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C. L. Polk

Forfatter af Witchmark

12+ Works 2,318 Members 127 Reviews 3 Favorited

Om forfatteren

Includes the name: Chelsea Polk

Image credit: https://clpolk.com/


Værker af C. L. Polk

Witchmark (2018) 969 eksemplarer
The Midnight Bargain (2020) 549 eksemplarer
Even Though I Knew the End (2022) 313 eksemplarer
Stormsong (2020) 252 eksemplarer
Soulstar (2021) 161 eksemplarer
Shadow Unit 13 (2013) 29 eksemplarer
Shadow Unit 15 (2014) 23 eksemplarer
Not Alone 3 eksemplarer
Kether Station 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Shadow Unit 7 (2011) 40 eksemplarer
Tor.com Short Fiction: Winter 2020 (2020) — Bidragyder — 7 eksemplarer
Tordotcom: Wells, Tesh, Polk — Bidragyder — 6 eksemplarer

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Actual rating 3.5/5

The Midnight Bargain is a charming, easy read, tackling themes of gender equality and power through a Regency-esque fantasy. Beatrice Clayborn is a powerful sorceress in a world where women are not allowed to practise magic and are locked into a marital collar that cuts off their powers. But Beatrice is determined to not let this become her fate, even as her family pushes her to marry to lift them out of the severe debt they have fallen into.

I really liked following Beatrice as the main character. She is powerful and knows it, and she is ready to challenge the whole of society for her right to become a mage - even if she has to do so in secret, risking everything. I wasn't too keen on the magic system itself, which seems to be strongly based in the mage being possessed by a spirit. Women learn magic from coded grimoires hidden in plain sight, and we get a fair bit of insight into how the magic works by following Beatrice as she conjures a luck spirit, Nadi.

Nadi was by far my favourite part of the book. I absolutely adored her and would totally take her with me everywhere and give her lots of cake. Nadi was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise quite predictable plot and character development. The rest of the cast is frankly quite forgettable, and the love interest, Ianthe, was quite bland for my taste. I also couldn't forgive the instalove and, even though I tried to look past it to enjoy the rest of the book, it bothered me to no end that Beatrice and Ianthe would be madly in love after briefly speaking ONCE. Ianthe's sister (and aspiring sorceress) Ysbeta was honestly a much more interesting character and I felt more chemistry between her and Beatrice, to the extent that I would have greatly preferred seeing them as a couple rather than the usual, predictable romance.

Crossing magic with a period drama is a great idea, especially for someone like me who loves both those elements, so I did overall enjoy reading this book. However, it was not without its faults. The plot was quite thin, the magic system problematic and the romance disappointing - in many ways, it reminded me of my experience watching Bridgerton, which I also found entertaining but deeply problematic. And yes, I did imagine Beatrice and Ianthe like this every time a dance was mentioned:


I appreciated the effort to include a gender equality theme in the book, even though at times it felt more like reading a Feminism 101 guide disguised as a fantasy rather than a story seamlessly incorporating these themes.

Overall, The Midnight Bargain was a pleasant enough read, in no small part thanks to the author's excellent writing style. It had some serious issues for me (mostly the thin plot and overreliance on the instalove), but some charismatic characters and the never-ending charm of the Regency-like setting somewhat made up for those, leaving me mostly satisfied and only partly wishing that this book had dared go further to reach its full potential.

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (mere)
bookforthought | 35 andre anmeldelser | Nov 7, 2023 |
This was a really lovely first installment of what will become something much larger. The plot was thick, the characters had depth, the pace was perfect and the story-telling overall was incredibly enjoyable. Blew through this one in a couple of days and would highly recommend giving it a go!

Even better the second time around!
BreePye | 43 andre anmeldelser | Oct 6, 2023 |
I found this to be a delightful read, though not quite as exciting or engaging as the first book in the series. I have come to expect that from sophomore books, so wasn't overly disappointed with the politics sludge and am super excited for the coming conflict! I greatly admire Polk's boldness in staying consistent with romantic plots, and want to take lessons from her in describing character actions and avoiding talking heads. Genius.

Definitely give this one a read!
BreePye | 14 andre anmeldelser | Oct 6, 2023 |

Really inventive story of lesbian love in magic-infested noir Chicago, and the price of your soul. Vivid plotting and description.
nwhyte | 18 andre anmeldelser | Oct 1, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Will Staehle Cover artist & designer, Cover artist
Samuel Roukin Narrator
Michelle Gyo Übersetzer
Micaela Alciano Cover designer & interior elements
Moira Quirk Narrator
January LaVoy Narrator
Christine Foltzer Cover designer
Richard Shealy Copy editor
Mark Smith Cover artist
Deanna Hoak Copy editor
Alyssa Winans Cover artist


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