Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey Review #88

Author: Melissa Grey
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 357
Source: Amazon Canada 
Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository/ Chapters/Indigo 
Rating: 3.8 
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.
The one aspect of The Girl at Midnight that captivated me the most, while reading, was the use of foreign words (example : tsundoku and callipygian). The words were so beautifully interwoven into the novel and reflected the adventure Echo and her friends faced while travelling to different parts of the world (Japan, New York and Taipei to name a few).

Grey's novel, I admit, took me a while to get hooked onto (maybe about 200 pages in I was addicted) and the ending was fabulously done. The ending had just enough action and excitement that you could not put the book done. I literally ploughed through 150 pages in one sitting.

Echo's world mixes real life settings with paranormal atmospheres (think The Mortal Instrument series) and was well built. I, as a reader, had no trouble understanding the Avicen and Drakharin myth and why they were at war with one another. The world Melissa Grey built was easy to get lost into and I was constantly cheering for Echo and the team. My only complaint is that I wished the Avicen were better described. I had a hard time with picturing what they looked like.

Echo was a well developed character. She goes from feeling like an outsider within the Avicen to belonging to a family of her own. I loved both Echo's rebelliousness and snarky-ness. Echo's troubled past is hinted at in the first book and I hope we, as readers, learn more in the sequel.

Echo, in the first half of the book, is dating Rowan. Rowan is an Avicen and a Warhawk so his loyalty is, obviously, torn in half. A part of him wants to be faithful (and protective) towards Echo and the other half wants to follow through on his duties of being a Warhawk. Eventually Echo falls in love with Caius. Rowan and Echo's relationship do not overshadow Caius and Echo's relationship which is nice. However, I would have liked to seen more of Rowan interacting with Echo because he felt more like a background character in Echo's life.

My favourite characters were: Dorian, Jasper and Ivy. I absolutely loved how these three interacted with one another and was excited whenever a chapter containing the three came up. I definitely thought of Alec, Magnus and Jace's relationship (from The Mortal Instruments) while reading about Caius, Jasper and Dorian's relationship.  I really liked Ivy's and Dorian's relationship. Chapters were told in different character's POV. This allowed the readers to see both Dorian's and Ivy's perspectives on certain events. Dorian is angered and traumatized over events that have happened in his past and takes it out on Ivy who eventually forgives him (even though what Dorian did was horrendous) because staying angry or acting meaner brings about no end.

Due to the multiple character views the readers learn Caius's true identity way before Echo does. I think it would have been neat and a great plot twist to seen the readers learn Caius's true identity the same time Echo does.

The big plot twist at the end wasn't that shocking however, it was nicely done and made the book more interesting.

Overall: I really enjoyed The Girl at Midnight especially the last half of the book. I am looking forward to the sequel :D


Anonymous said...

While you enjoyed the use of foreign words, that may be my downfall, even if it is done well. I started another series that interjected foreign words and the first book ended up being a DNF.

Baggins said...

I just bought this book and I'm so looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing your review! You've made me all the more eager to get to it. :-)

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

From the synopsis, I thought this book sounded a bit too much like The Mortal Instruments (which I didn't like) and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (which I LOVED). But your review gave me a bit more insight to the book, and I think I might have to pick it up! Great review, and thanks for visiting my blog recently!

Monster of Books said...

@Andrea :D the second half definitely reminded me of TMI in some ways. I have not read Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I cannot compare. However, I have heard people, in other reviews, compare the first half to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the second half to TMI. :D

Maria Behar said...

You know, as I was reading your review, I was thinking that this sounded a LOT like "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". Then I came over to the comments, and saw that Andrea had the same impression! Yes, it does sound a bit too much like Laini Taylor's book. I haven't read The Mortal Instruments series yet (I know, something must be wrong with, so I really can't judge whether or not this book resembles those in the series. While the characters in this one sound awesome, I think I'll pass; I don't like to read books with plots similar to those of other books. "So many books, so little time!"

LOVED your detailed review. Great job!! : )

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