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Met By Midnight

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An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies.

She lives a nightmare.

As a Mender, Renna is held captive to an endless cycle of receiving and recovering from the physical ailments of others—a cycle that led her mother to an early grave. When her father becomes deathly ill, Renna is desperate to save her only remaining family. Even if it means allying with criminals and taking an illegal mission into the royal palace on the night of their greatest ball.

He’s haunted by dreams.

Unable to be Mended, Prince Jaric’s existence is a curse to his family’s façade of health and security. Marrying him off at the ball and sending him to a distant dukedom is the royal solution—but Jaric has his own plans. For years he’s dreamed of a young woman, a strong-hearted Mender he would give everything for. When she arrives the night of his betrothal, he’s determined to discover her true identity.

Met by midnight, their fates are entwined.

While escape seems the only answer, powerful forces conspire to keep Renna and Jaric within their cages. Forces that undermine the foundations of the kingdom itself—and threaten any hope of a future together.

This YA romance features Cinderella in an original fantasy world with a dystopian twist.

Published September 22, 2020

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About the author

Janeen Ippolito

38 books139 followers
Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words—and make them awesome! She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced book editor and marketing strategist, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press, a publishing company with award-winning books. She hosts the podcast Own Your Unique Words, which helps gutsy fiction authors grow their businesses without burning out. In her spare time, she helps her missionary husband with his youth swordfighting ministry, indulges her foodie ambitions, reads whatever books she feels like, and explores a slew of random hobbies. Her life goals include traveling to Antarctica and riding a camel while wearing a party hat. She loves to connect, so join her on social media or at janeenippolito.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,592 reviews3,471 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
February 6, 2023
Almost DNF this one after the first chapter because I was struggling to get into it (particularly because I felt thrown into the world with very little explanations), but the second chapter in the main guy’s POV interested me enough to try a bit more. The thought of him dreaming about her while not knowing who she is, is a trope I like either way, but don’t see often.
Ultimately, marking this one DNF at the start of chapter 3 (page 31) because I don’t have the brain power to understand or to try to understand. Most likely my fault more than the book’s, but either way isn’t my type of story.

Content (up to page 31):
A ‘d*mn’, an ‘*ss’;
A mention of a (government forced) wedding night being consummated.
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book8 followers
July 4, 2022
FTC Disclosure: I was given a free audiobook copy of this book in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required. The following review is my honest opinion.

I'm signed up for the email list for Uncommon Universes Press and when they sent out a newsletter with an offer for a free review copy of the audiobook for this story, I quickly replied with my request. After all, I love fairytale retellings, the synopsis grabbed me immediately, and while I hadn't yet read anything by Janeen Ippolito, she's long been on my list of authors to check out.

I enjoyed this a lot! Met by Midnight is a Cinderella retelling. I've read a fair number of those by now, and am always curious to find out how close (or not) each new one sticks to the originals. Met at Midnight had a pleasant balance where the major, recognizable elements of Cinderella are present, but the world in which they're set is unique enough that it all feels fresh, especially when some of the recognizable elements were given a twist in order to fit the world better.

For example, I found it refreshing that the stepmother and stepsisters were absent from this retelling, but we still find Cinderella (Renna) in a situation where she's in servitude from which she can't easily escape. In this case, Renna is a "Mender" which means she's of a race of people that can take on the wounds and illnesses of others and heal from them so the other person doesn't have to. (As a side note, this ability reminded me strongly of the Star Trek Original Series episode, "The Empath.") While Menders are paid for this work, they don't have much choice about doing it, having been dehumanized by the ruling class to the point that the physical toll that this ability takes on them is ignored, and many Menders die an early death due to healing too much, too frequently.

I also found it refreshing that the "fairy godmother" character didn't have magical powers (except the magic of money and influence, LOL) and that, instead of popping out of nowhere at Renna's greatest need, her first encounter with Renna was a completely natural meeting in which the woman learned that Menders do actually feel it when receiving the pain and illness of others, and therefore felt convicted enough to do something to help Renna and her father, and to help change the way Menders are treated overall.

