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The Midnight Bargain par C L Polk

The Midnight Bargain (édition 2020)

par C L Polk (Auteur)

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Titre:The Midnight Bargain
Auteurs:C L Polk (Auteur)
Info:Erewhon Books (2020), 384 pages
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The Midnight Bargain par C. L. Polk



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Affichage de 1-5 de 13 (suivant | tout afficher)
When I was 12 or 13, I discovered my mother’s trove of Georgette Heyer Regency novels and I dove right in, unaware of the sexual politics underlying the stories. Decades later we have C. L. Polk’s “The Midnight Bargain,” a sort-of Regency YA fantasy that is all about sexual politics. Beatrice is the 18-year-old daughter of a banking family, not rich but respectable, who must participate in Bargaining Season, where the scions of the mid- and upper classes choose their mates; but in this world, some men and women have magic. Because this magic involves summoning and controlling beings from the spirit realm, who are powerful but very greedy for physical experiences, women with magic are at risk of having a spirit enter the fetus of any child they carry, resulting in mass destruction. So women are “warded” during their child-bearing years, which cuts them off completely from magic and which makes it impossible for them to reach their full magical potential. Beatrice has the makings of being a very powerful mage indeed, but she needs to marry well to save her family’s fortunes; those competing desires are only complicated when she meets the Lavan siblings, very beautiful, very rich and very magical…. I like the world-building here, but I found our main character quite off-putting: she is so polemical in her constant arguments about the unfairness of “the system” that I just got annoyed with her. Of course the system is unfair, of course women are devalued and, essentially, enslaved - we get it, already! Then again, as a book meant for teenage readers (I assume), perhaps that much ranting and raving is to be expected. I’ll definitely read more of this author as I find stories, because “The Midnight Bargain” is well written; I’ll just hope future stories are a bit more in the “show, not tell” vein. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Feb 21, 2021 |
This is not a book I would normally read, but did so because it is one of the Canada Reads contenders for 2021.

It held my interest, which says a lot for a book of this genre! I commend C.L. Polk on her imagination. This was a blend of Jane Austen meets magical fantasy. Debutante balls, making a good marriage, money issues...etc. It also dealt with the choice so many women still have to make in our world between family and career. Granted, most of us have it much easier than the women in this novel, but the questions are the same: why does the burden fall solely (in this novel) on women? Why does no one question this?

So, good writing that provokes an examination of our own world...for that I give it high marks. ( )
  LynnB | Feb 19, 2021 |
The Midnight Bargain is the story of a young woman determined to become a magician despite the custom around the world of collaring women when they marry so that during their child-bearing years they don’t produce soulless children, a real risk, but all the burden is born by the women. No one asks the men to forego magic.

It’s the time of year when young women are paraded at debutante balls to attract a suitable husband. In many ways, it feels like a regency romance, but with magic. And yes, there is romance, a good suitor and a bad one. A woman who seems a foe but maybe she should be a friend as they both have such similar desires. But if only one of them can achieve her ambition, who will it be?

I struggled to finish The Midnight Bargain and am not intrigued enough to pursue the forthcoming sequels. It’s as though the first two chapters set the story in place and there was no chance for it to off the rails into something other than something by Georgette Heyer with magic. Not that there’s anything wrong with Georgette Heyer but nothing unexpected happens. And nothing unexpected happened in The Midnight Bargain.

I received an e-galley of The Midnight Bargain from the publisher through Edelweiss.

The Midnight Bargain at Workman Press
C.L. Polk author site ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Nov 12, 2020 |
Maybe I don't like fantasy books? ( )
  littlemuls | Oct 18, 2020 |
Thank you to Erewhon Books for sending me a dARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

C. L. Polk gets top marks for imagination in this fantasy novel about sorcerers and spirit possession. I love the bratty minor spirit, Nadi, who possesses the main character, Beatrice Clayborn. Nadi is like a second id, a hedonist running amok in Beatrice's head and very hard to control Nadi was by far my favorite character. She overshadows the main character and makes Beatrice herself seem a little dull.

The world-building in "The Midnight Garden" receives short shrift. The author throws the reader headlong into the plot with no background info about the world the main character inhabits; the reader must piece it together as the novel progresses. Beatrice jumps out of a carriage in an unknown country on page one and runs into a bookshop where she finds a magical grimoire. A rival for the purchase of the book appears in the shop, Ysbeta Lanvan, who also a sorcerer from a rich and powerful family of Llanandari, and Beatrice feels that she must surrender the grimoire to Ysbeta.

Ysbeta has a sexy brother, happily (and yet unhappily) for the conflicted Beatrice. Due to the weird social strictures on female sorcerers, neither Beatrice nor Ysbeta has any desire to get married, and yet this is the whole point of "bargaining season," a sort of debutante marriage market thing with balls in which sorceresses are basically sold off and bound with a collar that dims their magical powers. The collars ensure that no spirit-possessed children (a. k. a. monsters) will be born. Beatrice and Ysbeta are determined to go in the opposite direction from the path society has chosen for them: to harness powerful spirits, and to become Mages—a privilege reserved for men.

Various business and political subplots are also included in the novel but given a light touch by the author, and I found myself ignoring these subplots to get back to the far more interesting spirits-and-sex elements, and then becoming confused later when I encountered those subplots again. World-building in a plot-driven novel is a delicate balance, and the failure to strike it is the novel's only weakness. "The Midnight Bargain" is fun, original and surprising. ( )
  jillrhudy | Oct 16, 2020 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
C. L. Polkauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Alciano, MicaelaCover designer & interior elementsauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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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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