The Girl at Midnight - Book Review
(The Girl at Midnight #1)
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 be selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s every 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 boarders 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, though 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 straight forward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
I really enjoyed this book. The world building was creatively done with many fantastical elements, with each character unique and colourful - I especially loved one of the secondary characters, Jasper, and laughed so hard when I discovered him to be every inch a peacock!
However this story follows the life of Echo, a sixteen-year-old runaway thief who loves words and shiny things. When she was young, Echo befriended a magical race of beings known as the Avicen. With feathers for hair, and magick that can transport them to any doorway in the world, they live generally peaceful lives, hidden away from humans.
But the Avicen have a deadly enemy, the Drakharin - the people descended from dragons. And when war erupts once more between the two races, Echo will do anything to see her Avicen friends safe, even hunt down the legendary firebird - the one being with the power to bring about a lasting peace.
But when Echo’s best friend is kidnapped, and she herself thrown into a Drakharin prison, she knows her chances are bleak. Yet when two rouge Drakharin offer to help, Echo attempts to set her prejudices aside. But the two Drakharin have their own agendas, and Echo must learn to tell the difference between friend and foe before it’s too late….
What really caught me about this book was how beautifully it was written. The writing is eloquent and the author’s love of words really shone through the prose. I can understand how this book has been compared to others such as The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (another favourite of mine) as I think both authors have a talent for weaving words to create vivid and magical imagery.
However The Girl at Midnight is very much its own story. The main plot is fast paced and filled with action, while several subplots offer intrigue and backstory that compliment the main plot nicely. And yes, while there are some cliches, they didn't bother me at all and I thought as whole the story flowed nicely.
I also adored the characters. Echo is witty, bull-headed and brave. I loved her sense of humour, and liked how her sarcasm took away the sting of some of the less-original scenes. Cauis, the Drakharin Prince, was a little broody for my taste but I thought he and Echo developed a most interesting relationship that didn't evolve into your typical kind of romance.
Yet for me, it was the secondary characters who really made this story shine. While Echo and Casis were always in the spotlight, Jasper, Ivy and Dorian had their own dramas and word-play going on in the background. This helped make the story more three-dimensional and gave it a depth that I enjoyed. Because of them I really felt immersed in this fantasy world Melissa Grey has created.
Overall, a really great book that fans of fantasy would enjoy. I give The Girl at Midnight 4 stars! :)