Saturday, May 23, 2015

Review: The Girl at Midnight

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight, #1
Released: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Atom
Length: 361 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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. 

It has been pointed out far too many times that The Girl at Midnight shares many similarities with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Some might consider this to be a compliment and an instant recommendation, but for me, it was a sign that I should consider very carefully before reading it. But while it was clear right from the start that the stories do indeed share many elements, it was also clear to me that The Girl at Midnight lacks that pretentiousness I strongly disliked in Taylor’s books.

The world of Avicen and Drakharin is a magical, but dangerous place. I loved discovering these two cultures hidden beneath our own, learning about their customs and bonds, their friendships and sacrifices. With so many things borrowed from authors like Laini Taylor and Cassandra Clare, The Girl at Midnight has very little originality to offer, but these two cultures, one with feathers and the other with scales, certainly work in its favor.

I liked Echo right from the start, her feisty personality made me root for her in every situation. She made some bad decisions and some impressively brave ones, she had regrets and she made sacrifices, but she approached everything with the best of intensions and she followed her heart at all times, even when it lead her somewhere completely unexpected.

Although important, romance isn’t at the forefront of this story, which is good because it came very close to ruining it completely. There are far too many love triangles to count, too many infatuations to keep track of, and the whole thing is a huge incestuous mess that made me very uneasy. It was hard to get invested in something that was problematic on two different sides, and even secondary romances had far too many problems to count.

Grey’s writing is elegant and pretty, capable of evoking the right emotion at the right time. Her sentences aren’t overly decorative, but their fluency is excellent and it is very easy to separate all the narrative voices. If she can separate her story from others that came before it and find her own original path, she might just be an author destined for greatness.

The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but it also doesn’t feel like an ending at all. If feels more like a beginning, a promise of thing to come, adventures even more dangerous and exciting for Echo, Caius and their small group of dreamers. A dangerous road lies ahead and I’m excited to be taking it with Melissa Grey and her wonderful characters.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I have an eARC of this one and I think I should pick it up very soon! I personally haven't read Laini Taylor's trilogy so I can't compare much while reading, which I think will be a good thing! I'm excited to read Grey's writing, although I'm a little wary about the love triangles you mentioned. How many can there be?! Nevertheless, I'm really glad you enjoyed this one and are continuing with the series. Lovely review, Maja!

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this all its borrowed plot elements. I really think that the combination and her added magic worked and meshed well. :)

  3. I'm really glad to hear you loved this one! Good to be warned about the complexly weird romances, but glad that they're rather secondary to the rest of the story too.
    I have a signed copy coming and I just cannot wait!!

  4. Intriguing but I will wait for book 2 ;)

  5. So many people have liked this, I really do need to read it.

  6. Like you, I saw the comparisons between this and Laini Taylor's work and completely dismissed this one. I'm a huge fan of Daughter of Smoke & Bone so I didn't think this would work for me but from the way you've described it, I think I would really enjoy this one. I'm definitely going to be giving it a shot. Thanks for your honest and convincing review, Maja! :)

  7. I haven't even read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet so if I did read this one I wouldn't be able to compare. It sounds like a very fun story. I love stories of another world going on around us that humans don't even know about.

  8. It's good that the romance isn't at the forefront because it sounds like a messy business. Hopefully that will resolve in the coming book and won't be dragged out. I'm one of the few that wasn't a huge fan of Laini Taylor, I never read past the first book in that series. I liked the first half of the book but the second half ruined the book for me. I don't like overly flowery prose when it distracts from the story or slows the plot down either. Glad to hear this author had thr right balance and that you enjoyed this story. Fab review, Maja! :)

  9. I just bought this as an audiobook, can't wait to start it. So it wasn't Mafi where I put my foot in my mouth most aggrievedly - it was Taylor! Aha! Gotcha. No more mentioning the unmentionable in the future, cross my heart :)

    1. Not really! I mean, I can see the appeal, I'm just not a fan myself. But I am a fan of heated bookish discussions! ;)

  10. I'm happy you liked this one more than me, Maja. I just found this too similar to Daughter of Smoke and Bone for my liking, and didn't really feel the characterization was that great either.

  11. Well now, I personally adore the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, and I have to wonder if those similarities might really bother me... I don't know, I could see it going both ways. I might appreciate the character and writing enough to overcome the seeming derivativeness of it.

  12. I have yet to read this book, but I think it's great that while the book took elements from two generally well-loved series, it managed to combine them in a way to make it a fresh, enjoyable premise.

  13. I'm glad you went forward and tried a Girl at Midnight and found some wonderful aspects to make you curious enough to continue, Maja! I love a good romance as you know, but I'm glad it was in the background in this one. I adored the writing, that's one aspect that attracted me so much to the story. I want more, lol.
    Wonderful review :)


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