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The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski []



This YA fantasy novel is the first in a duology about Nirrim, a young woman who lives in a remote island city. Nirrim is Half Kith, which means she cannot wear bright colors, eat flavorful food, or leave the walled-in neighborhood she calls home. Beyond the walls, the privileged class known as the High Kith live lavishly. When an unlucky accident lands Nirrim in the city jail, she meets Sid, a traveler with a mysterious past who somehow convinces the guards to let Nirrim free. Sid has questions Nirrim never thought to ask, like: why do the High Kith get all of life’s pleasures? How was the city founded? And who built the wall around the Half Kith? Together, Nirrim and Sid set out to find the answers.

Though this plot description has elements that will be familiar to anyone who reads YA fantasy and dystopian sci-fi, I found it to be a unique and engrossing story that isn’t quite like anything I’ve read before. The island of Herrath, where Nirrim lives, is immersive and detailed, and Marie Rutkoski’s writing brings it vividly to life. The primary romance in this book is between two women, and the characters feel well-developed and real. I picked this book up on a whim one Sunday morning and didn’t put it down until it was finished–it totally hooked me from the first few pages. Highly recommended to teens and adults who love complicated heroes, LGBTQ romance, and unique fantasy worlds.

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