Cover Image: The Midnight Girls

The Midnight Girls

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The Midnight Girls is my dream YA fantasy; sassy female protagonists, a touch of dark fairytale magic, snowy atmospheric settings. The romance was fantastic, the ENDING was beautiful, and according to some ownvoices reviewers, the polish rep is wonderful. My only complaint is that the title makes absolutely no sense; one of the girls is named Midnight but not the other. Just a weird choice in my opinion. 

rep: Polish-coded cast & setting, lesbian mc, bi female mc, lesbian character, gay character, bi male character, Muslim side character, Jewish side character
tw: child abuse, blood, body horror (brief), death, murder
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Netgalley 

Midnight girls

Full disclosure, the assassin trope is not usually one that I would run out to read but I had heard so many good things about midnight girls that I thought I’d give it a try. So if you love reading about assassins you’ll probably love this book more than me.

I really enjoy the way that Jasinska writes, especially the clear distinction between the two main characters. This is really important to me in a dual point of view as it prevents me from having to keep scrolling back to see who is talking.

The banter between the two main characters is so much fun and kept me going when the cutting out of princes hearts got too much for me. I didn’t enjoy this aspect of the story, I much prefer violence for a necessary purpose instead this just seemed cruel and selfish.

The world building was slow so I could get to know the characters first but held enough information for me to be able to easily feel like I was there. I really enjoyed the limited setting for this story as it helped to immerse me in the characters rather than the world.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Jasinska’s writing was when we heard Marynka’s thoughts as she warred with Zosia’s choice to become a witch herself and leave the servant life behind. Her thoughts moved in so many different directions that it felt like sitting in my own head while I tried to make an important decision.

The slow burn romance was perfect, none of this falling in love across the room stuff that annoys me so much in books. I really enjoyed the passion that both Marynka and Zosia felt for one another in the simplest of things. Admiration for competitive nature, honest speak, being one’s true self, all while still feeling the anger, frustration and rivalry with each other.

I really enjoyed this book, particularly just how different it was to anything I have read before.
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"Marynka was Midday. Her opposite. Her rival. Her... Was there even a word for a rival who you also wanted to kiss?"

The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska is one thrilling ride.

Marynka, Zosią and Beata are servants of 3 sisters... witches that send them on missions to steal the hearts of Princes so that they can eat them and expand they power.  Fail their masters and they will be devoured, their bones left on display for their replacements.

Marynka is Midday and Zosia - her greatest rival - is Midnight. They are in constant competition for hearts to take back to their witches. But what happens when Midday and Midnight meet?

Well, no spoilers here, but let's just say that sparks fly, magic clashes and hearts are lost - in more ways than one.

Marynka and Beata, Morning, are on a mission to retrieve a heart from a Prince of such pure goodness that its power will give Midday's witch the power to overcome her eldest sister, the mistress of the Midnight forest. But more importantly for Midday, it will prove once and for all that she is better and stronger than Midnight.  

Monsters, rivals, soul mates.... the story of Midday and Midnight will grip you, shake you around and leave you wanting more. And never underestimate Morning!

The skill of the author in creating a world where you cheer for the villains, in weaving words into such lyrical descriptions that you soar on the winds along with Marynka, Beata and Zosia, makes this a must read of YA Fantasy lovers and readers who are new to the genre alike.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the review copy of this book.
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Content warning: child abuse, body horror, blood, gore

Three servants serve the three Jaga sisters. Marynka serves Red Jaga as Midday, Beata serves White Jaga as morning, and Zosia serves Black Jaga as Midnight. These girls are monsters in the name of magic, which is only powered by prince’s hearts. Karnawał presents the opportunity for trickery, and both girls seize the opportunity to go after Prince Józef, one with the purest heart yet discovered.

What unfolds is a wonderful, wintery tale of rivalry, devotion, monstrosity, and what it means to be free of one’s past.

Marynka and Zosia are very evil, very driven, but also very stupid. It is absolutely wonderful to see them try to out-maneuver each other while trying to get themselves killed or caught up in international politics. The rivalry is intense, bitter, with the girls having more in common than they think. The theme of proving yourself to a guardian is painfully raw and real here, as being a witch’s servant isn’t easy. The book explores some of the question of what do children owe the people who raise them. It is intense, but not without opportunities for processing and healing.

