Author: Marie Rutkoski
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 27 minutes
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
The Midnight Lie is the first novel in the Forgotten Gods duology. The series is a companion to the Winner’s Trilogy, which takes place in the same universe. While I have heard from some readers that it is best to read the trilogy before reading this one, I have also heard that it can be read as a standalone. For me, I have not read the other trilogy, which takes place around twenty years prior to the events in this series, and the story made sense. While there may have been references to the other series, I was able to understand and enjoy all elements in this duology.
The story takes place in Herrath and follows a girl named Nirrim. She is a member of the lower caste (half-kith), who is forced to live their lives behind the walls of the ward. She lives in the home of her adoptive middle-caste (middling) mother, Raven. There is also the upper-caste (high-kith) who lives a life of luxury. The relationship between Raven and Nirrim is darker with abuse and multiple examples of gas-lighting. This life exists outside the home with those that Nirrim interacts with as she believes that she must fit a certain mold in her life. Everything within this set-up was well-written and complex.
When Nirrim is arrested for a crime she did not commit, she meets Sid, a thief. As an outsider, Sid questions Nirrim’s world and makes her start to question if everything is as “normal” as it seems. Sid is the rakish and carefree individual that Nirrim feels connected to and admires her way of life. The chemistry between the two of them and the witty banter create a very well done slow-burn romance. As the story is told from Nirrim’s perspective, the story illustrates why a potential romance is difficult in her complicated world. There are a lot of obstacles and secrets that Nirrim works through in the story as she begins to question everything around her.
While the story was similar in its outline to others out there, the characters in this story and the unique take on the ending made it stand out. The end of this story sets itself up well for the next novel while still setting the stage for endless possibilities. Based on the ending, I cannot fully predict what will happen in the next story, although I have my guesses. The reader follows along Nirrim and Sid’s adventures with many obstacles for each character to face as individuals and as a unit. Overall, this was an interesting novel and I cannot wait to read the conclusion!