tier ship. I also appreciated that there are several queer, well-developed side characters. My favorite of these is Beata — while she’s technically the “weakest” of the three servants, she’s nowhere near weak and has her own standout moments of badassery and vulnerability. 

I love the concept of the plot and found it mostly exciting; however, it was confusing at times and I often had to reread parts to make sure I wasn’t missing anything (i.e. I feel like a certain character totally should have realized something but just…didn’t, for whatever reason). I also think the book could have been longer. It’s clear that this world is more magical realism than hardcore fantasy, but I still would have liked to learn more about the magic system. For instance, we know close to nothing about the Jagas, and we only meet one of them on page. Why do they have so much power? Are there more of them? Finally, I didn’t find the ending particularly satisfying, and I’m sad that this is a standalone because I think this story has lots of potential for continuation. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even though I was more impressed with the rivalry/romance and characters than the plot. I’ll definitely be looking out for Jasinska’s future works!

tw/cw: child abuse (emotional, physical), alcohol (recreational), animal death, death, blood, gore, manipulation, murder, Stockholm syndrome

I received an ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A wonderful fantasy book with an immersive world, I really enjoyed the world building. While the plot was intriguing, I felt as though the romance fell flat and lacked a compelling drive.
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Okay, so if you promise me a book has tones similar to House of Salt and Sorrows, you better believe I'm going to read it! The Midnight Girls promised to be a YA fantasy with a mixture of The Wicked Deep (on my TBR list) and House of Salt and Sorrows. It is also very LGBT-friendly, which is a huge plus.

Zosia and Marynka are two ordinary girls. Well, except for the fact that they are both witch's assistants and have been sent to the Kingdom of Lechija with a dark task. These ambitious girls have lofty goals in life, mainly to gain as much power and knowledge as possible.

They went to the festival as unlikely friends, but their friendship is about to be tested. You see, they've both been sent here for the same heart. Here they will battle one another while trying to avoid a city of witch hunters to gain their ultimate goal.

I have concluded that I need more sapphic fantasy in my life. Thankfully, my most recent read, The Midnight Girls, hit the mark. This was such a fun and unique read, as two witches battle it out for power and, later, love.

The Midnight Girls pulls from Polish lore and culture, creating a lush world that is fascinating to read about. Seriously, I could have happily read more about both the magic and the festivals. Either alone could have kept me occupied for hours, but together? I was sold.

It didn't hurt that I loved both Zosia and Marynka. Sure, most people would say that their actions are not exactly good – but their story certainly is captivating to read about - even the darker elements. On that note: be warned that both child abuse and body horror play a part in this on). More than that, I loved the romance that ensued, as I am a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope.

I'm not the best in history, so I can't comment on any historical inaccuracies or inaccuracies that may be in The Midnight Girls. All I can tell you is that I adored the vibe of this novel and all of the details that Alicia Jasinka wove into the tale.
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A winter festival where one finds their soulmate is the backdrop for a battle between two witches who have been drawn to each other for years. Witches need to eat hearts to amass power - and Marynka is after the prince’s heart to show her worth to her grandmother. Zosia has beaten her to so many prey. The slow burn of enemies to allies to lovers is perfection. There’s no insta-love here. There’s angst, confusion, trickery, attraction, and trust. It’s a rich LGBTQ full of world building, competition, and adventure.
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This was great! I read this during a crazy week at work, but I still wanted to read this when I came home. The tension and all the action was really well done.
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The Midnight Girls is a vibrant, Polish-inspired fantasy with a fantastic rivals-to-lovers relationship between two loveable yet monstrous girls.

Three girls serve three witches (Red, White, and Black Jaga), delivering them powerful hearts ripped from the chest of princes in exchange for their safety. Marynka and Zosia have a burning rivalry – ever since Zosia beat Marynka to a heart. Marynka is desperate to please the witch she serves, Red Jaga, who gives her just enough praise to offset her constant cruelty. When sent to get the rare, pure heart of Prince Jozef, a fierce competition breaks out. Zosia is after the heart too. What Marynka and Zosia couldn’t prepare for was the burning chemistry between them – which might change everything.

