Review: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Author: C.L. Polk
Publisher: Erewhon
Released: October 13th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Sexism

4 kitties

I received a copy of The Midnight Bargain in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Midnight Bargain is the latest novel to come from C.L. Polk (famous for Witchmark and other novels). It’s one part fantasy, one part historical romance, with the end result being such a unique experience to read.

Beatrice Clayborn was born to wield powerful magic. Unfortunately, she lives in a society that doesn’t see it that way. In her world, women with magic are branded and cut off from their magic – to protect their future children.

That isn’t the life that Beatrice wants to live. She wants to be a mage, true and proper. She doesn’t want to meet societies expectations, or the expectations of her family, for that matter. Thus, she has devised a plan to forge a path to what she wants.

“The talent for sorcery in women is a curse when it ought to be a blessing.”

The Midnight Bargain is a shockingly intense and fascinating read. It is a fantasy novel, yes, but the addition of many other elements bring it to an entirely new level. The inclusion of historical romance added tender touches, while the debates surrounding rights, treatment of women, and societal expectations weighed down the novel – rightly so.

It has been a long time since I read a novel so rich and detailed. The Midnight Bargain well and truly got to me. So much so that I actually felt a strong hesitation to finish the book – some part of me wanted to stop before Beatrice’s actions hit the point of no return. I feared for her, and feared the emotions her story would bring about in me.

That’s how you know that a book has truly sunk it’s teeth into you, as opposed to the other way around. For that reason alone, I think that The Midnight Bargain is going to linger in the forefront of my mind for quite some time.

“This was everything she needed. No man would have a woman with such an alliance. Her father would see the benefit of keeping her secret, to use her greater spirit to aid him in his business speculations. She would be free. A mage. This was her miracle.”

There are plenty of curiosities in this world. From the magic, to the spirits summoned within, and the reactions to those with power. I was truly surprised by the depth found within – how hard Beatrice and other women like her fought for the right to be who (and what) they are.

In a way, it almost reminded me of Little Women. Endearingly so, if I might say so. The determination, the drive, and even the resistance all felt achingly familiar. Though perhaps I am the only one that walked away with that impression, it’s hard to say. I would love to hear other inputs on the matter.

One thing is certain, I greatly enjoyed The Midnight Bargain, even if it did cause a bit of emotional distress during the reading. Likewise, I sincerely cannot wait to see what C.L. Polk comes up with next (and yes, Witchmark is already on my TBR list!).

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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