Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

This post contains a review and a bookish manicure.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Published April 28 by Atom
Source: Hachette AU
Rating: 3 stars

From the blurb: 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.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey is the first book in a new series being marketed to fans of books such as Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Echo, a seventeen year old girl considers the ancient, bird-like race of the Avicens to be her family, after she was taken in by their seer, The Ala, at age seven. The Avicens possess magic and so go unknown amongst humans, travelling the world via the in-between, and living below streets and train stations. There’s another ancient, dragon-like race, the Drakharins, they have their own territories and have been at war with the Avicens for centuries. The key to ending, or igniting the war, hinges on whoever can find the Firebird first.

Often when publishers suggest fans of another author or book will like their latest offering, it can lead to disappointment; either the new book is nothing like the comparisons, or is just not as good. In this case the similarities between The Girl at Midnight and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series were clear from the beginning, from the main character’s attitude to the feathery cover. I do think fans of DoSaB will like it, but it definitely doesn't eclipse it.

The prologue set the scene and from then the story is filled with action; Echo’s life a as a thief keeps her busy travelling all over the world, but she loves to return home to her secret room in a public library. Her bond with The Ala was sweet, as was her friendship with Ivy, and new romance with Rowan. The mystery regarding her parents and original name kept me intrigued, though it seems if there’s anything to reveal regarding those facts, they’ll be revealed later in the series.

We also get the perspective from a range of other characters, most notably Caius, the Dragon Prince of the Drakharins, his best friend Dorian, and occasionally Ivy. My issue with most of the characters was that they seemed contrived, especially when it came to Caius. We meet him and realise he’s the leader of the opposing race, but then we find about his past love and his motive so it’s clear he’s not really a bad guy. I felt like there was no time for the reader to decide these things, they’re shown to us immediately, so it was obvious he would become a love interest for Echo.

The mystery of the Firebird was easy to solve as early on as during the prologue, and a lot of the other actions and coupling were quite obvious, too.

A few  other gripes for me: a character gets left behind and not mentioned again when it seemed like they could have taken him along, discovering the Firebird didn’t deliver the end to war, as was suggested all along, and repetitive movements (lip-biting and inner cheek-biting).

But, despite these small issues, I did enjoy the book. I read this in one day, after a month of not reading any fiction, and after I’d finished I found myself thinking about it and what was going to happen next, only to remind myself I’d finished the book hours earlier.

Thank you to Hachette for my review copy.

The wonderful people at Hachette ran a nail art competition for the release of The Girl at Midnight and asked me to pick a winner from the entries -  so fun! I’m thrilled that a bunch of Aussie bloggers joined in and did some bookish nail art, every entry was fantastic! Check out #girlatmidnight on Twitter to see the entries.

I also did some nails to match the cover, I used some nail tips because I have gel on my nails right now.

I started with a base of Ulta3 Lily White.

I used black acrylic paint for the diagonal black area.

I used a very fine brush and acrylic paint for the feathers.


  1. The feathery design looks great.

  2. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this one despite having some issues Mands, I'm glad to see you back to posting reviews again! Also those nails look gorgeous! :)

  3. I'm reading this book right now and am totally enjoying it. The nail art is as epic as usual, well done those nail tips are awesome. I wish I had just a little of your talent for nails!

    Thea @  Gizzimomo's Stitchy Place

  4. Hi Mands! I'd missed you ♥ I hope everything going well on your end :)

    I've heard a lot of people were sort of annoyed by how similar Girl at Midnight is to Daughter of Smoke & Bone, although others loved it because of that. I can be touchy when it comes to obvious influences from other books so I'm a bit scared of this one now LOL But still curious enough to check it out eventually ;) Lovely review^^ and that mani you did is AMAZING. You were already brilliant at it but it seems like you've gotten even better :D

  5. Ooh I love those nails, Mands! Absolutely gorgeous, as usual. It's a shame that you had a few issues with this book, I still haven't read it myself but I'll definitely lower my expectations when I do.

    Nice review, hun <33

  6. Another amazing art here girl. It's not only the book, but your nails. I love them. Anyhow this book is new to me but seems really interesting. I'm so glad you enjoyed it overall. Great review, Mands :)

  7. Your nail art just keeps improving, it looks amazing! I swear you should have your own nail shop dedicated for fandoms. That would be so awesome.

    I've heard so much about this book but I'm a little reluctant to read it because I didn't enjoy DoSaB as much as most people did. Although the premise for this novel seems like something I'd like a lot more.

    Great review lovely!

  8. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t all it could have been for you, Mands, especially if you figured out the secret of the Firebird in the prologue- makes it seem as if one of these waring people would have figured it out, too, though I’m presuming they didn’t. Still, I’m pretty excited to read this- I agree with the high and unmet expectation thing, that happens a lot and I’m a little frustrated when books are said to be like others (can’t they revel in their uniqueness from everything else, their originality?), but it does make sense, marketing-wise. I really loved DoSaB, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go into this, when I read it, without thinking the two are going to be alike. Here’s hoping!
    And how fantastic that you not only got to judge the nail competition, but did your own gorgeous set! Xx

  9. I'd like to read this book myself. I'm glade you enjoyed it, despite the small issues :)
    I love this manicure as Always, the feathers look great ;)

  10. I agree with a lot of this criticism.

  11. The information you have to say this is very useful, a lot of new things that I got from the information you have to say this. ( Obat Herpes Zoster )
    Thank you very much for sharing this very interesting information. Obat Infeksi Jantung


Hi, hi, hi!
Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.
My priority is to return comments on YOUR blogs because I know how much a comment can make someone's day!
If I have time I will also try to comment back on my blog.
Mands xox