The Midnight Girls

Tantor. Dec. 2021. 843p. Audio $19.99. ISBN 9781666182583.
Gr 8 Up–Teen girls Beatka, Marynka, and Zosia were snapped up under murky circumstances by witch sisters representing morning, noon, and midnight. There is competition among the witches for pure hearts, but it is fiercest between the noon and midnight sisters. Each heart taken by the girls is consumed by the witch controlling her. Eating them increases the power inherent in their magic. When the story opens, Marynka is determined to best Zosia, whom she believes is four hearts ahead of her. When the three girls are sent to steal the heart of Prince Józef, it is the first time Marynka and Zosia have met, and coming face-to-face increases their determination to best each other. The first third of the story is quite slow and may cause some listeners to lose interest. That would be a big mistake. Like a freight train climbing a long, steep grade, then roaring down the other side with faulty brakes, this story suddenly propels ahead, mixing intrigue, danger, bouts of self-doubt, and a building attraction between these two girls who are viewed by many as monsters. Add in a secondary romance involving the prince and a looming civil war only heightens the complexity. The story is narrated by Emily Ellet.
VERDICT The slow burn leads to an abundance of action and intrigue, leaving this as a purchase consideration for collections where that kind of pacing is of interest.

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