The correct use of Polish diminutives and last names gave me such a profound sense of relief. Though this is a secondary world fantasy, the nods are not subtle at all, and it really works for establishing the politics surrounding the main rivalry plot. Fantasy!Poland is sandwiched between Fantasy!Prussia and Fantasy!Russia in a time period on the cusp of the first partition which wiped the country off the map. The attention-to-detail also works with the depiction of Warszów as a multi-cultural city featuring not just Christians, but Jews and Muslims as well. The world-building and over-story are intricate in the way history is, which only adds to the tension.

For example, I deeply loved Józef as a character. He’s a prince madly in love with his country and will do anything to save her. He feels like a hero from a classic Polish epic. But he has his own specific hurts, such as with his devoted friend-turned-traitor Kajetan. The way this relationship got entangled with the story of the witch’s servants added so many layers to the tale. Though Józef has a pure heart, it’s not one dimensional. There are no clear heroes and villains, just protagonists and antagonists going after what they want in equal measure.

The aesthetic in this novel is also impeccable. It’s perfect for anyone who loves the more light-hearted aspects of winter: fluffy snow fall, glittering balls, sleigh rides, and ice skating.
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If you like stabby and desperately lonely monster girls, you're in the right place. If not, consider giving it a chance anyways. I sincerely loved this book. However parts were a bit clunky and I felt like it could have done with a bit less repetition. Will still be going back to read Jasinska's prior novel.

Thank you to NetGalley for a preview copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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*thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review*

I was ecstatic to receive a copy of The Midnight Girls to review, and it was enjoyable, from what I read. I made it to about the 50% mark before giving up (for now!). I’m hoping to get a copy from my library in 2022 so I can finish the rest of it. I’m just not in the mood for this type of fantasy right now. 

The pacing was alright, found a few places to be lacking but overall not too bad. Currently, I think this is a 3.5 star read. 

It’s a sapphic enemies to lovers fantasy, which I am hoping I will love once finishing a published copy! 

Don’t take my review to be negative, I don’t want that. Take it as someone who has not finished the book (duh) but wants to finish because it was enjoyable!
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Sapphic enemies to lovers YA fantasy? SIGN ME UP. 

This was a delicious read and I look forward to anything Alicia Jasinka puts out!
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What a wonderful surprise!  I didn't know what to expect from The Midnight Girls -- I picked it because of the beautiful covers and I'd heard it had a sapphic romance.  This little book is magical.  

Marynka, Zosia, and Beata are wonderful, fully-drawn characters and I loved the Poland-inspired, wintery world full of magic and monsters.  The Midnight Girls is unique and refreshing in a genre where YA fantasy can feel repetitive.  It's a great cozy read to curl up with in the cold long evenings of winter.
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I tried several times but I just can't get into this story. I can't even put my finger on why, exactly; it's exactly the genre I like, the writing is nice. It did take a little bit before I understood what was happening, but I don't think even that is what put me off. I hope it does well, it deserves it, but it just wasn't for me, sadly.
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The Midnight Girls is the story I've been craving—fierce girls out to kill their prey set against a backdrop of a glittering winter festival. It's the perfect combination of dark villainy and funny moments and witty banter and revolutionary royals.
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This book had an interesting concept and I liked the setting inspired by Eastern Europe. I also liked the idea of a book told from the anti-heroes' POV. However, other than manner in which the characters gain power, they seemed generic. Because I couldn't connect with the characters, the plot didn't hold my interest. Technically, it was clear, with only a few grammar/wording errors here and there. Overall, easy to digest, but not compelling and not a book would reread.
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The Midnight Girls is such a fantastic and dark and beautiful read. Marynka, as Midday, is absolutely amazing. I love her character so much, her brashness and her fearlessness make her such a captivating lead. Zosia, as Midnight, is another amazing brilliant character. I loved her quiet confidence and her yearning to be free is so relatable. I loved the constant rivalry between Marynka and Zosia, and how it grew and became so much more. The tension they created was palpable and I honestly couldn't decide who I wanted to root for between the two. The prince, Josef, and his 'friend,' Kajetan, were such good secondary characters, and their story could easily have made them the leads in this. The setting and world are so rich and I loved the bit of history we get of Poland and the folklore this is tied to. Such a rich and beautiful story, I want so much more!
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This was a very fun and enjoyable read. The story was intriguing and the characters compelling. I was quickly captivated by Marynka and Zosia, their slow burning romance, the unfolding story being told and the unique world everything was happening in. This was a very different read and that was a great thing.
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We get this two wicked rivals competing for the prince’s heart only to discover that they might be falling for each other. So, I certainly enjoyed reading this book. At first glance, I thought it was just some kind of typical sapphic fantasy book but it definitely kept me intrigued after I picked it up. The book was fun, somewhat light-hearted and Marynka’s interaction with the other characters was amusing to say the least. 

