The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Goodreads 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.
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, 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 straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
First Impressions (cover design): The cover made more sense to me after reading the book. The Avicen and Drakharin are both depicted with fire (the Firebird) between them. I imagine the black smoke design is meant to illustrate the In-Between, the space used to travel from one destination to the other with magic.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this! Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I love all of the imagination and thought that goes into creating different species, their relationships (with each other, as well as other species and humans), plots that can do anything and go anywhere, etc.
That said, I didn't feel that The Girl at Midnight was very original. It felt much too similar to one of my favorite YA fantasies, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I've also seen it compared to City of Bones, but I've not read that novel yet. The Avicen vs Drakharin battle felt all too similar to the Angel vs Chimara war. And, SPOILER, Echo being the Firebird and having Rose kind of hang out in her mind was so eerily similar to Karou discovering she was Madrigal and remembering Madrigal's life.
There were some big differences though, the main one being that The Girl at Midnight does not end in a fury of anger and sadness the way Daughter of Smoke and Bone does. If anything, it's the opposite: there is a sense of hope that Echo will somehow be able to bring peace to the two battling species.
This novel also feels much...younger. Karou is 18 and Echo is 17, but Echo seems more immature and less experienced than Karou. Maybe it's just the way the book is written. Regardless, I had a hard time picturing Echo and Ivey being 17 year olds. In the same age vein, MORE SPOILERS, I could not get past the Echo/Caius relationship. He is 250 years old! She is 17! I get that he doesn't look that old, but...ugh. I thought their ages were referenced a lot, too, which made the squick factor higher.
I did enjoy the diversity among the characters, though. We have Drakharin in relationships with Avicen, Avicen/Human, Drakharin/Human, etc. There are even characters that are gay (and maybe bisexual) and explores the uncovering of repressed feelings. Two thumbs up for that!
Conclusion: I give it 3 / 5 stars. Add it to your Goodreads TBR list.
I realize now that I maybe complained about the book quite a bit, but I really did like it. I mean, it's similar to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, yes, but I LOVE that book/series. I'm excited to see where The Girl at Midnight goes in the second book, which is called The Shadow Hour and comes out July 2016.
Side note: This is my first book review since the days of elementary school book reports. I hope it's not terrible! Also, I couldn't decide how vague I should be with the plot and spoilers. I feel like I sort of have to talk about particular things in a review, right? Or am I doing this all wrong?