cover image The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1)

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie #1)

Marie Rutkoski. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-30638-0

Rutkoski returns to the world of the Winner’s Trilogy with elaborate descriptions and lush worldbuilding. Nirrim, a Half Kith, has lived with the Ward’s motto, “It is as it is,” never questioning the harsh rules that govern her kind or the walls that separate her from the Middling and High Kith grounds. She keeps her head down, justifying the forged passports she makes for her caretaker, Raven, through “midnight lies,” falsities “told for someone else’s sake,” meant to help those seeking to escape the Ward. When turning in a magical bird lands her in jail and Nirrim meets Sid, an attractive traveler avoiding an impending marriage, Sid questions why no one remembers the city’s history or its gods. The harder Nirrim falls for Sid, the closer she gets to uncovering the truth about herself and her city, a truth that many are desperate to keep hidden. Despite uneven pacing, Rutkoski offers a captivating LGBTQ love story, atmospheric in the vein of Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Charismatic characters and compelling chapter cliffhangers build intrigue throughout. Ages 14–up. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Mar.)