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The Midnight Bargain

de C. L. Polk

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Mostrando 1-5 de 22 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Definitely a 3.5 but I can’t make myself round up to 4.

I haven’t read any of the author’s previous books even though Witchmark has been on my tbr for a while now and I really wanna get to that trilogy. But when I saw the gorgeous cover of this book, I couldn’t resist and I was so happy when I got the ARC. And while I did find it entertaining, it also let me down a bit.

The writing is easy to breeze through, and the descriptions are quite beautiful, and once I put my mind to reading it, I could finish it in just a few hours. This maybe a fantasy world but it’s very similar to the Victorian England setting we are so used to reading in historical romance, with traditions like debuts, seasons, courting, attending balls, women’s fortunes and most of their rights being tied to either the father or the husband - all with different names and a slightly magical twist that women here are prohibited from becoming Mages and are collared as soon as they get married so that they can’t practice magic. And this is exactly where I felt let down. While the similarity of the setting was a comfort, the magic system itself felt like a plot device. We get to know some of the procedures and rituals involved in how to summon spirits and how people become Mages, but there’s absolutely nothing about how this magic is used in this world, what roles do Mages perform and what roles do the spirits play once they become companions - it all feels like an afterthought.

The characters are okay to follow along. I kept liking and disliking most of them at different parts of the story, but I mostly did enjoy getting to know them. Beatrice’s struggle in wanting to be both a sorceress and with the love of her life, Ysbeta’s yearning for freedom and knowledge, and Ianthe’s sparkling love for both the women, were all quite lovely to read about and also pretty relatable. But Ianthe was definitely my favorite of the lot because he was open minded and did what he could to protect both the women. I also loved the dynamic between Beatrice and Ysbeta because they started off on an antagonistic note but it transformed into such a wonderful friendship. But I definitely had problems with Beatrice and Ianthe’s instalove - I usually don’t have a problem with the trope but it came on too quick in this one and I couldn’t believe she was thinking about giving up her ambitions after meeting him only a couple of times.

The side characters didn’t really leave much of an impression, probably because I hated most of them. Except Nadi who was the best part of the whole book and I would love a delightful spirit companion like him too please, who would threaten to hex anyone who made me sad.

Overall, I did have a good time reading this book but I know it’s not gonna be a very memorable one. Maybe if it had a slow burn romance or if it had expanded on its magic system, I could have loved it more. But currently, it feels like a historical romance with feminist themes which also has some magic as an aside - and if that feels like something you’ll enjoy, do pick it up and have fun. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
3.5 stars

Beatrice wants to spend her life learning magic, doing magic, and becoming a mage. With this, she wants to help her merchant father. Unfortunately, society (and her father) have other plans for her: marriage and children. And as soon as a woman is married, on goes the collar to stifle all magic because it might hurt any forthcoming children. So, women don’t get to do magic (only men) until they are beyond childbearing years.

In a bookstore, as Beatrice hunts for grimoires (textbooks) to help her learn magic, she runs into a brother and sister from a wealthy family who could have an influence on her father’s business. The sister, Ysbeta, wants the same grimoire Beatirce has her hands on. Playing peacemaker, Ysbeta’s brother suggests Beatrice and Ysbeta learn together, but Ysbeta buys the book and walks out without providing an invitation/calling card for Beatrice to meet her to study. In the meantime, it is bargaining season when the eligible men come to woo the eligible daughters and/or bargain with their fathers.

This was good. Fantasy can be hit or miss for me, depending on the type of fantasy. This was urban fantasy, so more my “thing”. There is also a romance mixed in, but not too much romance for my liking, either. Overall, I liked it. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 14, 2021 |
In a patriarchal society that collars female mages to prevent their unborn children from being possessed by spirits, a young woman studies magic and hopes to avoid collaring with the help of the secretly printed grimoires for women. There’s love and loyalty and, possibly my favorite, dedication to helping people put above personal romance. It’s generally good fun though perhaps a bit sanguine about the easiness of big social change. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Jun 24, 2021 |
This book was on the Canada Reads shortlist this year. It's a fantasy novel that mixes magic and romance in a fictional Victorian-style setting. After reading Polk's debut novel Witchmark, I had high hopes for this book but the story and characters did not appeal to me in the same way. However, I did like very much the character Nadi, an impulsive and capricious spirit who possesses the main character Beatrice in order to experience the pleasures of the human world. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Jun 13, 2021 |
Thank Goodness for Canada Reads. Otherwise I probably would never have considered reading this book since fantasy is not high on my list of favourite genres. But Rosey Edeh did such a great job of advocating for this book that I put a hold on it at my library. And I loved it. It's sort of Jane Austen with magic and a lot of female empowerment.

Beatrice Clayborn is the elder daughter of a merchant and his wife. Her father invested in a shipment of rare orchids and convinced many of his friends and neighbours to do so as well. Unfortunately by the time the ship returned with the orchids the fickle whims of society had moved on to some other rarity and he lost a great deal of money. Now the family has come to the bargaining season where young ingenues are brought to find a suitable marriage match. Beatrice, however, has no desire to get married. She is a sorceress and in order to bear healthy children all women with magic powers must wear a circlet around her neck that negates her magical powers. She has learned quite a bit about expanding her powers by reading coded books called grimoires and she has just sensed another one as she is on her way to a dress fitting. Just as she has picked it up a young man and woman appear and she can tell from their auras that they also have magical powers. The couple are a brother and sister called Ianthe and Ysbeta Lavan who are heirs to a very wealthy family from another land. They have also come for the Bargaining Season but, like Beatrice, Ysbeta has no desire to marry. Beatrice is convinced to give the book up to Ysbeta when she promises to share it with Beatrice although it becomes apparent that she has no intention to do so. Beatrice summons a helpful spirit to get the book back which sets up further meetings between herself and the Lavans. The spirit required that Beatrice let her experience things like a piece of cake and the sight of stars in the sky and a kiss from a handsome man in return for her help. Of course, the man that she kissed was Ianthe Lavan and there was a spark of desire on both parts. As days go by and the opportunities to meet increase Beatrice becomes increasingly torn between her desire for Ianthe and her plan to devote herself to magic. She understands Ysbeta's wishes and wants to help her achieve them. It simply is not fair that women must give up their magical powers in order to marry and have children. If only there was some way to have both.

CBC has posted a list of 8 books to read if you loved The Midnight Bargain. I think I'm going to have to check some of them out. One of them is by Ausma Zehanat Khan who is the author of an interesting mystery series so I think that will be my first try (The Bloodprint) ( )
1 vote gypsysmom | May 17, 2021 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
C. L. Polkautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Alciano, MicaelaCover designer & interior elementsautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The carriage drew closer to Booksellers' Row, and Beatrice Clayborn drew in a hopeful breath before she cast her spell.
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813.6 — Literature American and Canadian American fiction 21st Century

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