Cover Image: The Midnight Girls

The Midnight Girls

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Member Reviews

The Midnight Girls was a great read, especially during the "spooky season!" The worldbuilding was solid, although I did find myself skimming a couple of slightly over-long descriptive passages. I loved the intense and complicated relationships among the main characters, the sardonic humor and intentional over-the-top drama. All in all, a fun ride!
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4.5 stars

This book will appeal to a certain type of reader, and that reader is ME. Here are all the reasons why I adored it:

-sapphic rivals to lovers
-homoerotic obsession with beating each other. "I can't stop thinking about her... ONLY I AM ALLOWED TO DEFEAT HER... DEFEATING HER IS MY REASON FOR LIVING... This is definitely because I hate her, yup, no other reason. I definitely want her to die."
-monster girls!!
-ff grumpy x sunshine dynamic, except it's literal because Marynka is fire and daylight incarnate while Zosia is shadows and the night
-Jasinska's usual gorgeous writing style
-Vivid atmosphere and attention to historical detail
-Historically accurate diversity in 18th century Poland!! Even I didn't know it was a melting pot of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. It also tackles Poland's situation with the Russian empire.

I've read a lot of YA fantasy but this one really stands out. It's languid, sure, but it's as delectable as honey. It's just so palpable. I felt like I was in 18th century Poland myself, riding sleighs and eating pastries and fighting with swords in the snowy forest.

The only reason this is a 4.5 is because the pacing is a little unsteady. The first portion is really slow-going, and it didn't help that I was in a huge reading slump during that time. It's more character-driven and sets the stage. I have a feeling that some readers will DNF at this stage. But then the second half becomes more fast-paced and I devoured it immediately!

This review isn't enough to cover just how blown away I was by Jasinska's vivid setting. In November I'm releasing an interview with her that explores it deeper, so keep an eye out for that.

Most importantly, let me talk about these characters!! Because the romance was just delightful. As a self-proclaimed villain monsterfan enemies to lovers stan, I felt like the author was one of us. Zosia and Marynka (and their third friend Beatka) are assistants to three sister witches. They are known by their pseudonyms Midnight, Midday, and Morning, respectively. True to their names, their powers are drawn from the hours they rule over. So Zosia is a loner, very cold, frightening, and secretly ambitious. Marynka is passionate and fiery, cheerful, an utter chatterbox. They've spent their entire immortal lives competing against each other to collect prince's hearts for their masters. I mean, literal hearts, because eating hearts gives you power. For years, they've played a cat and mouse game, always just missing each other -- until now, when they are both assigned to the same prince, and encounter each other during the Karnawal.

And thus begins their game. While Zosia and Marynka compete to kill the prince, they join all matters of Karnawal events: masquerade balls and sleigh parties and ice skating. Of course, at one point they realize they're having more fun one-upping each other than actually killing the prince. And at one point, they realize they're more similar than they thought -- and maybe there can be more to this life than being two servants...

Their romance was utterly tropey and I loved it. In many ways, this is a quiet book -- there is no epic quest (only a small competition), no heroine heading a revolution, no deadly court intrigue. But I felt that it's YA fantasy at its best: just pure fun, and clearly written from the heart.

Also, please, I need to know more about the prince and his boyfriend-who-he-definitely-hates. I just love it when heteronormativity is turned on its head and instead of 2 straight couples, we get 2 gay couples who have to save their own idiots lol.

I was already a fan of Alicia's debut, and now I'm even more excited to see what she writes next!

Thank you to NetGalley and SourceBooks Fire for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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⋆⋆⋆⋆½ (rounded to 5)

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to read this ARC!

Content Warning: death, child abuse, violence, murder.

Marynka and Zosia have grown up in the snowy kingdom of Lechija, polar opposites who spend their time tearing out the hearts of men in order to serve the witches who took them in as little girls. It's Karnawał, and now they're competing for the best and purest heart of all, beating in the chest of Lechija's prince. Marynka is Midday, a monster who can control fire and heat at her will; Zosia is Midnight, who flourishes in the cold and darkness, able to wield them like weapons. But on their journey to the capital, Warszów, Midnight and Midday find that they have more in common than they think -- and that their rivalry might go beyond simple dislike. Forced to decide if they want to live the rest of their lives under the thumb of the cruel witches who call themselves their grandmothers, or if there might be freedom in being a monster, Zosia and Marynka fight (and slowly fall in love) on this dangerous journey that will leave them wondering what the future holds. 

