The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Rating: 5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This book was an absolute pleasure to read. It was one of those books that reminded me why I love reading so much. I lost myself in this world, in these characters. I took each word in slowly and held them to my chest. I relished these words and this story and I fell wholly in love with every piece of it. Melissa Grey is a debut author to have on your radar. She’s going to be big, guys.
I loved the way that this story blended fantasy with pop culture. I loved the little reminders throughout the story that our main character, Echo, is human. But I also LOVED the fantasy element. What a unique world Melissa has created. A race of bird-like people called the Avicen and a race of dragon-like people called the Drakharin. Those names are totally badass aren’t they? Anyway, these two races have been at war for centuries and a few people believe in something called the firebird that can stop the war for good. So Echo gets sent on a mission to find the firebird and of course, craziness ensues.
The characters were all amazing. I loved how bold and snarky Echo was. She was flippant and did whatever she wanted. She was brave in the face of danger and/or certain death. She wasn’t particularly strong and wasn’t some badass warrior, but she had such a tough and distinct personality that I instantly fell in love with her. And with every other character, Caius, Dorian, Ivy, Jasper, the Ala. Loved every single one of them. They are all so well fleshed out and so real. All flawed, but all good people. I loved seeing each and every one of them learn and grow throughout this story.
The pacing is excellent, fast, but not too fast. Enough lulls and quiet moments to appreciate what was going on and let it sink in. Enough information woven into the story to have a solid grasp on the background/world. I loved the scavenger hunt type feel that this book had. And the whole museum theme it had going on totally made think of National Treasure. Which was awesome.
But aside from all these wonderful things, my favorite part of this book was the writing. Oh. My. Gosh. This is some of the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. Melissa Grey can freaking write. I was reading this book and thinking about my own WIP and I kept thinking “how the hell is my work ever going to get published when there’s writing like this in the world?” It was just stunning. Gorgeous. I loved how Echo memorized all these words that meant completely amazing things. Like tsundoku: the Japanese word for letting books pile up without reading them all. If that doesn’t speak to my book hoarding heart, I don’t know what does. But there were lots of other words like that that meant the coolest things. And just tons of beautiful, quotable lines within these pages. If nothing else, read this book for the sheer beauty of the writing. I promise, you will be sticky-noting/dog-earring/whatever you do to mark places in books the crap out of this one.
A richly imaginative, stunningly written fantasy story filled with characters that will worm their way into your heart and stay forever. The Girl at Midnight is a book you won’t want to miss.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think?