The Girl at Midnight


Title: The Girl at Midnight

Author: Melissa Grey

Series: The Girl at Midnight, #1

Publisher: ATOM

Release Date: April 28th 2015


Four Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

The Ala held out a hand to Echo. “Remind me, child, have I ever told you the story of the firebird?”

Echo lives with a foot in two worlds; in one she is a homeless child, making her own space in the library and stealing whatever she needs to get by, and in the other she lives among the Avicen, seeing them as her family despite her lack of feathers. One day though, while stealing a gift for the Ala, Echo comes across a map that sends her on a hunt across the world for the firebird.

Her first stop is Japan where she receives the next map to continue her journey but comes face to face with one of the Drakharin generals and sets a very dangerous enemy on her tail. Echo is not the only one searching for the firebird, and now the Drakharin know who the Avicen have sent after it they know who they should go after.

Unfortunately it isn’t Echo who’s caught in their trap, but her best friend Ivy.

“Now, fighting fuels more fighting, and hatred breeds more hatred. It almost doesn’t after why the war began. We’ve fought for so long that I fear we’ve forgotten how to do anything else.”

As both sides move closer and closer to the firebird Echo finds herself outcast from the Avicen and teaming up with two Drakharin who have found themselves outcast from their own people. It’s a race to track down the firebird first. As they travel across the world, following the clues they piece together from the maps, Echo, Ivy, Caius, Dorian and Jasper run into more problems than answers and put their lives are put at risk for what they believe in.

I’ve seen this book compared to both The Mortal Instruments series and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and while I did notice comparisons to both series in The Girl at Midnight this is still a very separate book with very separate characters and stories. This was a re-read for me before moving onto the second book in the series but I enjoyed it just as much, I was hooked from the first page and remained so right until the very end, following Echo and her miss-matched team through all the twists and turns and through all the countries they travelled to on their quest.

…The Characters

“Echo looked around at her sea of tomes, and a single word came to mind: tsundoku. It was the Japanese word for letting books pile up without reading them all.”

Echo has lived among the Avicen and with the Ala since she was a child, but she is very aware that she is not one of them. Instead of making her home in the nest she stays in the library where she was found all those years ago, separate from the Avicen and alone in many ways. Still Echo’s loyalty is to the Avicen first, despite her lack of feathers, and when the Ala sends her on a quest she obeys, keeping her actions a secret from everyone.

As the story commences Echo is forced to make some tough decisions, but she makes them believing that she will be forgiven when she returns triumphant with the firebird. It’s only after something more serious happens, that changes Echo as a character and what side she sees herself fighting for, that she starts to wonder whether once all this is over if she’ll be able to return home.

“War is like a drug,” he said. “You spend so long chasing victory that you become blind to the fact that you’ll never find it. It had never even occurred to me that peace was possible…”

Caius, despite fighting in the war for decades, believes in peace and he sees the firebird as the only way to achieve that peace. Caius almost believes he is untouchable in his position, but there are other Drakharin who don’t believe in the firebird the way he does and who see his vision as nothing more than a fool’s dream. Still he doesn’t give up. Caius knows there are people on both sides who will refuse to give up the war unless they have no other choice.

“And do you find me monstrous?”
She could have lied, but he’d see right through it. He didn’t come across as the sort you could sneak a falsehood past. “The devil is not as black as he is painted.”

The tension between the Avicen ad the Drakharin was visible first hand in the relationships between Caius and Echo, and Dorian and Ivy. They are on separate sides of this war and despite being forced to work together they are still wary among each other. It was the scenes between Ivy and Dorian which were the best written in my opinion. There was nothing romantic about their interactions, nor will there ever be, but there is more tying them together and it was interesting seeing the way they interacted with one another after what happened between them when they were still on separate sides of the war.

The relationship between Caius and Echo had a little bit of an insta-love feel to it. Despite being on different sides of the war the two learn to trust and rely on one another very quickly. There is also something of a love triangle but it wasn’t given much development in this book. It may in the second which is why I mentioned it but in terms of burgeoning relationships I was more interested in the secondary characters than I was the main ones.

…The Setting

“Temples sat beside glass skyscrapers, while certain streets, like the one she currently stood on in the Pontocho district, were so well preserved that they were like portals back in time. A hundred years had passed, and still the teahouse to which the map had pointed stood, exactly where Echo had expected it to be.”

