Review: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) - Melissa Grey

Release Date: April 28 2015
Published By: ATOM/Hachette
Pages: 361
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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 Girl at Midnight is an intricate story of belonging, quests, friendship, betrayal and power. A modern world with fantasy elements jam-packed with adventure hope, romance, loyalty and fire.

For most of her life Echo has known about the Avicen, a magical and feathered race that live below New York City, and although she thinks of Avicen of family, she doesn’t fully belong in their world. She still feels like an outsider - this is a combination of being different to them, as well as her reluctance to remove herself to remove herself from the human world and the few things from this world that she has grown to love. The differences between herself and those she loves is noticeable; she is human, whereas the creatures she knows as family are feathered and the Avicen have powerful magic, whereas Echo struggles with the most basic magic. But she manages to live in both worlds, stealing the human world and returning to the bird-like creatures she loves. She will do anything for the Avicen, and for those she loves, and her loyalties will soon be tested.

Soon Echo is sent to steal something that will help the Avicen find the Firebird - an unknown object that contains the power to end the war between the Avicen and the Drakharin. With her loyalty firmly with the Avicen, and her determination to prove herself to them, she sets of on a dangerous adventure which will bring her face to the enemy, the Drakharin. The Drakharin are a race with dragon ancestory, and although they have lost most of the power of their ancestors, they are still powerful and dangerous. The Firebird is the key to obtaining the power they both want - as the Firebird has the ability to end the war between these two races, at the discretion of that who holds it. Both races want this object so they can end the war on their own terms.

But will the Firebird end a war or will it set the world ablaze?

The characters are a real strong point of The Girl at Midnight and along the way we meet some amazing characters, human, Avicen and Drakharin. Our protagonist Echo is strong, clever, daring and sarcastic. This girl oozes sarcasm, and I love it! She struggles with her inability to fit in and understand where she belongs, but she is fiercely loyal. She is funny, confident (or bluffs it), intelligent and quite the smart-ass. But interesting characteristics is not only for our lead… we also have other fantastic characters who go on this journey with Echo, each with their own story tell. And this is where I feel the book takes off on its own. Every character is intricate and multi-dimensional, they have their own feelings and thoughts, issues and demons and every one of them at some point must make a sacrifice of their own. We have Caius; a strong and dedicated leader with a tormented history and enormous responsibility, Dorian; a loyal soldier who struggles with his own feelings and actions, Ivy; who is caring and afraid, Jasper; a flamboyant and distant acquaintance who learns that being detached isn’t always easy. Every character has a choice to make, struggles to overcome and their own journey to follow.

The world building is fantastic, with fantasy elements weaved into the modern day world. There are people who have feathers instead of hair, and ones with dragon scales. There is an ancient war, and a modern one brewing. We get to go to places all over world and we find out about some additional magical creatures. There is humour and even some pop-culture references to top it all off.

The romance in this story is complicated. And yes, there is a triangle, although it seems pretty obviously how it will turn out. We have a child-hood crush who represents everything Echo has ever wanted, but the other is a burning desire that represents everything Echo now wants. On top of this there is also a twist that complicate matters, and although I am not sure I like where this is going, for now I will give it benefit of the doubt.

The “twist” is something that I did see coming, but I didn’t mind the journey along the way. I was enthralled with the journey itself, and those who were on it. The ending itself lets open lots of questions for the sequel to answer - it wasn’t a cliffhanger, but it certainly didn’t answer all the questions, and even opened up some new ones. While I wasn’t surprised by some of things that happened, I am certainly excited to see where these characters go in the future - we are left with the promise of hope, fear, love, forgiveness, betrayal, and a whole lot more dramas!

Okay, now I am going to address the one thing that everyone has asked me about this book: my thoughts on the comparison to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I will admit, this comparison had me both excited and scared; I was excited because I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone (as everyone knows), and scared because it could bitterly disappointed me due to high expectations. So going into this book I had decided to ignore the comparison, as I did not want to over, or under, estimate this story. But throughout the story I could not ignore them… in certain aspects this book is certainly comparable to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And The Grisha series. And The Mortal Instruments. And even Throne of Glass. In fact, at times, the likeness of certain aspects or characters of this book to other books was distracting. Did I love The Girl at Midnight as much as I did Daughter of Smoke and Bone? No, but let’s be honest, that was probably never going to happen. For me there were some plotlines or actions that were similar, but while the writing was both interesting and enjoyable, for me, it did not meet that of my all-time-favourite book.

Now, with that being said, let’s look at The Girl at Midnight on its own merits. While I did find similarities to other books at times distracting, this book also stood out for reasons all of its own. The writing is beautiful, and colourful, and is exactly what was needed in a fast-paced world with fantasy elements. Filled with amazing descriptions, wonderful settings, complex and interesting characters, The Girl at Midnight will not disappoint.


What do you think?

  • Oooo a modern world with fantasy elements, sounds great. I love the cover!! So pretty. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  • I ended up loving this one even more than I thought I would. Not as much as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I just don’t think it had the epicness that Daughter of Smoke and Bone did, but I loved it none the less.
    I thought the twist was very predictable but enjoyed the journey like you did.
    I can’t wait to read the next book.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…The Amberly Chronicles Episode 13: The Decision.My Profile

    • Kristy says:

      Well, I was never going to love it as much as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, was I Rochelle?

      But I did enjoy, which is surprising considering I found lots of comparisons to other books, which normally makes me dislike a book. So for that alone, it gets credit :)

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CommentLuv badge