Series: The Girl at Midnight #1
Published by Delacorte Press on April 28, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo'sShadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.
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.
The Girl at Midnight was an enjoyable read with interesting characters and two ancient fantasy races that seem like they have always been at war. Both races are humanoid but one is based on dragons, the Drahkarin and the other on birds, the Avicen. These different yet similar races were the best part of the book for me.
The story at large
It mostly follows Echo who is a teenage human girl that was adopted when she was 7 by The Ala, one of the oldest of the Avicen. She is sent in search of the prophesied firebird that is supposedly capable of stopping the war.
What went right
– ancient races at war, the Drahkarin and Avicen races background had me really curious and aching for more information
– cool sounding history and magic, oh and teleport magic! They visited various places around the world – but I needed more
– fun quirky characters where we have some diversity, portrayed thru feather color, skin tone as well as sexual orientation
– an appreciation for books, libraries and occasionally Echo would think of strange words that had almost poetic meanings (I really enjoyed the words and their meanings)
What the story really was
Angst, romance and oh some more angst. Your beautiful eyes, shiny scales, lustrous feathers….half smile. I could go on. I’m not kidding you when I say I drew a little spiderweb connecting all the eyes that were made between or at various characters. At least it wasn’t the typical triangle we frequently see rolled out in many YA novels. And I could even believe it possible since everybody has the hots for somebody else when you’re a teenager, BUT! two of these guys are supposed to be over 250 years old. So I’m sad to say the plot suffers heavily due to all of the romance.
Where’d it go wrong?
– the tangled web of romance and googley eyes. View Spoiler »Echo to Rowan and Caius. Caius to Echo. Rowan to Echo. Ruby to Rowan. Dorian to Caius and Jasper and who knows maybe Ivy too? Ivy to Dorian maybe? « Hide SpoilerSee what I mean?!
– the too predictable plotline. It was much too obvious what was going to happen with Echo, the Dragon Prince Caius, his sister and his lost love and the firebird
– personally, and I’m sure many readers won’t have a problem with this point at allView Spoiler » because a firebird aka phoenix is all about death and rebirth, but to me there are certain states of being that I view as final outside of a video game. Death is one of them. If the sacrifice ultimately means nothing, I'd we as readers don't fear it then the impact is unfortunately lost. « Hide Spoiler
I believe many young adult readers will likely love The Girl at Midnight. And despite some of its pitfalls I did enjoy the book and it’s characters.