Seventeen-year-old Echo has lived for years among the Avicen—mysterious creatures with powerful magic and feathers instead of hair. They’ve lived hidden for centuries beneath the streets of New York, and Echo is the only human ever to have learned of their existence. Despite the discord this difference brings, the Avicen are Echo’s home.
But her serenity shatters when she steals a music box and discovers a centuries-old secret hidden within it. And because of it, she’s sent on a mission to retrieve a mythical firebird and bring an ancient war to a close. Echo has only ever been a thief—finding something this complex is beyond her area of expertise. Only with the help of a group of unlikely friends can she begin to draw close to discovering it. And even then, there are difficult secrets to uncover. This mystery has lain hidden for centuries, and as she uncovers more of the secrets which lead her along the firebird’s trail, the truths which have always governed her world begin to fall apart.
The Girl at Midnight is one of the best books I’ve read for a long time. Melissa Grey expertly creates a world born from this one fraught with danger and war, with unusual magic and dark secrets. Simultaneously, this book is completely fantasy, and could be occurring under our very noses. Echo is an incredible main character with complicated thoughts and desires, fierce loyalty, a brilliant sense of humor, and an awesome attitude. All the supporting characters (many of whom I adore!) have complex relationships and unusual, often unconventional, personalities, ranging from a disgraced guard to a flamboyant thief. And there were many points where I was literally blown away by a plot twist which I had never expected. It’s action-packed, fast-paced and unique (and great for fans of Six of Crows). The Girl at Midnight has a number of thematic elements, including mild romance and violence, which categorizes this as YA—in this case, ages 13+. For those readers, however, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves sophisticated, well-plotted fantasy novels with unforgettable characters.