The Girl at Midnight

20345202by Melissa Grey
YA Fantasy
3 of 5 stars
Debut novel – April 28, 2015

This is a strong first book in a trilogy – I actually have a list of the things I loved! To start with, modern-day magic and the legend of the firebird. Lately YA novels have been branching out a bit more with their myths of choice and I like it. Creatures like the firebird have more fluid identities and it’s much harder to guess which one any particular author is going to choose.

Echo might not be the sharpest protagonist all the time (part of the curse of being the main character is that you don’t realize when you are in a story like the ones you’ve read), but she was so much fun I didn’t mind. Actually, the whole cast was strong. Grey spent the time to give each character an arc, and that was the best thing about this novel. Typically there’s a side character that you love but has no real backstory or character change–they are there as the best friend, or the slightly cool enemy, or some other two-dimensional reason. They do one thing that carries the plot for a moment. But here we have Echo, Caius, Dorian, Ivy, Jasper, all with their own motivations and struggles, and the dynamic between them all was fantastic. Nobody was left being a cardboard side prop. The other bonus to me was the relationship between Tanith and Caius-siblings with opposing visions for the best way to lead their people; the Avatar: The Last Airbender vibe was well-done.

However, I did have a minor bone to pick that resulted in a lower rating. Double negatives. Consistently characters “couldn’t not do” something, and it drove me crazy. Couldn’t not = did. If you couldn’t not smile, you did smile, or you smiled knowing you shouldn’t, but it happened. This isn’t a matter of “voice.”

I enjoyed the story, the world, the characters most of all, and I will be checking out the next book as soon as it comes out!

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Girl at Midnight is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – This is an excellent option if you just can’t wait for the sequel to The Girl at Midnight next year. See my review here.
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – In actuality, The Raven Cycle quartet is what I’m recommending. Paranormal events in a small, sleepy Virginia town centered around the non-clairvoyant daughter in a family of psychic women, and the prep school boys on a quest for the legendary wish-granting Welsh king buried under a mountain. See my review here.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A quartet of fairy tale retellings with a sci-fi twist. See my review here.
  • Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – An older series featuring a hawk princess and a serpent prince trying to end the war between their people. Short but excellent.

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