Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley**
Beneath our world two races have been warring against each other for centuries. The Drakharin, who were once powerful enough to transform into dragons, now only bear scales on their skin and the Avicen, defined by their bird-like eyes and feathery manes. Both are in search of the mythical firebird, a weapon that can win the war if either manages to find it. Echo, a runaway and thief, was taken in years ago by the Ala, an Avicen. Though human, the Avicen are the only family Echo has ever known. When Echo steals a music box containing a clue to the whereabouts of the firebird, the Avicen’s quest becomes her own. But the Dragon Prince, Caius, is also after the legendary weapon and the three races are about to collide in search of it.
Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight features two unique races known as the Avicen and Drakharin. The specifics of the war being waged are vaguely referenced, but never fully explained. The same goes for the presence of magic. The protagonist, Echo, has access to spells and magic powder, but this part of the story was never really explored. Warlocks play a very minor role in the novel and I think if they had more of a prominent part, the magic aspect of the story would have made more sense. The book spends most of its time in our world, so the world building with regard to these otherworldy creatures left something to be desired. I’d like to say the plot redeemed the book, but a couple of the storylines were very similar to two other popular series (The Mortal Instruments and Daughter of Smoke and Bone) which made several revelations predicable.
I did enjoy most of the characters in the book. Echo, sarcastic and sassy, may not always take things seriously, but she is always willing to fight for her friends. However, there are moments when her bravado comes across more like immaturity. Several characters remark that she seems older than she is, but I never got the same impression. Caius has an interesting relationship with the Avicen and is less ruthless than his sister Tanith, who is all too eager to keep the war going, though her story could have been flushed out more. There are a couple of other minor characters like Caius’s loyal friend, Dorian, and Echo’s best friend, Ivy, who both undergo rewarding character development, but I’m not sure if their roles were really meaningful to the overall plot.
The Girl at Midnight, though charming at times, needed more layers in terms of storyline and setting.