Thanks to NetGalley and Erewhon for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 13th, 2020
Synopsis: Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.
In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase the book, a rival sorceress swindles it right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss, with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.
The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will ever regret the path not taken?
I was so excited after seeing the cover and reading the synopsis for Midnight Bargain. It wasn’t bad. I’m glad I read it, but I have to be honest and say that I’m somewhat disappointed.
The best parts of the book were the rich, vivid, multicultural world building and the system in place denying women their equal rights. But taking away from that was the heroine, who just didn’t live up to her potential. Instead of the sympathy I was expecting to feel for Beatrice and her predicament, I found her to be superficial and obnoxious, although she did improve a bit during the final half of the book. I thought Ianthe, was absolutely charming, but the romance between him and Beatrice was completely lacking in chemistry. The spirit, Nadi, and Ianthe’s sister,Ysbeta, were a lot of fun, which took the curse off my negative feelings toward Beatrice. And finally, although I finished this in a couple of days, the pace was awkward with alternating fast and slow sections throughout.
I had very high expectations for Midnight Bargain, but mainly due to the extremely bothersome Beatrice, they weren’t quite met, I don’t regret reading it. Just the brilliant world building, storyline and secondary characters made this a worthwhile read. There are plenty of reviewers who enjoyed this even more than I, so if the premise intrigues you, I recommend you give it a try.