Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Stars for The Girl at Midnight

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of The Girl at Midnight about six weeks ago, and it's definitely one of my favorite YA Fantasy novels of the year. It's due out April 28. I suggest pre-ordering!

From Goodreads:

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

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.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

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I can't comment on the similarities between  The Girl at Midnight and City of Bones because I haven't read it. (I know, I know, I'm probably the only one that hasn't read it yet). Of course there are similarities with Shadow and Bone as well as with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and probably many other YA fantasies with female protagonists. It's a ubiquitous plot in adult fantasy as well. A human girl or woman is uniquely placed to become part of the hidden magical world, destined to become the crux of a war/battle/disagreement between factions of magical creatures. The difference is in the details. I don't think that's a bad thing. I make at least 10 dishes that all start out with a roux, onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. The magic is in what goes in next.

The Girl at Midnight stands out because Echo is a girl, and she acts exactly like a teenager that's in over her head would act. She has doubts, fears, and struggles. She's nothing like Karou of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, who is unlike any 17 year old I've ever known. I also find the cast of secondary characters compelling. Although it starts out as a very Echo-centered novel, I was just as interested in the entire group by the end. I expect (hope) that in the next book the secondary characters will all be primary ones.

I look forward to reading this book again, as I surely will just before the second book comes out!

Thank you NetGalley and Delacorte Press for a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.