The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1)
Published: April 28, 2015 (Delacorte Press)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
At the age of seven Echo, a runaway, was brought into the magical world of the Avicen, a race of bird-like people who dwell beneath the streets of New York. Used to stealing in order to survive on her own, Echo likes the new sense of home and family she now has. Being the only human in their Nest, Echo knows she can never truly fit in, but she’ll definitely fight to keep what she has.
Unfortunately, the Avicen have long been at war with the Drakharins (think dragon-like people). A war gone on so long no one can remember what started it. Echo hopes that looking for and finding the Firebird will show any naysayers that she belongs with the Avicen. Unfortunately, Echo isn’t quite prepared for the all the complications that arise during her quest.
I loved the imagery of the Avicen with their feathers for hair and eyes and skin coinciding with that of the bird they are, but I had problems actually envisioning them walking around the streets of New York even with hats and glasses and gloves covering their features. Likewise I loved the Drakharin imagery with their iridescent scales highlighting different parts of their bodies.
Echo’s quest immediately reminded me of The DaVinci Code complete with a trip to the Louvre. I liked the idea of following maps and clues around the world in order to get to that final mythical artifact. There’s a lot of build up in the story before we get to this part though.
For all that Echo is only seventeen she comes across as much older, and this stems from having to grow up fast at such a young age. All her bravado and snarkiness, however, cannot really hide her vulnerabilities. Her age becomes very apparent when Drakharin Prince, Caius, forces his way into Echo’s search.
There were times I liked Caius more than Echo. You can tell that he’s a man of his word in that he truly wants the war to end. He wants peace and not at the expense of either race. In his 250 years he’s lost the most important thing in his life because of the war.
I think this is why the attraction between Caius and Echo didn’t work for me at first—it got better towards the end. For all that Echo is mature beyond her years, Caius is still hundreds of years older than her. Melissa Grey does throw in an interesting turn of events in regards to their developing relationship, and I’m curious to see where things lead.
Despite all the things I liked about the book, the main problem for me was I felt like it was told in snippets and vignettes. This comes across in the search for the Firebird. Everything is just too coincidental and happens too easily for Echo and those that accompany her. I really felt like the main purpose of the book was a means to get ready for the remainder of the trilogy.
A Girl at Midnight has been one of my more anticipated debuts this year so far. While still being a good story, and still keeping my attention, I think it may suffer from the first-book-in-a-series blight in that this whole book has been the set-up for what is going to happen next. Fortunately, I really do want to find out what “next” is.
Sexual content: Kissing