Another twist that I thought was well done was the way that Renna and the prince actually knew each other before meeting, since they met in dreams many times before the ball. I've seen this done with Sleeping Beauty retellings, but I thought it worked well for Cinderella, too, since the original also has the insta-love problem. And the whole thing has a great in-world explanation that ended up being quite a plot twist!

And wow, I really loved that climax! It had me worried about several characters for a minute, but it was so exciting, surprising, and tied things together so well, and changed my rating from 4 stars to 5!

I highly recommend this story to lovers of fairytale retellings, but it's different enough from the original, that I think even people who don't care about the retelling element would be able to enjoy it, too!

Content Advisory:

Language: None that I recall.

Many mentions of "the Eternal" who is clearly an analog for the Christian God, and a few brief references to scripture. Occasionally, the name of the Eternal gets used in exclamations.

A drunk person hits his head on the ground. There's mention of blood and it's clear the injury is serious.

Someone takes a serious injury to the stomach. Blood and pain are mentioned, but the description isn't graphic.

Renna and the prince share some kisses that are mild-to-moderate in description, but nothing sexual.

Renna and the prince accidentally walk in on a couple kissing in the garden. It turns out to be the prince's friend and a woman who is rumored to "entertain" him regularly, but the friend reveals that those rumors are unfounded, and this is the first time they've even kissed.

On her wedding day, a young woman has a very brief, undescriptive thought about the wedding night.

Magic: The setting of the story is a fantasy world, but the magic seems to be limited to the healing abilities of the Menders, which is completely natural to them.

Some brief mentions of drinking and drunkenness and the appearance of a very drunk person.

As mentioned in the review, the Menders are basically slaves in the kingdom in which they live. They get paid for mending, but can't actually choose to stop doing it, even when it starts to hurt and kill them because they've been made to do it too frequently to recover, and they can't leave the kingdom without having to sneak out. They're also dehumanized by the ruling class who spreads the lie that they feel no pain when they take away another person's injury or illness. But we learn from Renna that they do feel pain, and all the consequences of the other person's illness. (This treatment of the Menders is shown to be very wrong, and is corrected by the end of the story.)

There is a certain revelation late in the story that some might find disturbing. (It is intended to be so, and the good characters are also disturbed by it, and work to put a stop to it.)
Author 10 books63 followers
November 6, 2020
Met by Midnight is a Cinderella retelling with interesting characters, poetry, and a soul mates trope (which I LOVE). A quick read, this book's happy ending was exactly what I needed.
Profile Image for Lena.
Author 1 book44 followers
May 18, 2023
A tale of love and freedom sought.
Though short, I still grew attached to these characters and their strivings. I would have liked to see more of their bond before we’re really thrust into the midst of everything, but I thought it was a clever way to avoid insta-love. And I would like to know more of this interesting world—dystopian-esque fantasy that reminded me of the world of The Giver. Looking forward to Usilea’s story in Thorns at Sunrise!

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 6 books101 followers
May 9, 2021
This was an interesting take on a Cinderella retelling. It's a good story, and I liked the characters and world concept well enough. I didn't love the story as a whole, but it's still not bad.
Profile Image for Kara.
756 reviews
September 29, 2020
One thing I have learned after reading a few stories by Ippolito, you are guaranteed a fresh story that has never been told before. This one is a fairy tale retelling and I'm greatly hoping there is a sequel coming. This is not the Cinderella I remember but so much better!

Renna has been forced into servitude as a Mender, but after a death in the family and her Father's health deteriorating, she has a defiant mindset to escape in any way she can. Then there's these dreams she has of a man whose soul she has connected to. For personal reasons, this story was very special to me.

Prince Jaric is unable to heal and has many scars because of this, his parents don't want him taking the throne and instead have plans for him to live in isolation after choosing a fitting bride. At first, I considered these people, the king and queen of the land, to be mean hearted and cruel. However, they are actually very evil and it will take a different plan than expected to put a stop to their corruptive ways.

I truly loved EVERYTHING about Renna and Jaric. I have a favorite scene in the book, but I won't mention what it is because it's a spoiler. It was perfectly written.

They weren't my favorite characters but also truly loved Keddyr and Anlyn, they were such an enhancement to the story and they start out as VERY unlikable characters! For real, TALENTED storytelling going on here!!

