The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: The Girl at Midnight, #1
For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down
what she wants . . . and how to take it.
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
*I received an advance reading copy from the publisher in an exchange for an honest review.*
One of my very first impressions on this was that gorgeous cover!! I thought it was very beautiful and loved the smoky look. I think the designers did a brilliant job on it!! Even the UK edition was pretty!! This is one of those situations where you want to have them both. It was what made me want to read the story in the first place.
Our main character is named Echo and she is a thief, who finds family in the Avicen. They are these bird-like magical beings who have feathers for hair. And even though they are concealed from the humans, Echo can still see them. One day, she is tasked with finding this mythical creature called the Firebird that could end an ancient war that has been going on. But the Avicen aren't the only ones who are after it.
The summary is very vague and I don't want to give too much details. But it's all in that cover. I was too dazzled by it to even pay attention to what was in front of me. Just look closely and look what's there. I thought I saw two swans but there is a dragon!!! I didn't expect this.
I found Echo to be very relatable. Throughout the novel, she kept mentioning how she felt out of place with the Avicen like she didn't belong. Well that's how I felt in high school and I still do at times. Her personality was so snarky and intriguing. I also loved the fact that she loves books. She said that they will always be there for her. My inner book-self wanted to jump into the story and give her a hug. I also felt for her at times because of her loneliness. It was quite sad at times and I pitied her.
Then we have Caius who is hundreds of years old (Not a vampire, I promise!). He's very intelligent and a strong character. Plus he was so charming to Echo. And I loved how they both met.
Even the secondary characters were fun to watch especially Dorian and Jasper. Jasper would just make Dorian blush and it was so adorable!! I don't even know if they are a thing but I hope they are.
It had such a unique plot but I felt like the world building was a bit slow and not well-played. It was a bit hard to get into it the first half of the book. I would just put it down and not even think about it. But the second half was where it took off for me because that's where we finally started to get some answers. But it did become a bit predictable. Or at least, I figured things out sooner than it happened.
I did enjoy seeing Echo travel using magical dust on doors to create portals. It really gave the story a fantasy feel. But I also thought that the writing felt like this was a middle grade book or at least somewhat younger YA.
There wasn't a whole lot of romance and it wasn't very strong. But it could potentially turn into a love triangle in the second book. I'll just say that I thought Echo and Caius were a cute pairing but I just didn't grasp it that much. Not a whole lot of chemistry either.
Overall, The Girl At Midnight left off on a perfect ending spot. It could really be a standalone that would leave readers wondering. For this to be a debut novel, especially fantasy, I thought it was well-put. I'm not too crazy about picking up the next novel though. But I've heard that if you loved The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, then you should give this a try.