I have finished reading Magic at Midnight by Ronel Janse van Vuuren @miladyronel ! 🎉
It has been a difficult month. I applied for a special event this month. Had my application idea and information last month so I’d be ready as soon as it was open. Somehow, it opened on the site but I didn’t see it. I managed to find it and apply before it closed. But then I didn’t hear anything. And, when I did finally hear back, I didn’t get to reply in time. So I’ve deleted everything I had ready in the high hopes of acceptance.
Not that I really needed one more thing to do this month, right? I’m behind. So behind that I ended up rereading the first half of this book and finally getting to finish it. I mean, it isn’t even that long. And it’s SO GOOD! Just haven’t been able to be left in peace with an ereader in almost a month. Ugh. Anyway.
Magic at Midnight by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Publication Date: May 12, 2019
I LOVE this book. Remember Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch? The bisexual gal who runs a stable of pegasi and has to do a covert mission as a princess to prevent war — yeah, that’s freaking awesome and worthy of jumping on a couch. Oh, and the magic castle that actually is a character because (spoiler reasons), give me more of that! This is exactly my kind of book. I’m not saying there aren’t similar books in the fantasy genre, I’m saying that this a worthy addition. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, flying horses with personality, the idea that a princess is more than just a title, and anyone looking for an LGBTQ+ twist on fairy tale type fantasy.
The book was free in July on Amazon, which is how I got my copy. There’s some romance, a happily-ever-after, controversy, action, plot twists, and it’s entertaining. I read the whole book because I really wanted to know how it would turn out for Amy. I mean, one minute she doesn’t even know what an indoor bathroom is, and the next she has to convince people she’s a princess. Man, I love this girl so much. I want to hang out with her and her pegasi for a month. Just toss me into the pages.
“Every couple of months, a group of human monsters would descend on her herd…” I love the phrasing of this line.
And then there’s this passage, where the LGBTQ+ part really makes the fantasy line blur to reality. It really holds a mirror up to real society. :
“Our society forces arranged marriages on people who might never be compatible. And not because they aren’t attracted to each other; but because they might never be attracted to someone from the opposite sex.”
I never encountered the expression “shout rent the silence” before, but I loved how it was used. I did not find errors in the book. (*As a reminder, Ronel is from South Africa. Therefore, words like “skilfully” aren’t spelled wrong.) I even love the formatting, the drop caps inside the chapters that are used as scene separators.
The cover is great and it matches the book climax perfectly. I’ve read books and stories by this author before and fully intend to read more soon. She’s becoming one of my favorites. (Yes, we do follow each other’s blogs and social media, and do some of the same online challenges. But we’ve never met.) This book isn’t listed as part of a series, but it certainly left me wanting a second! I can’t say I’m “team Rachel,” because she has a HEA already. Does that make me “team Francois”? I don’t know. Maybe there should be a second book with poly relationships. Perhaps another character as an option?
It passes the Bechdel test in that it has women who talk to each other about something besides a man. They talk about magic, war, conspiracies, how to handle a winged horse, etc.
Some of my answers to the book club questions:
1- The title, I believe, refers to two scenes that happen at midnight in the castle. (Maybe three, I’m not sure of the time in Chapter 8.)
4- From my own life, I remember time in the stables. And not fitting into “proper society” functions. So yeah, I could relate to Amy on several levels.
5- Idil. Because (climax spoiler).
6- Finding out about the twins who were seperated.
7- That it’s all about control.
8- It would be funnier but, somehow, less powerful of a statement. Perhaps because the world isn’t switched and thus needs books to point out ways in which it is broken.
9- I think it has gotten somewhat better in some places. But, overall, yeah, it’s pretty accurate.
10- That’s funny (not ha-ha funny, but intriguing). One more tool of oppression. Not surprising, really.
11- That is hilarious. I can see why though, because experience comes from time, so it would and does take twice as many (or more) people to accomplish what one experienced person can in the same time at the same job. Probably need to say that louder for the people in the front who like to get rid of well-paid experienced people in favor of spending more to train two or three times as many noobs. I’m just saying.
12- Pretty much spot on, as far as I’ve ever encountered. I think a great deal needs to be done. Mostly by people who benefit from oppression, segregation, and prejudice.
21- I don’t know, that’s why I want a second book!
22- There are enough plots that it isn’t too predictable. “No, I am your father” uttered by Darth Vader would be a fair comparison. There’s also a bit of the Princess and the Pea.
40- I think she made the right call.