The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
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.
In Melissa Grey's The Girl at Midnight, readers are treated to lyrical writing, highly atmospheric settings and a heroine on the sassy side.
Every since I laid eyes on The Girl at Midnight's cover, I've lusted for the book. The premise just called out to me with its fairy tale like story of a modern girl caught up in a war between two magical races. Echo, our feisty-pickpocket heroine, is adopted and raised by a race of mythic like creatures known as the Avicen who have feathers for hair and magic in their veins. An ancient war brews between the Avicen and their enemy the Drakharin, a fierce dragonlike race, and threatens to expose both. When Echo stumbles upon a clue about the legendary Firebird prophesied to end the war between the two races, she seizes the chance to prove her worth to the Avicen. A quest that is filled with danger, magic and romance.
The Girl at Midnight swept me up in a world where the mundane and mythic run side by side. Set in an underground world below the streets of New York is a hidden world of the birdlike race, the Avicen. An enchantment, of course, hides them from prying human eyes. All except Echo who has been taken in by one of their Council of Elders members. Echo has a lovely habit of taking things, a pickpocket. Melissa Grey does a wonderful job whisking the reader to far-off locations as Echo uses a magical substance known as Shadow dust, which lands her in various exotic realms where new treasures await her nimble hands. Woven through the story is a strong sense of mythic fairy-tale like quality as a prophecy of the Firebird is unraveled as well the Avicen and Drakharin unique mythologies.
Echo is a fun heroine to follow. Clever, loyal and with a bent for sarcastic humor, she is a joy to read about. This plucky heroine undertakes a quest to help save the Avicen and I couldn't help but root for her. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the alternating POVS from the other characters as well. Caius plays the dark, tortured hero well, and as a Drakharin-the enemy, both draws and repels Echo. As the quest for the Firebird ensues, we discover the story of a star-crossed romance, the heartbreak of an unrequited one, and the surprising forms love and friendship can take on. There's a bloodthirsty-bitch of a villain to look forward to, and answers to the Firebird legend to thrill you.
The Girl at Midnight ended up enchanting me with its writing and fairy-tale quality. The story has many similar aspects that would appeal to readers of Laini Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" yet, manages to stay true to its own unique voice and story. The ending leads the reader to ponder what's next for this feisty heroine and her new and unlikely alliances. I can't wait to find out myself and look forward to much more of Melissa Grey's magical world of the Avicen and Drakharin, and the heroine who finds her place amongst them.
My Rating: 4 Stars. I really liked it!
PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Delacorte Press in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Delacorte Press for the review opportunity!