Utterly immersive and gorgeous. Marie’s stories are the loveliest knives that cut you straight to the quick.” Roshani Chokshi, New York Times-bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves
“Lush, romantic, and powerful. In THE MIDNIGHT LIE, Marie Rutkoski spins a sensuous tale about awakening to the truth.” Malinda Lo, author of Ash
"There is no doubt this is going to be one of the most complex and compulsively readable fantasies of the year." Buzzfeed
"Prepare to be devastated by this gorgeously rendered sapphic fantasy." Buzzfeed News
“The Midnight Lie is unsettling and thrilling, the world intricate and purposeful, and Nirrim a protagonist readers will surely find enthralling.” Shelf Awareness
"Read it for the romance, for the adventure, for the underlying commentary on divided societiesnothing disappoints. This is a treat for LGBTQ+ readers and the ending, happily, seems to indicate more to come." Booklist
“Rutkoski returns to the world of the Winner’s Trilogy with elaborate descriptions and lush worldbuilding . . . Rutkoski offers a captivating LGBTQ love story, atmospheric in the vein of Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Charismatic characters and compelling chapter cliffhangers build intrigue throughout.” Publishers Weekly
"Ushers readers into [its] world." PopSugar
The Winner's Trilogy:
"The romance is heart-stoppingly lovely and admittedly steamy . . . but the raising of stakes and the reluctance of the couple to give up their respective causes, even as they confess their love for each other, lends their relationship a complexity not often seen in the genre." The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, starred review
“Like any epic page-turner worth its salt, Rutkoski's richly imagined world is full of dynamic repartee, gruesome battle scenes, and shifting alliances. A high-stakes cliffhanger will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Rich characterization, exquisite worldbuilding and rock-solid storytelling make this a fantasy of unusual intelligence and depth...Precise details and elegant prose make this world fresh and vivid. The intricate and suspenseful plot, filled with politics, intrigue and even graphic violence, features neither heroes nor villains; every character displays a complex mixture of talents, flaws and motives...Breathtaking, tragic and true.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Gr 9 Up—Rutkoski brings readers back to the world of "Winner's Trilogy" 20 years later. The motto, "It is as it is," rules the Ward, where Half Kith are imprisoned. The smallest infractions are paid with deeply personal tithes, like hair, blood, or eyes. Brown-skinned Nirrim, the naive, unreliable narrator plagued with visions, keeps her head down, forging passports to help Half Kith escape the ward, the first of the "midnight lies," those that fall between right and wrong, or are told for someone else's benefit. When Nirrim is thrown in prison she meets Sid, who is presented as an amiable chap with a love of danger, a mysterious highborn pedigree, and a need to escape an arranged marriage. The novel opens with a complicated knot of world-building, weaving character relationships alongside a number of intriguing mysteries: Why are Half Kith imprisoned, and why are they disappearing? Why does no one remember the city's past? Sid tempts Nirrim to solve the mysteries of the city, which will leave readers with a delightfully shocking ending. Short chapters improve the novel's pacing and will gratify readers who struggle with Nirrim's passivity and Rutkoski's occasionally long-winded prose. Readers who can wend their way through the beginning will be rewarded with a wonderful friends-to-lovers romance full of angst and banter that becomes a loving relationship, consummated on the page. VERDICT A complex and deftly plotted fantasy that brings F/F romance into the mainstream.—Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Library, IL
Memory and illusion, truth and lies—all paths lead to heartbreak in this first of a fantasy duology.
"It is as it is." That's always the response in isolated Herrath when anyone questions the oppressive caste system. Once that was enough for Nirrim, who is plagued by visions of a different past; but after meeting the cocky, nosy, and confusingly attractive traveler Sid, Nirrim discovers how dangerous it can be to want. Set some 20 years later in the same world as Rutkoski's acclaimed The Winner's Trilogy, the baroque (almost purple) prose begins in medias res, which Nirrim's naively unreliable narration does little to clarify. Although clever and kind, her passivity and desperate neediness make brown-skinned, green-eyed Nirrim an atypical YA heroine. While fans of the earlier books will easily guess her secrets, dark-eyed, fair-haired Sid presents at first as careless, arrogant, and as confident in her sexuality as Nirrim is shocked by Sid's attraction to other women. But this facade eventually proves to be another "midnight lie": a truth intended to mislead. When their almost instantaneous mutual desire develops quickly into a prickly friendship and (discreetly) consummated romance, both acknowledge it cannot last. Yet the relationship's development—combined with the genuinely shocking revelation of Herrath's history—leads Nirrim to a horrific choice…one that will leave readers clamoring for the next entry.
Lush, swoony, painful, enraging, and as cathartic as a good cry. (Fantasy. 14-18)