Coming out in December, The Midnight Girls is set to be a perfect Christmas read, full of snowy forests, ice-skating, and two monstrous girls that will capture your heart (both figuratively and literally)! Since the two main characters are, in fact, villains, I had a feeling I would love reading about these two girls who struggle with their complicated attraction as well as what it means to be a monster. Set in a fictional, fantasy country inspired by Poland, there's a lot of Eastern European folklore woven into this story, as well as politics that were at the forefront of the Polish people's minds during the 18th century. Those two things would've probably been enough alone to make me love this (as I'm a huge history lover, and political fantasy is always a winner in my book), but the relationship between Zosia and Marynka was the truly the icing on top of the cake! 

It took a while for me to really sink my teeth into this book; the first 20% or so percent was a bit rough, as I found myself a bit lost in Marynka and Zosia's world. The writing, too, sometimes felt a bit stiff -- but I'm so happy to report that the rest of the book completely took me by storm! I'm so glad that I didn't let a bit of a bumpy start make me put this one down! As the story goes on, it becomes more layered, more complex, and also helps us to really begin to understand and sympathize with our main characters. The girls are both hungry for love and affection -- starved of it due to their rough, frightening upbringings -- and also afraid of that very thing. Once they begin to speak to one another, to allow their feelings into the mix, their chemistry is immediate and palpable. 

I enjoyed the magic system; it was fun to read about the divine magic juxtaposed with the dark powers that Zosia and Marynka use. The descriptions of them growing their fangs, using fire and darkness, and transforming delighted me down to my bones. The writing also grew in its loveliness the further I got in; Jaskinska has real talent, particularly when it comes to building the culture of Lechija. The growth of both Zosia and Marynka felt genuine, hard fought for, realistic in its difficulty and sometimes painful revelations. Their relationship is a slow-burn, and let me tell you, as someone who loves a simmering romance, it definitely struck just the right tone for me!

There's really no better way to put it than telling you all how much I love Zosia and Marynka. Not only are they wonderfully deep and easy to root for, but the best part of it all is how this book allows its female characters to be bad. They're villainous, unafraid of their own power, but never punished for it. They go beyond your typical one-dimensional villain, and it feels so good to read about them being so bad.

Highly recommended. How I adore these monster girls, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to get a chance to know them!
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This book has a great premise and good momentum - it gets right into the plot and the rivalry between the two leads, Zosia and Marynka, is really engaging. I just wish that the writing was a bit more lyrical and evocative, to match the macabre content - this is a book about monster girls and I wish the writing leaned into their viciousness and darkness more than it has. Still, this is an entertaining read and the Eastern European-inspired setting feels authentic and rich.
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Let me first get this off my chest: THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING TO ME AND I NEED YA’LL TO SEE HOW DELIGHTFULLY BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL THIS STORY WAS! Sapphic Villains, rivals-to-lovers Goodness???? I AM FED.

