Cover Image: The Midnight Girls

The Midnight Girls

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Member Reviews

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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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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