The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
Book One of The Girl At Midnight series
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
This book was BEAUTIFUL. Inside and out. I loved the feel of this story, the amazing world-building, the likable characters, the story itself. So many things worked in this book. So many things worked for me, and I really, really enjoyed this one.
Echo is human, but she lives with the Avicen, creatures with feathers for hair, basically humans with bird-like qualities. They can do magic easily, whereas it takes a lot out of Echo to do magic (she's human). Echo is a thief, and she enjoys thieving. One day, Echo is sent to steal something that will help lead to the Firebird, a mythical thing that contains great power, and could lead to the end of the war between the Avicen and the Drakharin (dragon-like creatures that appear to look like humans; they can't fly, but they are skilled warriors and magic-wielders). She succeeds in obtaining the object, only to be thrown into the path of a powerful Drakharin who is unwelcome in Drakharin lands. Echo, Caius (a Drakharin; the Dragon Prince), Dorian (a Drakharin; Caius's loyal guard), Ivy (Echo's best friend; healer apprentice), and Jasper (a peacock Avicen; a guy who owes Echo a favor) must find the Firebird before the Drakharin - or the Avicen - find it first.
For the most part, I liked Echo. She's snarky and a bit sarcastic, and turns everything into a joke. I like her humor. I'm not like that, but I could definitely be around her in small or large doses, and enjoy her company. Echo is hilarious, but she's also dedicated and pretty clever.
Caius is extremely intelligent, astute, hardworking, selfless, loyal, fierce... and sweet. He's the Dragon Prince, recently usurped by his twin sister, Tanith. She's cruel and heartless, and doesn't want the war to end. Caius wants the war to end. When Tanith takes his seat of power from under him, he flees, and works with Echo to find the Firebird. An unlikely team of two Avicen, two Drakharin, and a human. Caius is my favorite character of the book, because of his strength of character and personality. He is hundreds of years old, but unlike some people (*cough* Edward Cullen *cough*), Caius possesses a timeless quality, maturity and intelligence that I respected and liked a lot.
The secondary characters were a joy to follow. Seriously, the secondary characters add additional humor to the book. Jasper is always teasing Dorian, making him blush or look away gruffly. Dorian is very conflicted about a lot of things, including how he treated Ivy, who was a prisoner of the Drakharin, under Tanith's orders. Ivy is a sweet character, a healer in training, which coming in handy several times throughout the book.
The story definitely has a Daughter of Smoke and Bone vibe to it. I've seen some people complain about this, and others praise it. I personally think it's great; the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is so distinctive, and I don't think anything could come close to it, in terms of story and style. This book has the same feel to it, which I think is a very good thing.
The world-building is wonderful! This book is fantasy set in the modern world. There are bird people! There are dragons who can no longer fly! There is a war that has been going on for centuries! There is a mythical thing that could end it all (I was thinking "the one ring to rule them all", and Echo took the words out of my mouth at one point! Maybe we're more similar than I previously thought). Bits and pieces aren't super original, but put together, the entire story is really imaginative and fun and exhilarating.
I loved the story - there are many layers to it, with many characters and many subplots. But not so many that you get lost, or certain subplots get underdeveloped. The story is told in third person, usually from Echo's point-of-view, but also at times from Caius's, Ivy's, Dorian's, and I think Jasper's too (though I'm not certain). I like third person, so I didn't mind so many points-of-view at all. It wasn't overwhelming, because most of the time, it was limited to Echo, anyway.
There IS romance in this book! I actually wasn't expecting that, so I was pleasantly surprised. Not sure why I wasn't expecting romance. I've seen some people complain about a love triangle. Personally, I don't see one. There is one guy, and one girl, and one guy who is sort of there but has no chance. Echo never wavers, in terms of who she feels for, in her soul and heart. One is like, a long-time infatuation. The other is a mature, deep desire and emotion and affection. If that makes sense. There's also a twisted part to the romance, which I'm wary of, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with the pair that I want to end up together. IT'S COMPLICATED, OKAY? But no love triangle. Also, no insta-love. I LOVE the romance. The banter and chemistry is slow-burn and lovely.
There is a ton of action in this book, and it doesn't stop until the very end, when the whole story is over. So much fighting and killing and escaping and swords and maps and fun things like that! The ending is satisfying, and not quite a cliffhanger, but it will leave you wanting more. Especially in terms of the romance (not in a bad way). Good thing there are two books to follow!
What I Did Not Like:
There is something about the romance that is bothering me a bit, and it's bothering Echo too (and the love interest, though I must say - he is MUCH more than a love interest). I can't say what it is without giving things away, but I really want to be sure of Echo and the guy. I want to know 100% that it's the two of them, in a budding relationship, with no past, present, or future weighing them down. It's kind of complicated, but if you read this book, you'll know what I mean. It's nothing terrible or bad, per say, but it's something that's in the back of mind, tickling my subconsciousness.