In a world where there are 3 witches, The Black Jaga, the White, Jaga, and the Red Jaga, each has their own servants, Midnight, Sunrise, and Midday. These three girls are given magic and are tasked with collecting princes’ hearts for their perspective grandmothers, and by hearts I mean the literal heart that the grandmothers will then eat to gain more power. The current Midnight is Zosia who has been on the winning streak, being the most mysterious and powerful of the three. Midday is Marynka, who’s sole purpose is to beat Zosia, she has been obsessed with winning, with finally being able to prove to the Red Jaga that she is someone to be proud of. Beata is the current sunrise and is best friends with Marynka. On the latest prince’s heart hunt, the girls are all tasked with retrieving Prince Joseph’s heart, since his is a rare one, a pure heart. The thing about these three girls is that, they’re all witches, all monsters, all tasked with doing monstrous things for someone else. What makes this new competition a little different is.... Marynka and Zosia finally meet in person after years and years of competing with each other... and both girls are striving after different things... and yet after getting to know one another.... there is an undeniable attraction despite the rivalry between them. Zosia is desperate to free herself from her grandmother, from being a monster and killing princes, she just wants to be free, and with this last heart, she will finally have enough power to free herself. The only complication is that, Marynka also needs the heart and is willing to do anything to stop her from having it, and yet both of them can’t seem to stray between the lines of love and hate. When I tell you this book had me screaming and just gushing over their chemistry, I can’t even begin. This book was the perfect sapphic villains love story for me. I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. I can honestly say PLEASE GIVE ME A SEQUEL OF MORE OF THESE LADIES AND THEIR STORY. I would happily eat that up. The chemistry between Zosia and Marynka was absolutely perfect, the casual line between love and hate constantly blurring, between friendship and duties, between obsession and reality, the need to have one constantly on their mind and finally realizing that a life without the other just isn’t possible. *chef’s kiss* so yes, please pick up this book, it’s got wonderful enemies to lovers, magic, myths, and an ending that will have you asking for more.

*Thanks Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire, Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Overall i really enjoyed this. Rival to lovers, witches, magic, ruthlessness-it had everything to be amazing. A strong premise, new world, vicious rivals and sapphic love.

There was something about the story though that didn't flow easily? It was difficult to read a lot at once, and while i found Dark Tide to be a quick read, this was the opposite.

 Overall a pretty decent read, but might have been easier as an audiobook.
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Overall this was a very quick and atmospheric read! It's absolutely perfect for late fall/ winter! I enjoyed the story, and there was some world building thrown in there which I liked, but unfortunately I didn't connect to the characters. They were good, there was nothing wrong with them, but I didn't care for them. The ones I enjoyed most was pretty much everyone but the main characters (I liked Józef, Beata and Kajetan especially), but again I didn't feel much no matter what happened to them. The magic was an interesting bit to the story and I was definitely here for the three ladies being monsters of sorts! That aspect was great! One of the biggest reasons I was interested in this book however was the sapphic romance, which had a lot of potential, but it felt more like an enemies to friends rather than enemies to lovers romance to me. I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters. I wish we'd seen them interact more, even if it was to have a fight that would heighten the tension between them. I did like their competitive friendship though.
In conclusion, it was a good fantasy read, but unfortunately I didn't care for the characters as much as I would've liked.
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We love a queer fantasy! I liked this one but I think the queen portion of it fell a little flat for me. Not surprising, but overall this was okay
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Ok, so I was amazed at how good this writing was. How the characters fit together and how the world played off each of them and their personalities were just SO GOOD.
Marynka, Beata, and Zosia are 3 Witch's Apprentices, tasked with getting a Prince's heart for their master. The only problem is that Marynka and Zosia are in competition for that heart. 
God, I can SMELL the tension from here.
The MIDNIGHT GIRLS (title drop) travel together to the palace city during the Karnawal festival, to ultimately outdo each other and get the heart. But what happens when they realize they have more enemies than each other.
This book is a great fantasy, with a lot of Polish elements that you can't really find anywhere else. The characters and storyline made it an amazing read. I 100% recommend it.
Enjoy y'all.

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Do you love your women morally grey? Do you like the enemies to lovers trope? Then the midnight girls is the book for you. Three witch apprentices compete against each other for the literal heart of a prince. But instead of getting the prince to fall for them two of the witches end up falling for each other. This book was absolutely amazing! I loved how Jasinska weaved Russian and Jewish lore and war throughout this book. I could not put it down!
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing me with an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts!

It's been a few weeks since I've finished this book and honestly, I'm still struggling to find the words to describe how much I loved this. The Midnight Girls had absolutely everything I could ever wish for in a YA fantasy, and I already see myself re-reading it for.... possibly way too many times.

Masterfully written, the atmospheric landscape and lush culture of the Poland-based setting still manages to be outshined by the incredible dynamic between the protagonists, Marynka and Zosia. These magical monsters of girls and their rivalry literally manage to outshine the outrageous, winter-wonderland Karnawal in the capital. I don't see myself ever getting over this perfect execution of rivals to lovers. I truly don't. Their banter and competitiveness lasts until the very last page - these don't go soft for each other, they go even harder to outshine the other. God, I wish I had what they have.

