The Girl at Midnight Book One
Written by Melissa Grey
Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal
Published April 28th 2015
Thanks to Hachette Australia
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.
It's been ten years since The Ala found the orphaned Echo living in the library, the young girl forced from a home that neither seemingly wanted or cared for her. Ala is an Avicen, living underneath the city with plumage for hair and a race living under the threat of violence in a centuries old war. The Avicen are the only family that Echo has ever known, but not all within the magical community welcome a human into the fray. So Echo still chooses to live within the library walls, hoarding words like treasures and making a living from picking pockets. But when she steals a music box for Ala's birthday, they seem to have uncovered a centuries old fable that paints a mythical Firebird as a means to end the tension between the Avicen and Drakharin, or dragons.
Caius is The Dragon Prince, a leader among his kingdom and on the verge of conflict with the Avicen. He's heard the rumours about the human girl working with the Avicen. He needs to find the Firebird before it falls into enemy hands, it may be their only chance at finding peace for his kingdom. But within the Drakharin ranks, a coup is forming. His blood thirsty sister planning to take over the kingdom and send their soldiers to war.
Both Echo and Caius want a peaceful resolution, and it isn't long before the two cross paths on their search for the Firebird. Together, they are now on the run from both the Avicen and Drakharin, avoiding capture while following a series of clues to find the once mythical entity. The Firebird is within grasp. Tensions will erupt, alliances will shatter and neither will be prepared for the aftermath.
The Girl at Midnight was absolutely stunning. The magical prose was delicious and completely captured my attention from the very first page. Beautifully written, it's comparable to the fantasy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the sassy nature of The Mortal Instruments series, and the slow burning romance of Throne of Glass. Imaginative and taking on a whimsical quality, it follows the story of Echo and Caius respectively, along with their counterparts in best friend Ivy and Caius's royal guard in Dorian who are all searching for the mysterious Firebird. Some more reluctantly than others. I simply loved it.
The most striking aspect of The Girl at Midnight was the quality of writing, especially being a debut novel. It was absolutely immaculate. I loved the lyrical prose, it gave the magical storyline a romantic and whimsical flair.
The distant sound of a birdsong gave way to the gentle chirping of crickets in the dark and the lonely hoot of an owl in the distance. A chill was beginning to set in. It was late spring, but remnants of winter clung to the forest like a lover reluctant to say goodbye.
It made my heart ache with it's beauty.
Where flowers bloom, you'll find your way, through the darkness and the flames, but beware the price that you must pay, for only the worthy will know my name.The Girl at Midnight is absolutely glorious. A mixture of adventure, fantasy and the whimsical. Not often does a book leave you completely spellbound, but Melissa Grey and her debut is a force to be reckoned with. Book two can't come soon enough.