In any case, The Thing is why this book is getting 4 stars, versus 5 stars. Not the worst Thing in the world, but I'd prefer otherwise. Of course, I'm not writing the book, so I have no say in Things, but it's a preference, you know?
Would I Recommend It:
I would sooooo recommend this book, so much! Fantasy fans, fantasy non-fans, basically anyone, give this book a chance! It's got a gorgeous cover, so, if anything, at least your bookshelf will look great! But in all seriousness, this book is awesome. I don't think you'd regret reading this book, even if you absolutely hated it (which you won't, hopefully). It's worth the read, and even if this book gets super popular and over-hyped, I'd still recommend it!
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. It will still probably be a year-end favorite, because it was so good! Like, reread-worthy good. I can't wait to read the sequel!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
Great Review miss! I really enjoyed this one also although the similarities to The Mortal Instruments crept up on me after the fact (also how i ranted that they were not alike but whateves lol) I didn't see the love triangle either so im glad i am not alone in this. Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday Alyssa!!ReplyDelete
I'm glad! I didn't see too many similarities to TMI, but maybe that's because I read that series forever ago. I hope we enjoy the sequel! Thank you very much, Britt!Delete
Ooooh I have per order this book awhile back and now I'm so happy I did, Lovely Reveiw :DReplyDelete
YAY! Excellent decision, Alreem. Thank you! <3Delete
I started to read this book a few days ago, here's to hoping I like it :) I'm glad you did though! The cover is beautiful - Thank you for sharing a great reviewReplyDelete
<3 Benish | Feminist Reflections
I hope so too! Thank you, Benish!Delete
I wasn't a big fan of The Mortal Instruments or DOSAB (I only read the first book), and I can't say the cover/synopsis is drawing me in...I'll probably pass on this one for now. But I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the lovely review!ReplyDelete
I didn't see too many parallels with TMI, but maybe because I read the series so long ago. I only read the first DOSAB book as well.Delete
You're welcome - and thank YOU, Kel!
Aw, great review Alyssa :D So happy you loved this book! And yay for loving the romance too :) I'm worried about this one. It looks so gorgeous. But have heard bad things, so probably not a book for me :p But maybe one day. <3 So glad you liked it. Thank you for sharing sweetie :)ReplyDelete
Thank you! I personally wouldn't recommend it to you, because you're picky about certain things. But maybe when the series is over! I'll get back to you on that. Thank you, Carina!Delete
Noo :( now I feel sad again. Hmph. Oh, fine. Probably not a book for me then :D But it is so pretty. Hmph. How mean :)Delete
Don't be sad! I bet if you binge-read the books back to back to back, you won't be disappointed at all! Of course, I obviously can't speak for books two and three... but hopefully they are amazing as well!Delete
Nick really liked this one too, and I have to admit that the authors tweets on the Cinderella movie make me want to read this one.ReplyDelete
Yay! I'm glad! And I saw her tweets too! I liked seeing her thoughts on the movie - and I especially liked when she said that her opinions were not debatable. YOU GO GIRL. That was brilliant!Delete
YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!! SO happy to hear you loved this one to much!! I'm so excited about this one, and I'm totally preordering a signed copy once I get my next paycheck!! =DReplyDelete
And I love how you explain yourself without giving things away, I'm looking forward to know what you mean about the THING! ;)
Ooo! I hope you love it, Pili! It's so lovely, I want to read it again :DDelete
And erm, I hope my disclaimer about The Thing doesn't put anyone off. I'd still recommend the book, even with The Thing! I hope it doesn't bother you too much either, Pili!
OF COURSE I've gotten spoilers, so I know exactly what you're referring to about the romance, and I'm so so wary. It seems.. ICKY to me. D: And I worry about the one's attachment to the other. :/ReplyDelete
But everything else sounds so amazing. Dragon Prince??? I'm already swooning. Ughhhh I just don't know. :(
Lovely review, girl! I'm gonna have to really think about this one.
Ahh! Then you understand! I don't think that alone should stop you from reading the book, to be honest, but I know how you are with romance :D I'm highly picky, like you, and I didn't think it was a TERRIBLE plot arc.Delete
I honestly hope you read this one, Danielle! Thank you!
Ohhh man! I should've requested this one sooner! Because I WANT IT! Haha! I've been hearing so many great things and now look at your review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the actual story and the world building! I am SUPER DUPER curious about the romance now though. Haha. Great review hun. I def will need to get this one.ReplyDelete
YOU SHOULD HAVE! If I had a print ARC, you know I'd send it to you! I hope you give it a chance, Jess! It's totally worth the read, even with my slight wariness with the romance.Delete
Thank you, Jess! <3
Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've been saving your review to visit after I got mine published so here I am! Late but whatever :-) I really loved the vibe of the book as well as the magic in the real world. I hear you on that love thing too.ReplyDelete
Thank you! Not late at all! I hope we both enjoy the sequel :DDelete
Gongoozler an idle spectator , thank you for the giveaway.ReplyDelete
Ooo, you're welcome!Delete