For 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, 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.
Guys, this is why I read young adult fantasy. Every time I read something and I wonder why it’s been so hyped when it feels so much like everything else I’ve read in the genre, a book like this will come along like a breath of fresh air.
The Girl at Midnight is a tale of a girl named Echo – names have meaning amongst the magical Avicen (human/bird) and Drakharin (human/dragon) and hers has an especially poignant meaning when you figure it out – a runaway taken in by the Ala, a Seer amongst the Avicen. Echo knows that most Avicen see her as something lessor, but they are her family, so when the Ala asks her to retrieve an object in secret, she readily agrees. Of course, this being a fantasy, it sets her on a journey she couldn’t have imagined.
This is a book about finding your place in the world, your family and your friends. It’s about the hatred that separates us, but the undeniable truth that beneath the hate there are a lot more similarities if only we allowed ourselves to look. It’s about a loyalty that goes beyond simple friendship – the way Dorian will follow Caius anywhere, why Ivy stays with Echo and even helps Dorian, even though he is the enemy, and beat her in captivity. It’s a story about love trying to find a way – be it between Echo and Caius, or more touchingly, Dorian and Jasper two characters who are obviously gay but the book never feels the need to have a moment to say “THEIR GAY” just taking moments to regret the unrequited love Dorian has for Caius or how Jasper (a Avicen) tries wooing Dorian from the second they meet because to him, the one eyed Dorian is hot and eff his people who’d consider him a traitor for liking a Drakharin.
If the end isn’t the biggest surprise, that’s okay. It doesn’t need to be. As the book itself says, it’s more about the journey, and the journey itself was great. It was fun, it was taut, it dealt with the grief that comes with the first time you kill. It was just all really, really well done.
This is one of those books that wound up being so much more than I expected it to be and it made me fall in love with YA all over again. In short this is the first book in the series. I’m already counting the days ’til June 2016.
Verdict: Buy It