Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 730
engrossing and beautifully crafted YA fantasy
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a lush and atmospheric YA fantasy. The book transports us to another world, where people are separated from birth into socioeconomic categories they cannot leave. The High Kith are the wealthiest with Middlings providing most service jobs. The Half-Kith are trapped within a wall, never to leave their poverty, trapped within a wall to a small area, and they are treated poorly, frequently forced to give tithes (hair, skin, blood, and even sometimes organs) for no apparent reason. Of course, this is better than being Un-Kith, which are given the worst and most dangerous jobs.

Nirrim is Half-Kith and has rarely questioned her lot in life. She lives with an abusive woman, who frequently lashes out in violence and uses Nirrim for her gifts of memory to forge documents. Nirrim's world changes when she is arrested and finds that the prisoner next to her is fascinating and fascinated in her. This prisoner is also a traveler- something completely unheard of and seemingly impossible- from the world beyond the island that Nirrim has always known. This other prisoner sets Nirrim on a course of questioning her world and looking for answers to the questions she had always kept suppressed.

What I loved: This world pulls you in right from the start with descriptions that unfold beautifully to create a unique and dangerous new world. Nirrim is an interesting character. She has suffered terribly through her upbringing and it has caused some dissociation that allows her to be both within this world and outside of it. There are some interesting themes here about wealth, right/wrong, and the rippling effects of lies (small to large lies).

 I also really love the romance that develops between Nirrim and a woman, Sid. It was beautiful and adds a fantastic element to the story, complementing the larger storylines. It is woven so entirely into the plot that they are both necessary to have, and I love when romance is so well done like this.

I would add warnings for child and domestic abuse, child neglect, drug use/abuse (tertiary characters, mainly), sexual abuse (from another character involving the main character, along the lines of power dynamics and expectations), and some disturbing themes around the tithes (the ways that peoples bodies are used for others).

Final verdict: Completely engrossing and beautifully crafted, THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a fantastic read. I will be highly anticipating future books in this series. Would recommend for fans of Alexandra Christo, Rosaria Mundo, Sabaa Tahir, and Rutkowski's other books.
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