I think there is one or two profanities in the story, but overall VERY clean and so well written (can't mention that enough, this story touched my heart in so many ways). This one didn't win me over with the cover for a speculative read, but the characters brought it to life for me in such wonderful ways. Met By Midnight is so special to me and so blessed to review it.

I received an ARC from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and comments are my own.
Profile Image for Christina Morley.
Author 2 books19 followers
September 30, 2020
Met by Midnight by Janeen Ippolito is an unexpected Cinderella retelling with a dystopian feel. The pacing is good and the story unpredictable. The characters are refreshingly unique.

There are people called Menders who take other people's sickness, pain, and injuries upon themselves and heal them. Menders have no voice and no choice. They are being exploited by the Royal Family and nobility.

Renna is an 18-year-old Mender who passively resists her bonds. Jaric is a 19-year-old prince and the only royal unable to receive healing by a Mender. Because of his curse, he lives with bonds too. Renna and Jaric have never met, but for the past 2 years they have sought each other out through nighttime dreams. What happens when they find each other? What secrets have the Royal Family been keeping? This novel is a standalone.

I purchased a copy of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for H.L. Burke.
Author 78 books515 followers
July 19, 2020
I beta read this. I need to re-read the finished version before I write a "real" review, but overall enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Hailey Huntington.
Author 5 books21 followers
November 8, 2021
Met by Midnight was an interesting Cinderella reimagining.

Met by Midnight seems to be marketed as a Cinderella *retelling*, I think it fits the category of *reimagining* more. While it has some Cinderella elements to it (a ball, shoes, midnight), that's about it. The plotline is entirely its own.

The plot itself was kind of interesting, but I struggled to get super invested in it at first since a good portion of it revolved around the relationship between Renna and Jaric. And I personally found Renna and Jaric's romance to feel a little insta-lovey. While it wasn't technically insta-love and I don't think that the author intended for it to feel like insta-love, it did feel like it to me. Renna and Jaric know each other somewhat, but they mainly just have a lot of feelings towards each other until they start to remember everything. (Sorry if that is confusing. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, which is making this difficult).

My other issue with the plot was that it felt too easy at times. While listening to the book, I remember thinking at one point, "something bad needs to happen here." But nothing did. There wasn't really ever a twist where the characters' plans failed. Even the one moment that seems like a failure turns out to not be. There's also a certain event that happens during the climax that seemed to sort of be a "Deux ex Machina" of sorts. I'll try to keep this vague and spoiler-less, but one of the characters is able to do something during the climax that was formerly thought impossible. No one knows how the character did it, so we never get an explanation for how this impossible thing happened out of the blue.

And while I'm speaking about plots twists, there are two main plot twists in Met by Midnight. I guessed the first plot twist pretty early on. The other one I didn't see coming. That twist also made the story take a darker turn that I was not expecting.

I think that the story could have possibly benefitted from being longer and adding a little bit more depth to the plot, world, and characters. While it's not a novella, it's shorter than a typical YA novel.

I listened to the audiobook of Met by Midnight, and it was well done. My main critique would be that the narrator's voice for Renna wasn't my favorite. I can't exactly put my finger on what I didn't like about it, but I would have chosen a different accent for Renna.

I am a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, so I was a little disappointed that Met by Midnight didn't wow me. But it wasn't a bad story. I'll probably listen to it again at some point in the future.

(I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All thoughts are my own.)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 10 books52 followers
February 19, 2022
Interesting concept, not my style

Since it was a short book, I was expecting a quick read, but it honestly took me a while to get through. The writing style is very flowery, aiming for poetic, but it sometimes comes off as exaggerated. It sometimes felt like reading a stage play with the actors yelling their lines to be heard by the audience in the back. The Mending was interesting, but not a totally unique concept (I've read a few where the healers take on someone else's wounds like that and can't be healed themselves) but the gemstone skin and rock references were more interesting. I wish that had been expanded upon (though I haven't checked to see if this is part of a wider world, in which case it might be). The Big Reveal was a nice twist, but the climax was rushed, and the Secomd Big Reveal just sort of seemed tossed in there just because. "Oh, the Eternal wills it so" was the explanation, which just didn't really work for me.

