Review of The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

GirlatMidnightCoverThe Girl at Midnight
By: Melissa Grey
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Print ARC
Source: Gift

My Rating:

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.

The Story:
I was obsessed with reading The Girl at Midnight and did everything in my power to obtain a copy. It took months but eventually a wonderful friend sent me a copy and I dropped everything to read it immediately. I think it is safe to say I had some pretty high expectations. And, I think that might haveย been a tiny disservice to the book.

Was this book entertaining and overall a great book? Yes! I really did enjoy it. I felt that Grey’s writing was very strong and well done. I loved her descriptions and felt that her prologue especially was brilliant. Have you seen those comparisons to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and The Mortal Instruments? I typically hate to compare novels or see similarities but I couldn’t help seeing them with this book.

The tone and urban feel was very much in the style of Laini Taylor’s series which I appreciated because I love her books so much. It didn’t feel copied if that’s what you are worried about. But it really did bring ย Karou to mind especially for the first half of the book. There was a relationship that really felt like TMI to me and because of these similarities I did keep thinking back to those other books. I’m not sure if that bothered me or not but it did distract a little bit.

Back to the book at hand, The Girl at Midnight had a really wonderful moderate pace that was incredibly enjoyable to read. It wasn’t rushed but no sections really dragged. I adore that it took real settings and added a magical dimension and entire races of beings that existed outside of the normal person’s awareness. I really do love books that take this approach to magic because it allows me to peek around my own life and pretend to see little bits of magic.

The Characters:
Grey really created a likeable cast of characters that all interact wonderfully and have some stellar dialog. I loved the humor and emotions she was able to invoke within her characters. Echo was an easy main character to enjoy because she was wonderfully flawed but also so kick-ass. I loved her sarcasm and really did hope for her to succeed. The side-characters were wonderful and all so varied from one another. I found myself loving them just as much as I loved Echo.

I didn’t know going into this book that there were bird people and dragon people (yeah, I know the Avicen are mentioned in the summary but who reads those?). So much win there. I have been loving the bird-people trend in YA lately (Challenger Deep, Magonia and this book). Who doesn’t need giant birds with glorious feathers running around? I adore the visual I get when imagining what they might all look like. And really, anything to do with dragons wins in my book. I will say that the dragon people are a bit underutilized in their dragon-ness but I’m hoping for much more in the follow-up.

Final Thoughts:
I was a tiny bit distracted by the similarities I could see with some other well known books but at the same time The Girl at Midnight really took some of my favorite aspects and wrapped them up into a new and impressive storyline. I’ll be checking out more from Melissa Grey and this series.


  1. says

    I hope I won’t be spending too much time comparing with other familiar books, because it’s true that it can be rather distracting while reading!

    But I’m really glad that you enjoyed this one a lot and that the writing was amazing!

    Great review Kristen!

    • says

      I really wish I hadn’t Pili. It really does have some creative things that stand on their own and it’s only a few things here and there. I will love to hear your thoughts once you read. I’ll be checking out the next book for sure.

    • says

      Yeah, it didn’t really shock me with the twist but really that’s fairly rare to happen. It was a very enjoyable journey with laughs and feels.

  2. says

    On one hand, it is annoying when books make you think of other stories. On the other hand though, I love me some Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the atmosphere of that story and wouldn’t mind reading that again with new characters. Great review!

    • says

      Exactly Anne. I felt the same way. It was a tad distracting but really, if I’m going to be reminded of a book a Laini Taylor one is hard to complain about.

  3. says

    Ahhhh, loooove! I really, really enjoyed this book! I’m so glad you got to read it – I remember seeing you ask for it on Twitter. I totally would have sent you an ARC had I gotten one… mine was an eARC from NetGalley. But it worked out! I definitely got the Laini Taylor vibe as well – and I read Magonia after this one, but found them similar in certain aspects as well. At the same time, both were very different and unique O_O I’m glad you loved this book, despite some issues, Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fantastic review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • says

      Don’t you love the bird- people trend that’s going on? It seems so random that they are in a few books right now. I’m about to read Challenger Deep soon and I heard there are bird- people in it too! I really enjoyed this one too but I do think I had put it so high up on a pedestal it was almost unfair for the book. I think my expectations for the next will be lower and I’ll be able to really love and appreciate it a tad more.

    • says

      That’s smart Nikki! It wasn’t even the hype that did me in…for some reason I created my own expectations and such. No clue why but sometimes I do that (to my annoyance)

  4. says

    I’m sorta glad I didn’t wind up obtaining a copy of this book, even though i really wanted it when I first saw the stunning cover. I don’t believe it is the kind of book I like to read, and would probably not like it so much if I had obtained a copy. Sorry to hear the similarities were so distracting, BUT it happens to me all the time! Some times when authors try to make write similar books to popular authors, it winds up taking a way from the book. Even if they don’t do it on purpose, there is something to be said for a holy unique read.

    • says

      I think the more books I read the harder it gets for me not to see comparisons. It really is amazing when you read something and it is 100% new to you. I’m sorry you don’t think you’d like it. I’m still wanting to FC because I’ll be reading the next book for sure.

  5. says

    Amazing review Kristen ๐Ÿ˜€ I am so glad that you enjoyed this book. <3 I think it looks so gorgeous. Sigh. But I'm not going to buy it :p it doesn't seem like I will like it. Sigh. Despite you enjoying it a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ But aw, I hate when books are like other books :\ I'm sorry it bothered you. Like.. how I just read The Novice. It sucked. Was SO MUCH like His Dark Materials. And Harry Potter. And lots of others. Ugh. It was awful :p I want more original books ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway. Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3

  6. says

    Aah I felt the same about this one too, Kristen! Very solid start to a series, imo. However I was distracted primarily by the bird and dragon people. Just because my imagination’s so vivid and I literally imagine walking (human wise that is) birds and dragons. Too much? hahahah Fantastic review ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. says

    I just recently devoured this book and omgosh I loved it!! I did see the similarities to other books but I wasn’t really distracted by them. And I absolutely adored Echo and her wit! Also – YES to the bird-people! This is the first book I read but I am glad to hear it is becoming a thing – I’ll have to check out Magonia next!

  8. says

    I am not sure how I feel about the idea of the similar comparisons. I did love The Mortal Instruments series myself, so I’ll either love this book or I’ll think it is far too similar and want it out of my life. I have it on my TBR, and will get back to you with the verdict!

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