The Midnight Girls is a story that invokes a fairytale feeling, filled with magic and dazzling, vibrant descriptions. The dynamic between Marynka and Zosia was the perfect fulfilment of the rivals-to-lovers trope. Marynka is competitive, desperate to win at any cost, before realising it might not be the competition, but who she’s competing against that matters. It’s the winter Karnawal season in the city, and that setting adds a gorgeous beauty and sense of transformation to the book. It would have been good to have a little more depth, both in worldbuilding and character, but what was there was brilliantly compelling. This story was sparkling with passion and excitement – the perfect read for people who love fairytales and morally grey protagonists.
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I received an advanced copy of The Midnight Girls through NetGalley so I could share my review with you!

Morning, Midday, and Midnight, the servants to three dark witches, all have the same purpose in life.  They must gather the hearts of princes, stealing them to bring to their masters to fuel their magic.  Midday, a fiery girl called Marynka, is hungry for her master’s approval.  No matter how she tries to be the best servant, however, Midnight is always there to best her.  Zosia, more commonly known as Midnight, has moved beyond wanting love or approval for her work.  Unlike Marynka, she doesn’t crave anything above freedom from her master.  The only way for her to break free from the powerful witch binding her, though, is to steal the heart of a pure-hearted prince and consume it herself, but pure-hearted princes are hard to find.  When Zosia and Marynka are both assigned to a dangerous mission to infiltrate the Karnawał festivities in a neighboring kingdom and kill the pure-hearted prince living there, they are each willing to do whatever it takes to win this final victory.  But, when Midnight and Midday clash, no one knows who will be left standing.

You can get your copy of The Midnight Girls today from Sourcebooks Fire!

After reading Alicia Jasinska’s debut novel, The Dark Tide (which was one of my top 2020 reads), I knew that she needed to be added to the top of my instant-buy author list.  Jasinska’s sense of world-building is incredible, and her sapphic romance plotlines are simply the best.  I loved The Midnight Girls even more than I loved The Dark Tide, which I did not think was possible!  The dark, unapologetically villainous protagonists provided interesting and refreshing perspectives to read from, keeping me wrapped up in their competition until the very last page.   From the wintery atmosphere to the dark, twisted magic, everything about this book was pure perfection!  There was the perfect balance of humor and high-stakes, to the point that I didn’t know if I’d be laughing or crying about what happened next.  What I wouldn’t give for a sequel, so I can read more about Zosia, Marynka, and the world they live in!

My Recommendation-
The Midnight Girls is an absolute MUST READ for anyone who loves high-tension, enemies-to-lovers romances!  I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone looking to end their 2021 with a five-star read!
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I have read Alicia Jasinska's previous novel, The Dark Tide, and while I enjoyed it, my biggest complaint was that I felt the world/mythology was not as fleshed out enough as it needed to be. With The Midnight Girls, it's like the author took that complaint and flipped it on its head because this is the farthest thing from sparse.

In a fantasy land heavily influenced by Poland, three fierce witches battle for the hearts of princes. Depending on their purity, these hearts will prolong the life and magic of Red, White, and Black Jaga. Going in the place of the powerful witches are enchantresses--young children given magic at a time when they would have died so they will be indebted. The three enchantresses represent Morning, Midday, and Midnight. Midday and Midnight have been pitted against each other for their entire magical second life to see who will be the most powerful in the eyes of their "grandmothers."

The two perspectives we are given are Midday (Marynka) and Midnight (Zosia). They tell their stories in interlocking parts that reveal details about what it truly has been like to grow up under the influence of the witches. Marynka has only every wanted to prove to Red Jaga that she is worthy of the magic she was given and she assumes Zosia feels the same. But as the two of them meet face-to-face for the first time without their monstrous bodies (which are *so* cool btw), can they work out another option together? Or will the draw they feel between them not be enough to surmount their lifelong rivalry?

Everything about this was perfect. The characters, monsters, magic, plot development, setting, character motivations, etc....all superb. I can't wait to see what else Alicia Jasinska is going to write.

**Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC copy in exchange for an honest review!
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