Side Note: I read this because someone claimed it was a Cinderella Retelling, but there isn't really mich Cinderella to it, at least not that I saw.
Profile Image for C.O. Bonham.
Author 12 books23 followers
August 21, 2020
Met By Midnight is advertised as a Cinderella retelling, but it's so much better than one.

Let's face it Cinderella always had a choice. She could have left.

Renna is a mender, a slave, locked in a secure sanctuary and forced to heal the ailments of others. She has no choice. She has no step mother, no sisters, only her gift that makes her property and a tool to be used by others. This is not the story of a nice girl getting her hearts desire.

This is a story of defiance. A story of a girl who will not be used any longer. This is not a sweet romance, this is Hunger Games level wrong. Be prepared to be disturbed and outraged on behalf of a population.

I was blown away by the originality in this story. Not only the circumstances that Renna experiences but also the way the Prince is treated. Jaric thinks he is cursed because mender's powers are useless on him, and in a family that values perfection, every scar is literally a mark against him. To marry the girl of his dreams he will need more than a slipper, he'll have to upset the system. A system that's already staked against him.

This is sounding more like a commercial than a review, but it was so good. I just want everyone to read it.

So in conclusion:

This story was so good, it stirred up all the feels, all righteous anger. This has many things that Cinderella does, a girl who wants to change her lot in life, a royal ball, even a lost slipper. But do not go in thinking this is a sweet fairy-tale. This is not Cinderella.


*I was given an ARC by the publisher so that I may leave an honest review of the provided book. The above review was given willingly and contains my honest opinion.*
September 23, 2020
Okay, I am not really a fan of Cinderella retellings, but I loved this one!! It was so unique. And Renna and Prince Jaric meeting in their dreams? Seriously awesome.

I loved that the author centered the story around one line: “I see you.” They we’re letting each other know that at least one person in the world saw them for who they were and cared. Amazing.

I received an ARC from the publisher. This review is my own independent and fair evaluation.
Profile Image for Heather Elliott.
Author 2 books4 followers
March 31, 2021
Completely different take on the traditional Cinderella story. It felt disjointed for a few chapters and really took me a while to get into the story and the setting. Decent read, but not something I'd read again when I'm in the mood for a Cinderella story.
Profile Image for Janeen Ippolito.
Author 38 books139 followers
August 11, 2020
Well, I'm pretty happy with it! ;-) Seriously though, this book took me in new and intense directions as an author. Plus, labradoodle. Hope you enjoy!
February 21, 2022
I'm conflicted.

My initial expectations were that this would be an interesting cinderella retelling with more of a fantasy base than is per usual. This is a lot more of a reimagined Cinderella rather than a retelling. It's got the lost shoe, the midnight scurry, a prince, and a ball. That's where the parallels end.

While this was well written, crafted with aplomb, and an intriguing new fantasy world with its social structures and loose magic system...it fell flat for me on a lot of levels. And, for reference, most of those levels are personal preference, so take my next words with that in mind.

The instant, and I mean THE instant, when I realized that the romance was a 'destined love' I wanted to bang my head against a wall. I find fated romances, where the protagonists are meant to be with only each other through some sort of magic mubmo jumbo, to be not romantic but lazy on the part of the author. The only thing that saved this for me and made me keep reading, was the fact that these kiddos had been sorta kinda getting to know each other through said mumbo jumbo magic connection for two years. Sorta. So, I could forgive a lot of the lack of relationship building. But it still was a miss for me, as those two years were essentially skipped over, and skimmed with odd vague poems before certain chapters with enough longing angst to thrill any teenager.

The poetry. I love poetry. I find it to be evocative of emotions that aren't easily stated forthrightly. And some of the poetry I did like, most of it was too subtle and vague and just gave me the floaty sort of vibe that I was supposed to be getting more than I was from the poems. And that bled over into the prose of the book, when there was italics, I wasn't sure if Jaric and Renna were mind-speaking to each other, or if it was their own internal thoughts. Confusing. Which was the tone that most of the novel seemed to take. Vague and sorta dreamy?

Now it took me a while to bring myself to finish the last fifty pages, but they were, very well done. I approved the ending, and the twist there, and it finally felt like I could follow what was going on as answers were given to all the vague hinting going on. So kudos on giving a solid ending that I felt was not rushed but not draggy either.

