I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 9 Hours 55 Minutes
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 28th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Literary, Paranormal, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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[STAR] "Sparks fly...This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare andGame of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters...[and] a breathtaking climax that...cannot come soon enough!""—Booklist starred reviewFor readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow 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, 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.[STAR] "Grey's energetic debut offers a strong protagonist...[and the] well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel."—Kirkus Reviews,Starred"A feisty heroine, fun supporting characters, a mission to save the world, and some seriously spicy romance."—School Library Journal"Inventive, gorgeous, and epic—Grey dazzles in her debut."—Danielle Paige,New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
Why Did I Listen To This Book?
The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey has one of the most eye catching, beautiful book covers that I have seen in a long time. The purple perfectly contrasts with the white shading and there’s the night sky. Plus there is the outline of the bird and the dragon. It is a breathtaking cover and what initially attracted me to the book. Going beyond superficial things like the cover, I wanted to read Grey’s debut because of comparison to one of my favorite authors – Leigh Bardugo. When presented with the opportunity to listen to the audiobook version of The Girl At Midnight narrated by Julia Whalen, I seized the chance and found myself falling for Grey’s debut.
What’s The Story Here?
The Girl At Midnight opens with a prologue. Main character Echo is a little girl who is in the library at midnight. She has ran away from home and lives there. She sees someone wandering the library and steals something out of that person’s pocket. That person turns out to be a woman named The Ala and she’s part of a magical race called the Avicen which are these birdlike people who live under New York City. From there, Echo is essentially raised by the Avicen. She learns to use what’s called shadow powder to make escapes through thresholds and hones her thievery skills. She’s still living in the library though – now protected by Avicen magic. Her best friend is an Avicen named Ivy and she’s got a sort of crush-romance going on with one named Rowan.
Echo is tasked by The Ala with a secret mission. She must steal something for The Ala, but can’t let the Avicen know. Stealing this item puts Echo in contact with the Drakharin, which are a race of people that are dragon-like — they have scales and magic. The thing Echo must steal will help her to find the Fire Bird who can end the war between the Avicen and the Drakharin. Along the way, Echo forms a sort of ragtag team that comes together to find this Fire Bird regardless of allegiance.
What Did I Think Of Echo As A Main Character?
Echo is great! She actually reminded me a little bit of Karou from Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor – in that both girls are bold, world travelers who will do what it takes to save those they love. I liked that Echo has this past that we don’t really know a whole lot about except that she ran away at the age of five. I think that her past will play a role in future books. Another comparison for Echo would probably be Han Solo – she’s kind of confident like he is when it comes to stealing.
How Is The Romance?
You will LOVE The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey if you are the sort of young adult reader who likes opposites attract romance. This book has a slow burn romance. At first Echo hates the person that she gets together with, however, over time that hate turns into something else and the two realize they have the same goal. There’s this undeniable attraction between them. The romance is quite the captivating subplot — seeing as how her love interest is still traumatized by his previous relationship where his last girlfriend died in a fire.
How Is The World Building?
Melissa Grey creates a world in The Girl At Midnight that is lush and evocative. I loved learning about the different cultures of the Avicen and the Drakharin. For instance, the Drakharin elect a leader that they call their prince regardless of gender. They live for a very long time. The Avicen call their military warhawks which makes total sense. And then there is the magic! And the mythology behind the Fire Bird. This is one richly imagined world.
What Did I Think Of The Narration?
Julia Whalen, same narrator from Gone Girl narrates The Girl At Midnight. She does a wonderful job. Her voice has quite the range. She’s not at all boring to listen to. I found myself looking forward to listening to this book during my commutes because Whalen is a fantastic narrator. This book is produced by Listening Library. It is 9 hours and 55 minutes long and totally worth your Audible credit.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Those feathers though. And the joy from how awesome this book is!