The supporting cast is also incredible, with fleshed-out characters that are so painfully complex that it somewhat hurts that there's no books written about them. And while this book works wonderfully as a standalone with a self-contained story, I would LOVE to see a sequel that focusses on yet another unnamed chaotic sapphic monster and what do appear to be true soulmates, torn apart by a betrayal most vile... well, one can dream, right?

In conclusion, if you love chaotic sapphics, monstrous girls with no filters, rivals to lovers to the max and atmospheric writing on top of that, this is the book for you.
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the midnight girls is everything i could've asked for in a sapphic ya fantasy book. we have enemies to lovers, monster girls, and morally grey characters. not to mention, it was a fast, easy read.
the midnight girls follows zosia and marynka, two rivals who compete to be the best at every chance they get. i love how neither of them are "good", and it doesn't change much over the course of the novel (which i like, because so many become good over the course of the book, which ruins the morally grey thing). 
our side characters are just as entertaining as the main cast, and offer more queer relationships. there's a good mix of good, bad, and everything in between.
i really enjoyed the setting of the midnight girls, as it's not every day that you read a book set in a fantasy poland. i'm unsure how accurate some of the cultural traditions and superstitions are, but it still made for an entertaining read. 
overall, this is one hell of a good book. idk how else to round off this review, but if you want more queer characters in your fantasy books, then i 10000% recommend this one.
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A lovely sapphic enemies to lovers fantasy. I felt like I’ve read this plot before but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. I got lots of shadow and bone vibes as well.
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4.5 stars

The Midnight Girls tells the story of Zosia and Marynka, two rival enchantresses who have a long history of rivalary and their latest competition is to see who can claim the heart of Prince Jozek. Marynka has been brought up in the forest at the beck and call of the witch, Red Jaga, for whom Marynka steals the hearts of pure souls. However she is constantly being thwarted by the girl known as Midnight, servant to Black Jaga (Red Jaga's sister and enemy) leading to a long standing hatred between them. When they both end up in Warszów and become friends without knowing each others idenities things take an explosive turn, and both girls are vying to keep the prince of out of each other's wicked claws. 

I really enjoyed Alicia Jasinska's previous book, The Dark Tide, so had high hopes for this one - and it definitely didn't disappoint. She has such a way of crafting atmosphere; the witchy, wintery, folktale vibes are imacculate. Also the attitudes of the general population to the monstrous magic the girls possess is very interesting, and I think reflects a lot of history at the time of the persecution of witches and women who didn't fit in by zealous religons. Their escalating rivalary throughout the book adds an extra layer of danger as they become more careless about who witnesses them as monsters. 

This book is the embodiment of the inherent homoeroticism of being rivals for a long time. The relationship between Zosia and Marynka was so good and I loved seeing them pretend to hate each other whilst secretly living for the other. They are so fixated on each other - its very clear to the reader there is a lot of sexual tension and you are just waiting for the characters to realise T_T

I also really liked the side characters of Jozek and Kajetan, they used to be childhood friends but are now enemies after Kajetan betrays the prince for his revolutionary family but you can tell they are still in love and their so scenes are so painful and angsty to read. Additionally I really liked the parallels between their relationship and Zosia and Marynka - I loved how different combos of the four kept pairing up and some of the dynamics were so funny.

The roots in Polish history and culture made the novel such a rich and layered story. The author says in her note at the end some of the events are losely based on late 18th century Polish history/politics. It was a major time of unrest and tension and you can really feel throughout the book the sense of unease and impending revolution. I also really liked the setting and elements of Polish culture woven in - the depictions of clothing, architecture, food, traditions and relationships were all so lush and descriptive. The Karnawal festival that is taking place during the main events of the book is also super fun and enjoyable and adds an extra layer of atmosphere and festivity. 