All in all, this just wasn't my kind of book. Mostly due to my own personal preferences. Well written, well executed, just not for me.


Steam: There is some sensuality here. Mentions of post marital sexual relations, and of sex in general as an aside for the sake of continuing lines and powers and such. There are two characters who are not so subtly hinted at having multiple partners outside of marriage. It's not graphic whatsoever, but the mentions are there. Kisses are also there, likely PG, more than just the disney peck and pull back, but not so descriptive as to make it PG-13 where tongue is involved.

Language: There is none.

Trigger warnings: There is an aspect of forced imprisonment and treating people like objects. I'd say adjacent to human trafficking. And, SPOILER: so stop reading if you don't want this next spoiler right NOW (but it needs to be warned) there is cannibalism in this book. You don't see it, but it happens in the background. And it was psychologically disturbing.
260 reviews8 followers
July 25, 2021
Met by Midnight is a clean, YA, abstract Cinderella fairytale retelling with a fated-lovers trope and some creative, diverse worldbuilding.

-Setting: if I hadn't known this was a Cinderella retelling, I wouldn't have been able to guess at least for the first half of the story. The setting was so completely different from what I expected, and I loved that. The idea of people able to heal others at a cost to their own long-term health, people with skin colours that seem to match the different kinds of ore in their part of the world, it made my eyes gleam with excitement. I love me some creative worldbuilding.
-Tension: I considered putting the book down once, because of the some of the reasons I'll mention below, but the setting and the question: 'but what will happen next?' kept me reading on. So that was very strong. Even if at some point how the book will end becomes relatively obvious, it isn't so from the start and I appreciated that.

What I missed:
-Prose: I felt like sometimes the characters got pushed back a little by the pretty prose, especially during dialogue. For me personally the 'romantic' prose could have been toned down a little in favour of more realism.
-Fated-lovers: I actually like the idea of fated lovers. I think it's a difficult trope to do well, but if done well it can be very cool. I'm afraid in Met by Midnight it fell a little flat for me though and I had trouble believing the quick switch from never having met to now we're utterly in love instantly. I personally would have liked a bit more gradual response from the characters. Even if they felt an innate connection to eachother, that doesn't have to mean they are instantly head over heels and can guess eachother's every thought. So unfortunately that didn't work for me personally.

Sexual content: none (one very mildly suggestive joke at the end)
Coarse language: none
Violence and gore: very mild

Although this didn't make it into my new favourites, I did enjoy my read and I especially appreciate what Ippolito did with her setting and worldbuilding. That was very creative and unexpected and I would suggest any fantasy writers looking for new ways to spin already used ideas, to have a read through of this story. I think the setting was definitely her strength.
124 reviews
August 24, 2020
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit I'm not to certain what to say about this book. The story itself is original and innovative, offering a completely new take on the familiar story of Cinderella. Overlooking the snatches of dreams between chapters at the beginning (which did nothing to endear the book to me - too . . . abstract for my tastes) the prose was engaging and very easy to keep reading. The characters were strong and interesting (and if there's ever a sequel featuring Usilea I'll be reading it). The situation was quite original and different to any other Cinderella re-telling I've read before.

My one problem with the book is that it was just too easy. The first person the Cinderella character tells her situation to and asks for help just helps, no hesitation in fear of possible repercussions, no ulterior motives for personal gain, no betrayal or backstabbing, just loyal unending support in whatever is needed. The romance between "Cinderella" and the prince involves a few snatches of jumbled dreams, meeting, instantly deciding they are in love and then moving on to solving all their other problems, no doubts about the other person, no conflict of opinions, no turmoil, just instant love and understanding. After a whole book of being told a Mender can not be healed by another Mender, a Mender heals another Mender with no real explanation of the how and why that Mender could do the impossible, it's just a miracle. So while the characters did have some real obstacles in their way it also seems they had an awful amount of luck on their side to smooth the way.

So in conclusion, this is a fairly good book, just not in contention for an all time favourite.
683 reviews7 followers
October 4, 2020
Unexpected take on the Cinderella trope which injected traditional familiar elements into a unique world populated with people featuring mineral traits. The imagery of the coloring of the people was really beautiful. This story was written in a lyrical, almost poetic manner and veered into the abstract in the interstitials where Renna and Jaric's souls met. The moment when they first recognized each other was beautiful. This clashed with the harsh reality of what their world had become. The magic system was reminiscent of a series I read years ago featuring hedge witches who were able to heal people, but only by using some of their own life force. I liked the direction this story went with that premise - totally different from the other.