Both Zosia and Marynka were great characters. Beata included. Although I have to say I liked Zosia’s character more. However, this was a four-star for me because I wasn’t really given a shedding light on the entire world-building of the story. I think that the plot was narrowed down that it literally just revolves around Marynka and Zosia fighting over the prince’s heart and making sure the other one doesn’t get in the way. And it kind of frustrated me seeing that the other was so close to getting the prince’s heart, she instead, fights her rival during the chase, resulting in the other not being able to get what she wanted and leaving the prince still alive.

Another thing is in the later chapters wherein Red Jaga and Marynka meet again because Beata called for her. And a couple of pages later, Red Jaga was killed by the prince himself. Like the scene itself (idk if it was the climax of the story) was sort of anti-climactic to me. I thought that Marynka and Zosia would fight together against Red Jaga, but we get the prince killing the witch instead. Not to mention, Kajektan was still alive given the fact that he's human and the witch injured him bad. So I didn't really know how to feel about that at all but it certainly left me empty. 

With that being said, I think that this book was overall an interesting read that'll keep you up for hours until you finish it. The plot was nice, although the world-building and the background of a few events could've been given more information, and the characters were pretty much well-written that it didn't take me long to eventually reach the last chapter.
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3.5 / 5 stars

This book had all the makings of a book that would have been a 5 star read for me.

It had developed and interesting main characters, a unique take on magic systems tied to the time of day, secondary characters that I wanted to have a whole novel dedicated to them, a backdrop of a country on the brink of war, and a healthy dash of political intrigue. And yet, for some reason, I could not get into this story. The writing was done well, and the flow of the story worked.

A huge part of my childhood was the movie Stardust, and this book echoed some elements of that. I think this book could definitely be for someone else, but right now, at this moment in time, the book was just not for me. There was just something about this story I could not get into.
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A vibrant, lovingly vicious romance set in fantasy Poland between two rival monster girls who eat the hearts of men, The Midnight Girls was an unexpected delight this year.

Marynka is Midday, the fiery servant of Red Jaga, who has been competing with Midnight, Black Jaga's servant, for years. The two of them are more monster than girl, having been turned into creatures of iron teeth who can command fire and shadow. And of course, as the day and night are wont to do, they fall in love.

That alone (sun and moon lesbians!) would be enough to sell me. Add in a dash of politics, a romance on the side that rather perfectly foils the main one, and a cool magic system? I'm invested.

I just think it's neat that in this world that's so very heavily based on Poland, not only do all three big Abrahamic religions coexist, they also have their own magic systems based on their respective mythologies (e.g. Jewish golems and Muslim djinn). I absolutely love it when European fantasy reminds readers of the diversity that was always there, historically. And I always love when religion in books can form the basis for magic that is as powerful as folk magic.

I enjoyed the concept of Marynka and Zosia, though I was ultimately a little underwhelmed. It burned a little too fast, a little too explosively for my personal tastes, and the development didn't feel smooth, especially near the end. I did love the beginning, though, with these two yearning, touch-starved idiots navigating their messy emotions. I was in a similar boat with the side romance, even though I liked how the relationships matched each other thematically.

