Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey was a book that I was really looking forward to reading. Unfortunately, while I found it entertaining due to its fast pace, the plot reminded me far too much of that of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The characters in The Girl at Midnight could have also been more fleshed out.

The protagonist of The Girl at Midnight, Echo, is a human girl who ran away from home, and is adopted by the Avicen. A skilled thief, Echo – whose appearance is never really described so you can’t picture her – is tasked to find proof that a) the mythical firebird from Avicen lore exists, and b) its location. Echo isn’t the only looking for the firebird though; Caius, a Drakharin, is too. Whichever species finds the firebird first gets to permanently decide how to end the war between the Avicen and the Drakharin.

At first, even though Echo and Caius's star-crossed attraction reminded me a bit of the attraction between Karou and Akiva, especially with Echo running around as an errand girl for another species, I wasn't too concerned. There were differences in plot; and at the time, I was more worried about the potential development of a love triangle because Echo already had an Avicen boyfriend. The ending, however, appears to be completely ripped off from Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

The Girl of Midnight resembles Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments (a series I haven't read, but have read lots of reviews and spoilers for) in some aspects as well. Although I wasn’t invested in the attraction between Echo and Caius, I was interested in a romance potentially developing between Dorian, Caius’ guard who harbours unrequited feelings for Caius, and Jasper, an Avicen. Doesn’t that sound a lot like Alec and Magnus though?

Another issue that I had with The Girl at Midnight was that the characters’ backstories could have been better developed. We’re given pieces of information about their past, but this information never appears important; it’s almost as if the characters’ pasts should just be glossed over. For example, we know that the main reason Caius wants the firebird is so that he can end the war through peaceful means rather than through violence because he was once in love with an Avicen who was then burned to death by Caius' twin sister, Tanith. What remains unclear though is how a Dragon Prince managed to meet an Avicen not just once, but multiple times in secret, and how Tanith found out about their relationship.

I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequel to The Girl at Midnight, but if I do, I hope the sequel will be more original and have better characterization. 

The Girl at Midnight will be released on April 28, 2015 by Delacorte Press.

Comments About the Cover: It’s gorgeous, and was one of the reasons why I became tempted to read The Girl at Midnight. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley. 


  1. Awwww, sorry this wasn't for you Z! I'm starting it next week so I'm curious to see what I'll think. I'm hoping I fare better with the characters than you did:)

  2. This is the same problem I had with the new MG series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I couldn't see past the similarities to actually enjoy the story. I hope I can enjoy this one.



    I definitely was looking forward to GaM too. It's interesting; I keep hearing people say that the plot reminds them of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (I wonder if this is why the marketing people did not put that comparison in but said 'Cassandra Clare' and Leigh Bardugo instead?). I was definitely reminded of some aspects, like the whole Rose-Echo combination and the urban fantasy 'doors as pockets into the fantastical' sort of element, but that actually reminded me of Cassandra Clare's more so, since Laini Taylor's book seemed more focused on the war and City of Bones had more diversions from the plot, like this with the jumping from city to city and 'your best friend is in danger' type (Ivy, Simon, etc.). Also the characters remind me a lot of City of Bones.

    It's true we don't get a description of Echo, do we? Those things don't tend to bother me, but whenever I hear about them from others, I do wonder why the author chose that path.

    "At first, even though Echo and Caius's star-crossed attraction reminded me a bit of the attraction between Karou and Akiva..." -- Ah, I don't think the ending was ripped from DoSaB. It reminded me more of Ruin and Rising - have you read it? The souls inhabiting aspect seems very DoSaB, but it doesn't seem integral to the culture of Avicen the way it is for the chimaera.

    "Although I wasn’t invested in the attraction between Echo and Caius, I was interested in a romance potentially developing between Dorian, Caius’ guard who harbours unrequited feelings for Caius, and Jasper, an Avicen. Doesn’t that sound a lot like Alec and Magnus though?" -- Yes. This is what I meant when I said the characters remind me of TMI. Instead of Clary (Ivy) as MC, we have Echo (Izzy).

    I figured that he managed to meet Rose in secret multiple times because of that power of his - that he could always elude people with his transportation abilities. But it isn't clear how Tanith knew, no. Nor why Caius still sorta? forgave Tanith. I'd like to know more of the backgrounds as well - I think that my main impression is 'more.' I wanted more.

    I loved the writing though and have still given it a favorable review. I think that it'll be decently popular - and if it had more marketing, maybe really popular. I hope the sequel goes well for you!

  4. While I did like this book, I also couldn't help but notice those things while reading. We don't know much about pretty much any of the characters and that really takes away from the book. While I did read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, I can't really compare these two books together because DoSaB is soooo much more magical and beautiful. Thanks for the great review and here's to hoping that sequel will be better!

    Asma @ IceyBooks

  5. Hmm I haven't read this one but I have read the other books you mentioned and am kind of put off by the similarities, especially since I liked the other books so much. I also hope you enjoy the sequel more if you decide to read it!

  6. Awww, I'm sorry that this one wasn't for you. I've read a lot of people mentioning similarities between Daughter of Smoke & Bone and The Mortal Instruments series, and while I adored one (DoS&B), I didn't care much for the other, so I'm a little worried about how I'll do with this one myself, to be honest. Hopefully your next read is/was better and thanks for the lovely review^^

  7. Ergh. Well, I think I may be skipping this one despite having been looking forward to it for a long time now. There aren't many things that irk me in a book quite as much as derivative features do. I just cannot help but focus on the similarities and it completely takes me out of the story.


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