Overall I would highly reccomend this book especially for fans of books featuring monstrous girls who are ambitious and ruthless, gorgeous wintery atmosphere (reminiscent of Anastasia - I definitely got Anastasia vibes and had to go and listen to the soundtrack while reading hehe) and a well paced plot that keeps you engaged the whole time and feels like you are reading a traditional slavic folktale.
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This is a fabulous enemy to loves tale, Filled with sorcery, power, Princes and monsters. Written in a fantastic fast pace this is a wonderful fantasy story that is a step up from A Dark Tide. Four stars
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If you’ve ever felt that too often, f/f ships are not allowed to hunger for one another, that they have to be soft and sweet, and sickeningly in love, then The Midnight Girls will be the antidote for you. (Of course, I’ll note here that I don’t mean to imply that there’s anything wrong with that. But… the pattern of it, never getting to see girls actually want other girls in that visceral way… I’ll shut up now.)

Even better, then, that The Midnight Girls has a dual POV, so you get to see both Zosia and Marynka’s hunger for one another—although it takes them a little while to admit to it. I think what’s interesting (and very welcome) here, is that admitting to that desire doesn’t magically make them no longer enemies. They are very much still enemies-slash-rivals, and they very much still do hate each other. But they also desire each other.

Actually perhaps I won’t shut up about what I was saying before, because I think it’s so very important that you get to see women desiring other women in a way that’s not just soft and sweet. It’s like Leslie Feinberg says in Stone Butch Blues,

"“God,” she said, “by the time we’re old enough to have sex, we’re already too ashamed to be touched. Ain’t that a crime?”"

and like Adrienne Rich notes about heterosexuality as,

"a beachhead of male dominance, [presumed to be] a ‘sexual preference’ of ‘most women’, either implicitly or explicitly."

leading to the point that female desire of men is totally normalised, expected even. Female desire of other women? That’s something else.

In that respect, then, this book feels just the slightest bit revolutionary. I can name on one hand the number of books where I could feel that desire. Even when it comes to the adult romance novels that I’ve read, I find myself disappointed by the lack of hunger. But that’s not the case here. You know just how much Zosia and Marynka want one another, and you know just how not-soft they’ll be about it.

Add onto this the kind of worldbuilding that consumes you, that makes you feel as though you’re right there with the characters? And a background cast that’s just as compelling (if not occasionally more so) as the main leads? An ending that leaves you desperate for so much more?

You’ve basically got yourself just about the perfect book, and one that I’m begging you to pick up. Between this and The Dark Tide, I’m certain that Alicia Jasinska is an author I’ll be coming back to.
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The Midnight Girls is perfect for fans of dark and gritty Young Adult fantasy novels.
I personally think that this is a book that should be read slowly and savoured, unfortunately I read it in one sitting so I do feel that I didn't fully grasp the essence of the novel.
I think the world-building, plot and characterisation are all very sound and strong.
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The Midnight Girls is exactly the kind of book that I was in the mood for! An atmospheric, dark, rivals-to-lovers lesbian story!

I was hooked from the very beginning, and I loved all of the characters! This was a fast-paced story that keeps up the momentum and never had me feeling bored!
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"Midnight Girls': 4 ⭐

(Unpaid Review: thank you to @netgalley, @aliciajasinska and the publishers for allowing me to read this eArc copy in exchange for a review).

Wait, wait, wait... So, you're telling me that this book is a monstress, sapphic, enemies to lovers romantasy and I've only heard of it now? What the d*mn h*ll??

This book! OMG this book! I absolutely adored it! The mc's were absolutely incredible, they're strong and fearless and they actually rock each other! Polish and muslim representation? ✅ Bi characters? ✅ Jewish representation? ✅ Lesbian/Gay characters? ✅ 

What more could you possibly want? GO GRAB THIS WONDROUS BOOK!
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If you're looking for enemies to lovers sapphic in fantasy with a lot at stake then this book is the one for you! The world-building was thought out well, I can vividly imagine the magic system in my head and it is every bit as beautiful as the cover of this book. The plot of this book is easy to catch on, with it being fast-paced, there is not a single dull moment. I grew to love Zosia and Marynka with every page I read through; both being equal to one another. It was exciting to read how their rivalry has blossomed into something more. This book has left me speechless even until the climax was done.

An absolutely stunning debut novel from Alicia Jasinska. Everyone should watch out for it once it's released to the world.
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