Published: April 28th, 2015 by Delacorte Press
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 read this right after finishing that one incredibly hyped book that I hated, so I was definitely nervous for this one. Thankfully, I knew within the first few pages that this was going to be so much better for me.
I finished The Girl at Midnight very quickly compared to how I've been reading lately. The writing is absolutely gorgeous without being so full of unnecessary details that it bogs you down. And I love the world it's set in - it's a hidden facet of our own that felt quite mystical and was, of course, written just right.
The highlight of this book, though, was definitely the heroine, Echo. She's so snarky and wonderful. And it's not that fake kind of snark that feels forced - she's genuinely funny. After growing up as a human amidst the Avicen, though, she pretty much had to grow a sarcastic bubble around her. I enjoyed her so, so much.
And the secondary characters were almost as enjoyable, particularly the teasing thief, Jasper. More importantly, it didn't really feel like any of the characters were just there to check off the "secondary character" box. They all had their own dimensions and no one fell flat. (And okay, I REALLY REALLY LOVED JASPER.) I'm excited to see more of them in the next book, particularly Dorian as he'll likely have to move on from . . . well. You know.
I do wish that the adventure to find the Firebird hadn't been so straight and narrow, though. They were very quickly able to find each subsequent clue, and it seemed a bit too easy to me. Sure, they had some others on their tail, but all they really had to do was read a little poem and BAM - they knew where to go and what to do, basically.
And my biggest problem came from the result of the Rose storyline and what it means for Caius and Echo. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't read it, but I'm just . . . not into that. It stresses me out, because nothing between them is really going to feel genuine for me now, I feel like. Which is a bit sad, because I really did like them for most of the book. I think they're a very good match together, able to work as a team (and have snark-offs? Yes please.) But who knows. This book surprised me, so I believe Melissa Grey can definitely surprise me in the next book and make me believe in them again.
Anyway. I loved getting glimpses into both the Avicen and the Drakharin worlds. And, oddly enough, I loved how silly the origins of the animosity between the races seemed to be - because it's not always a huge and booming event that triggers a war. It's really not.
Overall: So. Bit of a quicky review there, but basically? I absolutely recommend this book. It's a fast read that still has gorgeous and detailed writing, which is a rare find for me. The snark is genuinely funny and had me laughing out loud a few times, the plot moves fast, and I LOVED the secondary characters. 4 stars.