The resolution of this one was far more complex than a typical Cinderella story, featuring not an escape, but an acceptance of responsibility and a very dramatic illustration of the effects of choices that got them to that point. Trying not to post spoilers - the ending was unexpected, but the explanation is there. The twists were well thought out and the supporting characters stole the scene a few time. It is nice to see such a rich cast of characters. Another fun touch I liked was that the slippers were fur, following the "pantoufle de vair" theories. This is a complete story. I would happily read more set in this world.
1 review
August 5, 2022
My dog, Cocoa, and I both LOVED reading Met By Midnight. This book was dedicated to Janeen's Labradoodle, Hope, and has a canine character named Opal in the story!🐕

"An outcast prince. A captive healer. A single night that changes their destinies."

This 182 page romance fantasy fiction was written in the author's lovely lyrical style with a theme of self-sacrifice versus self-preservation.

Met By Midnight challenges its characters, Renna and Jaric, to pursue freedom from their captivity while fighting for others as well. Justice should not be attained through selfishness and out of one's own hurt, but through the courage that only comes from love.

Janeen spoke about her book at a writers' conference that I attended, courageously confessing the struggle in her own life that birthed this beautiful story. Her heart and her victory over sorrow is evident on every page, reminding us all to regain our hope in love, purpose and happy beginnings.

Thank you for writing this story, Janeen!!🌹
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews39 followers
July 2, 2021
Met by Midnight is a dystopian-fantasy Cinderella retelling.

Desperate to save her father and escape slavery as a magical healer, Renna accepts an illegal mission - to slip into the palace during the royal ball.

I really enjoyed his fairytale retelling. I liked how the author wove the fantasy world together, with magic and true love. I also liked how the characters discovered how little they knew in the scheme of things and grew as people. The romance was sweet, and the ending was cute. The villains in the story were very evil, though, and I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens or kids. There isn’t anything inappropriate, but slavery, dark magic, and cannibalism are pretty dark topics.

Overall, a very good read that I would easily recommend!

I got this book for free as part of a fun book club, and I reviewed it because I wanted to.
Profile Image for K. Moseley.
Author 4 books48 followers
August 28, 2021
A truly unique Cinderella retelling, with questions that beg to be answered and justice that needs to be found, Met By Midnight was not easy to put down. I'm looking forward to the audiobook as well. With the right narrator and the way the language flows, it will be a stunning audio experience.

I debated between 4 and 5 stars for this one. While I loved the story, it wasn't what I typically enjoy stylistically. In the end, I had to go with the 5, because, while there may have been some parts I struggled with, Met by Midnight accomplishes EXACTLY what it set out to accomplish.

If you are captivated by lyrical, poetic writing, and dialogue that feels real to the setting, this book HITS IT. Even with some of the things that weren't my personal favorite, the story HOOKED hard.
Profile Image for The Lazy Reader.
59 reviews10 followers
February 18, 2023
This book had me in the first half. It has a great opening chapter that really sets the tone, and stakes, for the rest of the story. I instantly liked and felt pity for Renna and her plight, her despair, her outrage, her desperation to find a way to save her father and flee. I was equally outraged by how Menders are treated in the world of Midnight, to be used then discarded. I also loved the world-building. Midnight is set in a very interesting place with a fascinating world to explore. Halfway through the book, however, things started to fall apart for me. Not so much that I ended up disliking the book, but enough that I finished it lamenting its flaws.

I liked the idea of Reeve and Jaric meeting with each other while asleep, not knowing who each other is or what each other looks like but coming to know about each other through conversation. I honestly would have liked to see more of their nightly conversations, as they would have been a great way to develop the romance. But then they meet in person, and the romance starts to fall apart for me. First, it seems as if Jaric is the only one who actually remembers these meetings. This is fine as long as we see Reeve begin to recognize him as well, but he makes a move on her before we the reader can be sure that she does, and this really turned me off. I do realize that the kiss was meant to be the moment where Reeve fully realized it was him, but it felt like him crossing a line, and I did not like this.

