Marie Rutkoski’s The Midnight Lie IS the next best queer book you need in your life and that’s the unfiltered tea of it all. Talking about tea and all the truths, fantasy has been lacking when it comes to queer relationships, friendships, and everything far and few in between. In many ways we are magical and mythical beings who don’t exist in fantasy. But it’s books like Midnight Lie that prove that we are here and we are queer.
The Midnight Lie tells the story of Nirrim, a young woman of the lowest caste in her country. She has known this way of living her entire life and knows nothing more than what she is allowed to do and how it’s “just the way things are.” She’s never questioned where she falls when it comes to her world until she meets Sid. And oh do we love Sid!
Sid is a queer whirlwind of levity and poise. She knows what she wants and that just happens to be Nirrim. Sid moves through life without a care in the world, or you assume in the first half of the book, and is in Nirrim’s world to figure out if magic is real. Teaming up Nirrim’s to figure this all out just seems like the bonus of it all because Sid is curious as hell about her companion and for some reason wants to show her the world.
Talking about the world, we need to explore the universe that Rutkoski has created in The Midnight Lie. It’s intriguing AF without being overbearing or hard to follow. It’s unique, full of culture, and tells a story of the divide between the rich & the poor and how the latter is exploited for the benefit of the former. This universe also feels like the tip of an iceberg, lands and cultures just ready to be explored as soon as this land is rid of it’s secrets.
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On a lighter note, we particularly love Nirrim’s curiosity. She has this ability to change and give different things a chance to flourish and become a part of who she is or wants to be. That characteristic is hard to emulate in real life but it’s real and something we crave to have inside of us as women. And seeing Nirrim navigate new territory while breaking through her own misconceptions about the world is why we love this book.
And then there’s Sid. She lives a wild and carefree life that has no rules or restrictions, from what she wears to who she beds. She just is the way she is and there’s nothing anyone can say that can stop her from living her best life. That’s not to say she’s a party girl who bulldozes her way through life. Sid is running from her own demons and hopes to connect with Nirrim in more than a superficial way.
Together, these two women create some of the best chemistry I’ve seen between two characters. Nirrim challenges Sid, sometimes with her innocent ignorance of the world or with her bold manner of bringing up things. She makes Sid slow down, take her time and appreciate the world they are living in. Same thing goes for Sid and how she challenges Nirrim to see more of this world than what she was presented with since birth.
The big difference and what sets these two apart from any other queer relationship in books EVER, is that the teasing, bantering, and back and forth between these two is electric. Scratch that. It’s effervescent! Quite often I found myself rushing through pieces of this book to get to the parts where Nirrim and Sid were circling around each other as a way of getting to know each other, push the others buttons, or get the other one to open up about life and all its possibilities.
That’s what made this book for us, why we want more, and why we hope Rutkoski continues this story and steals your heart dear reader like she has stolen ours!
The Midnight Lie is now available.
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