Title: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Published by: Delacorte Press
Publication date: April 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Summary 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, 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.
She had gone to the library in search of hope, but what she’d found instead was a child. It would take her many years to realize that the two were not so different.
After I finish a book I sometimes have this urgent moment when I feel like I have to start a new story right away. I think about what I’m going to read, but nothing appeals, and that’s when I realize what I really want to read is more of the book I just finished. The Girl at Midnight is one of those books. I want to know what’s next for Echo and the world of the Avicen and Drakharin. I liked the characters. I liked the metamorphosis. I liked the relationships. I like how the characters transport to all sorts of interesting places around the world. I couldn’t be happier that there’s more to explore there, and that’s a sign of an entertaining book.
I expect a heroine to be strong, brave, and resourceful, but I love that Echo is also intelligent, loyal, and funny. Maybe I just like her because she lives in a library…seriously, that’s my girl. Echo collects words like she collects “shiny things” being the thief she is, but mostly keeps the words to herself in a running mental commentary. And she’s cheeky, using humor to deflect tension and nerves. She loves the feathered Avicen who have become her family, so much so she risks her life chasing a possible fairy tale. That’s why her feelings are so conflicted when she meets Caius, a Drakharin (the Avicen’s mortal enemy) on a mission for peace.
“I hear you have something of mine, Echo,” the Drakharin said. “I would like it back.” …
Caius is the stoic Dragon Prince, ruler over the Drakharins. He’s centuries old, cares about his people, but feels compelled to end the ongoing war between them and the Avicens and establish peace. He believes the Firebird is the answer. When a human girl intersects his plans, Echo surprises him by being interesting (not an easy feat for someone who’s lived as long as Caius). Despite his growing personal interest in Echo, he quickly realizes she’s integral to his mission. Caius and his Commander-in-Chief Dorian (Drakharins), along with Echo and her best friend Ivy (Avicen), and a wild-card, narcissistic Avicen thief named Jasper make the unlikely partners on a mission to change their world.
Caius and Echo make an unlikely pair, especially considering the age difference, but Echo has an old soul and she breaths life back into his war-torn heart. The romance part of the book moved a little quickly, but I also enjoyed watching these two get to know each other. I have some major concerns with the third party in their relationship, and I’m curious what that will mean for them in the next book. Echo and Ivy are fiercely protective of one another. I loved how these two knew just what to say or do to help and comfort the other. Dorian and Jasper make an entertaining pair. Jasper has a crush on the Drakharin and his determination to break down Dorian’s walls is “better than TV” like Ivy privately observes. In the end, prejudices are broken, truces are made, and all of their lives are changed.
Would I let my teen read this book?
An adventure story with compelling characters and a creative, epic mythology: The Girl at Midnight is a fantasy any teen will enjoy. At its heart are themes about family, trust, and sacrifice—worthy of discussing. There is some language and violence, along with romantic relationships between heterosexuals and homosexuals, for these reasons I’ve recommended this book for everyone 16 and older. See the specifics below.
Age recommendation: 16
Language – Moderate – Echo has a little bit of a mouth
Drugs & Alcohol— None
Sex – Several kisses; Sex is alluded to in a flashback with one couple
Violence – Knife and sword violence – several people are stabbed; torture is alluded to with few details; several people are burned to death
My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.