Truthfully, I don't think the halfway point of the story was the moment for a kiss. Reeve and Jaric have spent many nights meeting together, but we the reader have seen very little of these interactions and therefore haven't had a strong enough foundation laid for us by the author to build the lead's relationship upon.

The second problem is that most of their romance for the rest of the book is based on physical attraction, which felt very weird to me. They've only just realized who they both are, only seen each other face to face for the first time. Surely there would be more awkwardness and unsureness between them, regardless of how many nightly conversations they've had with one another. There's definitely plenty of time towards the end of the book for them get smoochy with each other, so I'm not sure why we had to jump into that so soon. And given the overall conceit of the book, the plight of Menders and the disturbing ways the nobility have been using (and draining) them, I think it would have made sense to keep the romance more toned down in order to give all of the political intrigue and machinations a little more room for fleshing out.

My only other complaint would be that while Lady Anlyn and Keddyr both play important roles in the story, they're presence also felt very awkward much of the time. They felt more like caricatures than fully formed characters, and I never connected with either of them. In terms of their romance, I personally think it would have worked better if it had been hinted at rather than brought so far to the forefront.

I know that I've mainly critiqued Met by Midnight and not provided much praise, so I want to be clear that I don't think the book is bad. I like a lot of things about its world and its characters, and I think the prose and imagery is really beautiful. I would definitely recommend this book to others to read. But I think the story is a little too full for a novella, and it suffers for it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sharon Rose.
Author 22 books107 followers
September 25, 2020
Technically, this is a Cinderella retelling but the story is much richer than the common version. Don't worry that you already know the ending. The plot has added depths and twists I didn't expect. The characters have depth and personal challenges, along with some snarky humor. Great plot and characters--what more could I ask for? That would have been enough, but better yet, the characters actually come to know each other and have a reason to fall in love. Yes! (In case you can't guess, I'm not fond of the instant-love-with-a-stranger trope of fairy tales.) The theme of freedom, inside and out, was another great plus. Quite an enjoyable read!
Profile Image for Laurie Lucking.
Author 7 books50 followers
March 4, 2021
I loved the premise of this story - the Menders were fascinating, and it was so cool the way Renna and Prince Jaric connected through dreams long before they ever met. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the plot twists along the way, but I would've been interested to delve deeper into the bond between Renna and Prince Jaric since it felt like they embraced and adjusted to it a little too easily. But I'm always a fan of fairy tale romance, and this was definitely one of the most creative Cinderella retellings I've ever read!

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.*
Profile Image for Katherine M.
304 reviews3 followers
August 4, 2021
My only real complaint about this one is I wish it had been a little longer-I felt like the book ended way too fast! My favorite character is probably Usilea, who is a devious little mastermind that thankfully has an ethical code, otherwise she'd probably take over the entire world and convince them it was really what they wanted. Actually, that might still be a concern even with her ethical code...
It's a Cinderella re-imagining that has you chewing over how our human desire to avoid pain and loss can lead us down some pretty dark roads, even as you're cooing over how perfect Jaric and Renna are for each other. Definitely holds up to Janeen Ippolito's usual standards.
Profile Image for Amena Jamali.
Author 4 books18 followers
November 12, 2022
a good story but sort of missing something

This story, with its underlying message of faith, unexpected magic, sibling bonds, and strong heroine/hero, was exactly the story I wanted — except there is something missing. The plot and the world build up — and then everything is resolved in a single confrontation. At least another hundred pages were needed for a fully elaborated climax, and I’m sorry to say they were missing, as I wanted to savor the ending properly. I really hope the author plans a sequel or a second edition someday, as this is a book with the potential to be utterly immersive.
Profile Image for Jeani.
705 reviews
August 11, 2022
Just a disclaimer that I would not consider myself a high fantasy fan, but I liked this book. I started it thinking I would hate it and abandon it, but I wanted something loosely inspired by Cinderella and this seemed to fit the bill. And, it does - midnight lovers, an epic run and even a prince putting a shoe on a commoner. I enjoyed it - good plot, good characters and the world building is not overly complicated. The author puts us right into the story and off we go.
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