I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight,
Published by Delacorte Press on 2015-04-28
Length: 357 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
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.
What a ride!!!! The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey is the urban fantasy I’ve been waiting for all year. It embodies all I love about the genre and at the same time remains unique. Following the story of a young girl as she navigates the world of the Avicen and Drakharin, The Girl at Midnight is non-stop action and suspense with a little teenage girl humor thrown in.
Echo is one of my new favorite characters!! A runaway taken in by the Ala at 7, she is now 17 and still running. She trusts few people and those she does trust, she is fiercely loyal too. She loves her “family” with abandon and will stop at nothing to protect them. When the Ala tasks her with finding the Firebird, a mythical object that can stop the war between the Avicen and Drakharin, Echo doesn’t question her, she just sets out to find it. That is who Echo is at her heart. What makes her absolutely lovable though is the transformation she goes through during the book. She starts out a bit on the selfish side, she’s a thief, and a girl who has never fit in. By the end though that all changes 😀
It was one thing both sides agreed on. They fought. They died. They left no trace for human eyes.
The Avicen and the Drakharin fascinate me! They are the magical/fantastical elements in the story. The Avicen are (for lack of better description) bird people. They vary from looking like full birds to half-human. Where they should have hair is feathers, their eyes are large and birdlike, and their coloring varies as much as the avian population from simple whites to multi-colored peacocks. Honestly this race that Grey has created is beautiful and the imagery used to describe them is so vivid that I wasn’t left with any doubt on how they should look.
The Drakharin are dragons. Yep you read that right…dragons!!! Yet they are not your typical dragons. These dragons look like humans, they lost their ability to change form millennia ago, but what denotes them as dragons is the scattering of scales on their temples and cheeks, their eyes, and some of them their magical properties. Honestly they are a bit scary! The Avicen and Drakharin have been a war so long that neither side really remembers why, and now Echo in her search for the mythical Firebird is in the middle of it.
When she told the Ala she would take on the Dragon Prince himself if she had to, she’d been trading in pure hyperbole. The universe was being entirely too literal for her liking.
The Dragon Prince Caius is also on the hunt for the Firebird and he happens to be my second favorite character 😀 Caius is weary of battle and war. He wants the killing on both sides to end, he wants to live in peace. The Drakharins scoff his efforts at finding the Firebird so he enlists his most trusted friend to help him: Dorian. When a set of events bring he and Echo together, they have trust each other despite their natural instincts to dislike the other. It’s interesting and full of tension!
So. Here we are. A flame-throwing thief, a deposed prince, an apprentice healer, an ex-royal guard, and a career scoundrel taking on a war on two fronts.
Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better read than this! It is full of everything I love: action, suspense, a tiny bit of romance (so tiny I debated even mentioning it), characters that are believable, and a world unlike any of I’ve ever read. The writing is delicious with vivid imagery and a snarky main character to bring a little comedic relief during the heavy moments. Plus (can you hear the bit of squeal in my voice) the author alternates POV among several characters giving you a comprehensive look at each and lending some…or a lot….of irony to the plot. If you enjoy urban fantasy and young adult, I highly recommend you pick up this book as your next read!