Release Date: 4/28/2015
17-year-old Echo has been raised by the Avicen for most of her life. This magical race of people with their beautiful birdlike feathers, have been at war with the dragonlike Drakharins for centuries. Although Echo is the ward of an Avicen council member, she is still seen as an outsider by some because she is human. Then she comes across a clue which could lead to the Firebird, a legendary creature which is rumored to be able to put an end to the war between the two races. Hopeful that if she finds it, the Avicen might finally accept her, Echo begins her quest, never dreaming that she’ll wind up partnering up with two Drakharins, and that everything she’s been told about herself, and the two feuding sides will now be called into question.
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to come across a book that from the cover, to the pages within, is simply perfect. The Girl At Midnight was like that for me. At the beginning of the novel, Echo is a pickpocket and a bit of a rebel. She has two very close Avicen friends, and her guardian Ala who loves her, but it’s obvious that apart from this small circle, she feels disconnected from the others, and seeks to prove herself. When she brings the clue to Ala who asks her to go on this perilous quest to seek out the Firebird, Echo shows no sign of hesitation. Aiding her is her best friend Ivy, a fellow thief named Jasper, and after a bit of a rocky start, Caius, the leader of the Drakharin, and his friend/second-in-command Dorian. Echo and Caius slowly develop a romantic relationship, although Echo still has Rowan, her boyfriend back at home. While setting up a love triangle, it never really got annoying, mainly because Rowan was out of the picture for the majority of the book. I found Caius to be an intriguing character. He’s a centuries old prince who cares deeply for his people, yet has done some horrible things in order to protect them. The same can be said for Dorian also, who secretly loves Caius. Once Dorian meets Jasper though, well, there’s an interesting turn of events. Jasper is an amusing character who knows what and who he wants, and isn’t afraid to go after it. Dorian, while fascinated by Jasper, is much more reticent. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops. In creating this magical world, Melissa Grey does a wonderful job describing the various locations, whether it’s underneath the streets of New York where the Avicen live, Echo’ s secret room in the New York Public Library, the Louvre, Kyoto, or the realm of the Drakharin, I felt as though I was there. Connecting everything are magical portals, and even though you see these often in fantasy, the author puts a unique spin on them. And finally, the “twist” which you know is going to happen from the very beginning, is skillfully written, and still manages to be something of a surprise. I read this book in two sittings because I found it difficult to tear myself away. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series.