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 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 have 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 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.
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.
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.