Book reviews · books · review · YA Books

Book Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

I do apologise for my absence lately, I have no excuses, just apologies.

girlatmidnight“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. S
o 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.”

An ancient war between mystical, magical races and a human girl stuck in the middle? This has ‘Jemmer’ written all over it. And honestly, what’s not to like? The Avicen are magical bird-people, colourful and feathery and secretive and the Drakharin are magical dragon-people, scaley and cold and also secretive, they hate each other because… reasons. I think it specifically says that the war has been going on for so long that no one can actually remember what it’s about, but basically the Drakharin blame the Avicen for the waning amount of magic in the world. Anyway, Echo is an orphan foundling who lives with the Avicen and for plot is sent to hunt down the legendary Firebird, a being said to be able to end the war. Unfortunately, the Drakharin prince is after it as well.

There are lots of reviews on Goodreads comparing this book to Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) and City of Bones (Cassandra Clare), I haven’t read Smoke and Bone, so I can’t comment on that, but I see the similarities with City of Bones; they are mostly character based. I said this while I was reading it, two of the characters are basically just Magnus and Alec but with more page time, and yet, I don’t hate this book as much as I hate other books where I can point out such similar plot points. It’s actually very good. The characters are believable, fleshed out and not completely 2 dimensional. The story is an adventure first and that is, I think, why I like it. There are plenty of plot twists and action sequences and it crosses more genres than you’d imagine, from magic and underground wars to museum heists and military coups, there is something for everyone!

Things I like about this book:

  • Adventure first, romance second, not the other way around.
  • No instalove.
  • A love of words and reading is present throughout.
  • An american book that describes making tea and doesn’t make me want to throw it away in disgust.

Things I don’t like about this book:

  • The relationships are VERY similar to those in The Mortal Instruments.

Basically, this is a very well written, well thought out adventure story, full of magic and other worlds and all those things we love to read about and I actually do recommend it to anyone who likes reading fantasy. Lots of stories have bits that were taken from other places and adapted to meet their new purpose, this is no exception, but in this case it’s done extremely well and you shouldn’t let it put you off.

4 stars for brilliance, I’ll definitely read the sequel.

4/5 ****

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