But anyway, I think the book was well-crafted, with the themes of change and liberations heavy in every aspect of the novel. It's set in a time of political turmoil where people are fighting for their freedom, and the characters themselves are fighting free of the systems that have bound them for so long. There is a third servant, Beata/Morning, who has given up fighting her witch's abuse, who serves as the opposite angel on Marynka's shoulder while Zosia sits on the other, urging her to choose freedom. I really liked the concept, but I did feel that Beata was an underutilized character. If this book gets a sequel, I would love to see more about her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I sure hope this is just the start of a long trend of monster girls who can tear people apart.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

If I had a nickel for everytime I loved a fairytale YA book about ripping princes' hearts out, I'd have two nickels which is not a lot but it's weird that it happened twice. The Midnight Girls is a lovely, winter-y fairytale set in medieval Poland that gives us

- unapologetic monster girls
- rivals to lovers
- bloodthirsty witches
- sapphic romance and
- Karnawal magic

Marynka, Beata and Zosia are servants of the Black, White and Red Jaga, bloodthirsty witches whom they have to bring princes' hearts. Marynka and Zosia have been in an unspoken contest for who can collect more bloody tokens for years so it's no surprise they both set their sights on the same prince. During Karnawal season, in the heart of the snowy kingdom of Lechia, Marynka and Zosia dance around each other while they try to capture Prince Jozef's heart. Things complicate further when the two develop feelings for each other.

So this was really lovely. It is the perfect read for winter and it made you feel as though you were in a sleigh with some furs around you driving through the snow at midnight. I loved the setting of medieval Poland and how prominent the folklore and fairytale elements were. I've always associated Eastern European fairytales to be a lot more spooky and bloodthirsty than Western ones and that is definitely true here. The atmosphere is pretty dark while not being bleak. Poland at that time was also a melting pot of Christians, Muslims and Jews which I personally didn't know but was glad the book included.

Marynka and Zosia are not good people, they are monstrous and savage and they do not apologize or change themselves. I really loved that aspect of both their characters because it is so rare that we don't get a goody two-shoes heroine in YA. Their romance, spurred by fierce rivalry, was well-developed and their will-they-won't-they banter really kept me hooked. I also really enjoyed the side characters like Beata and Prince Jozef who did have quite a lot of depth for side characters.

All in all, The Midnight Girls was an entertaining, fast-paced read that's perfect for the holidays. I recommend it to fans of The Bear and the Nightingale.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

The Midnight Girls promised to be fun and chaotic, and it delivered. The queer villain trope is reclaimed to great effect here, with I loved the central theme of badass, cutthroat girls who come together in an incredible execution of fantasy rivals/enemies-to-lovers. 

Marynka and Zosia are such great characters. I love how they share that commonality of going to extremes to get what they want, but they also have so many differences too, which further  fuels the tension. But ultimately, it’s a believable transition from being at each others’ throats to falling for each other, and I love when two people who want to burn the world down (or commit some other dastardly deed) come to the realization that they can accomplish more together. It’s also a nice contrast to the archetype of many comp titles, where the “good” character tames the “bad” one, and while that’s a perfectly valid fantasy, I love that they’re both bad and neither feels the need to compromise for the other. 

Another highlight is the setting. While the book’s release date was delayed, likely due to supply chain issues, it’s still coming out in winter (for the Northern Hemisphere folks anyway), so the vibes are still very appropriate. It really evokes that sense of a really cold place, and I also liked the vibes of 18th century Poland that were conveyed through the world building. And Alicia Jasinska has a writing style that sucks you in, making you feel and experience the setting. 

This book is beautiful, immersive, and fun in equal measure. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, morally gray sapphic fantasy romance.
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✨Sapphic rivals to lovers ✨

Marynka had had to bring a prince's heart to the witch Red Jaga or else she would've been punished. She had gone to complete her mission only to find someone else had already taken his heart. It was Midnight, Black Jaga's new student. Over the years, she keeps besting Marynka and stealing her hearts. Marynka cannot afford to keep losing and is determined that this next heart will be hers. She will make her master proud and prove that she's better than Midnight. 

This book was so delightfully gay. I loved it so much! The story follows a very exciting rivalry between two witches' servants. They keep bickering and sabotaging each others' attempts at getting the prince's heart. The tension between them is immaculate. 😌
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This was so good! I'm not seeing anything about the story being continued, which is a damn shame because I would LOVE to see more of these characters. Actual , well-developed, morally ambiguous, sapphic monster girls. Yes please.
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