Book Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Monday, April 27, 2015
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: The Girl at Midnight
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight #1
Publication Date: April 28th 2015

Synopsis: "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 borers 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."

My thoughts: I will be honest here and say that I finished reading this book quite a while ago, but it took me a long time to figure out my emotions surrounding it.
There is no denying that it is a wonderful read - a new world to explore, bird people, dragon people, even normal human people, what more could you possibly want? The characters are intriguing and flawed, which only makes them more intriguing, and I found myself drawn in despite opening the book with the subconscious thought that I was going to be delving into another YA fantasy romance 'like all the others' (I am not sure why I was thinking this at the time, as I said earlier I had some emotions to work through).
I think perhaps I read this at a time when I was still feeling a little depleted from the Aurealis Awards reading, and for that I can only apologise to this book, as it made me a little reluctant to get involved with its story. But then, at the very beginning of Chapter Two, I found myself loving the style of the writing, the creation of the main character, Echo, and the worlds she moves between.

I loved Echo's little personality traits - the ones that were kind of idly part of her, not completely in your face. She has a love of specific words and collects them like sweet candies, and she has a past that she prefers to forget because of its darkness, rather than in spite of it. As the story went on, it was Echo herself that kept me coming back for more and, while she made some decisions that I would deem a little too reckless, a little too questionable, I still never found myself wanting to abandon her mid-story.

The world that Grey has created here has echoes (pun not really intended...) of other book worlds, hidden as it can be, but it still offers something new to the palate. The bird people and their differing markings, depending on what bird they are more related to, and how this affects their personalities - this was fascinating and rather gleeful to read. The explanation of the war also intrigued me rather than repulsing me on sight.

However, I will mention that a few of the decisions and concepts introduced in this book had me either wincing or biting my lip in confusion - things occasionally were a little too difficult for me to follow, and I found myself wanting to shake some of the characters a little to get them to make a little more sense.

Overall, I found myself pretty enchanted with this book. The beautiful cover only adds to its charm.

I received an ARC of this book from Hachette. (thank you!)

You would like this book if: you enjoy new fantasy world, with fascinating characters; you love a main character with a smart mouth and the odd quirk or two.

Rating:  8/10

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