The Girl at Midnight takes us all over the world; from Pontocho in Japan to the Louvre in Paris to the MET in New York. We see deep into the world where the Avicen and the Drakharin make their homes, and we learn a little about the magic that surrounds both species. However as much as I loved all the different locations we saw along the way it would have been interesting to learn more about the history of the Avicen and the Drakharin. We were told a war had been brewing for decades but there was no back-story behind it; how did it start, what happened that was so terrible it forced these people into a war? I’m hoping we get some more back story in the next book. It would certainly be interesting to read.

Overall The Girl at Midnight was a great start to this series. I didn’t connect with the main characters as much as I did the secondary ones but the story was engaging and the world, if not the history, was intriguing to say the least. After the way this one ended I can’t wait to get started on the second book in this series and find out what’s in store for all the characters I’ve met so far.

What did you think of The Girl at Midnight? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

45 thoughts on “The Girl at Midnight

  1. I was really drawn to this book last year because of it’s beautiful cover (the US version, I think), but I didn’t know much about the story. The concept seems really intriguing and it definitely sounds like the type of story I would enjoy simply because of it’s fantastical elements. I love books that offer up an international journey and this one certainly appears to deliver on that point. It’s a shame to hear that the main characters’ relationship is not as interesting as the secondary characters’ but it sounds like there’s plenty of room for this story to grow. You’ve reminded me about this one! I’ll have to bump it up my list before I forget about it again haha. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I first saw this book it was because of the cover (again US version though I like the UK version as well). I think there’s a lot about this book you’ll enjoy Azia, if you like international journeys then this is one I’d highly recommend because that was actually my favourite part of this book. Yeah unfortunately the character development wasn’t great, but the secondary characters were enough to keep me interested in the story and overall what all the characters were working towards as well.
      That’s great to hear, I hope you really enjoy it in that case! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes in terms of bookish wanderlust this one hit all the major cities, and all cities I love as well.
      Shame about the main characters but luckily it wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment of this book so that’s always good. 🙂
      Thanks Lashaan!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to see that you liked this one, Beth! I’ve had it on my TBR for a while now but I remember seeing some mixed reviews back when it was first released so I never picked it up. I’m a bit intrigued by the whole Mortal Instruments and Daughter of Smoke and Bone comparison that you’ve seen. It really doesn’t seem all that similar to either but still makes me want to know what caused the comparison, I guess. Enough so that I definitely want to read this now! Plus, I’m really interested in the firebird stuff as well as the Avicen and the Drakharin. It sucks that you didn’t really connect a lot with the main characters and that there wasn’t enough history into the war. But overall it really does seem like a solid start. I’ll have to move it up my TBR once I get more of my immediate reads off. Great review as always!! 😊💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah overall I thought this was a good book, there are a few mixed reviews out there but I’d recommend giving it a try either way. I am a big fan of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I’m sure I’ll like The Mortal Instrument books as well and I really enjoyed this one. I think the similarities are more in terms of the characters and their situations than the story line.
      Yeah it was a shame about the main characters but honestly the secondary characters kind of made up for that. That’s great, I hope you enjoy this one when you get around to it then. Thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I plan on it! And I bet you’ll enjoy The Mortal Instruments. Especially since you’re loving the show. It may be different but it still have those key similarities. 😁
        But that makes sense about the characters having more of a similarity rather than the story line! And it’s always great when there are strong secondary characters. I’ve definitely had books when I enjoyed the secondary characters more than the main ones.
        I hope so too and you’re welcome!! 😁💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I read the first three books of TMI series and really liked them, it’s just a matter or re-reading those and then getting through all the rest. But either way I’m sure I’ll enjoy them as well.
        I would actually enjoy reading a book all about the secondary characters, maybe make those the main ones and the main ones the secondary ones! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah I thought it was a really good book, I definitely enjoyed re-reading it as much as I enjoyed reading it for the first time which is always good.
      I finished The Shadow Hour and actually enjoyed it about the same amount as the first book, I’m excited for the third to be released now! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t re-read a book in such a long time but I’m always scared that I won’t like it as much the second time around, since it’s happened to me before haha
        That’s great! I didn’t enjoy it as much because I felt there wasn’t as much plot but I’m also really pumped for the third book

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve had a couple of books that ended up that way. Luckily this wasn’t one of them but I understand what you mean because it’s always disappointing isn’t it?
        I didn’t notice that in The Shadow Hour but yeah I think the third book will be amazing! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooooh, that’s a pretty cover! It’s always interesting when you don’t connect with primary characters as much as you do with secondary ones. I had that experience with the Grisha trilogy. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In that case I’m glad this review could remind you of it. Honestly though even though I read this book before it kind of slipped my mind, which is why I never picked up the sequel even after it was released. Still it was a good read and I really hope you enjoy it as well.
      Thanks Analee. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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