Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight, Book 1
Release date: April 28, 2015
Published by: Delacorte Press
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When a young girl is taken under the wing (literally) by an Avicen, an ancient creature of feathers and magic, her world not only changes, but becomes something amazing. Echo grows up in her nest learning all that she can about their world while reading everything she can get her hands on in the library and continuing her thieving ways. Then one day, The Ala tasks her with finding a legendary Firebird before anyone else. Of course things aren't as easy as they seem they will be when she sets out to take on this job, and soon they are on a completely different course then she thought they would be...
My thoughts: WOW! This was an adventure full of fantasy wrapped in our own world! I loved how the setting of this story is our own time and place, but with seriously magical and fantastic characters and creatures who have been at war for so long they don't even know what they're fighting about anymore. (Romeo and Juliet anyone!?)
The fantasy creatures/characters of the Avicen and the Drakharin are seriously cool. The detail and variety was so very interesting that I could easily picture their plumes and scales in my mind. It was glorious. Plus, the fact that these groups have been there all along right under our very human noses and we have never noticed is just too cool of a concept as usual for me! That is ALWAYS catnip for me!
Another element that really kept me going was how our main character, Echo, became part of a "Scooby Gang" of sorts to "save the world." They never actually say any of those words, but that's how I felt and I really do so love it when a group, especially one that's a mixture from both "sides of the track", comes together to save us all. It makes me warm and fuzzy! ;)
The villains in this were seriously nasty! To have a sister who is supposed to love you and protect you be the one who has destroyed the things in your life that you have loved is just beyond evil! And there are others on the Avicen side as well who are just ignorant and happy to be so because of tradition, or because perhaps there might be a fella they really like who's never looked at them the way he's looked at someone else so you can never be safe in a dark place with them. I mean...WHOA!
The main character, Echo, was wonderfully smart and sassy! She had been on her own for a very long time, but even in this world where she's had to fight for her place in it she's always shined even without the bright plumage.
The romance was just right in this one! How did she do that? I never feel that way. I'm always frustrated in some little way about that element, but this was just right. It didn't feel silly, or fake, or rushed. Nicely done.
Final thoughts: What a fantastic start to a new series! Adventure and mystery from beginning to end. I cannot wait to not only buy my own copy, since this was an eGalley and will disappear now, but also cannot wait for book 2!! AHHH!
p.s. I LOVE THIS COVER!!!