Book: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight
Standing: Book 1
POV: 3rd person by mainly Echo and Caius
Setting: all over the world, present day
Genre: YA fantasy
Source: Physical copy
Release: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Favourite lines: "But war makes monsters of us all, and the people who least deserve it pay the highest cost."
"Well, maybe it's time the dreamers started calling the shots."
Rating: 5 Stars
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, 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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
I was hooked from the first chapter, because yes, I am a sucker for secret societies, especially modern fantasy stories.
This book features Echo, a pickpocket and thief, who has been taken in by the Avicen, a race of bird-like humans living in secret below New York City. Upon stealing a music box, she sets a stage of events in motion, sending her on a journey to find the legendary Firebird, the one item that can stop the raging war between the Avicen and the Dakharin.
I was enchanted by the world the Avicen lived in, and the Avicen themselves. Their world is similar to ours, but filled with flashes of colour from the Avicen themselves, and magic. I desperately wanted to venture into their world with Echo, to meet these intriguing people and befriend them. The magic of this world wasn't one of those extremely complex systems, but rather simple and clean. But at the same time, the concept of magic was left open ended enough for readers to come to their own conclusions about the limits of the magic, to wonder at the possibilities of it. I wouldn't mind having dust that could take me from any doorway literally to any other doorway in any part of the world. I absolutely loved seeing how magic was being used in the human world, completely oblivious to the humans!
One of the things that captured my attention immediately was Echo's character. She has to be one of the cleverest and snarky characters I've ever read, with a bagful of quotes and vocabulary she purposely uses to stagger others. I fell in love with her personality, her reaction on all the events. Even when faced with a daunting situation, she's able to throw in a few quips to mess with people. Some might say that she doesn't take her situations serious enough, but seeing as she's smart and is able to formulate a way out, I'd say that yes, she does take things very seriously. She just doesn't make it a habit of letting others know. Echo brings life and humour to this novel, and she's an excellent foil to all the characters.
The theme of home and belonging was a strong one. Echo struggled to find her place, as she neither belonged in the human world nor the Avicens' world. Even on her journey to finding the Firebird, she was the odd one out in her party, neither an Avicen nor a Drakharin, simply human.
I loved the side characters. They each had their own personal issues, but it never overwhelmed the main plot. One way or another, Echo brought them together, turning enemies into friends. It was really nice to see each of them try to bond with one another, however awkward their situations were for them. Dorian and Jasper in particular were awesome!
Filled with action, magic, witty banter, daring escapes, and a fast pace, I recommend this book for anyone who loves Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series. I'll definitely be looking forward to the next book, The Shadow Hour, which is set to be released late spring/early summer of 2016!