357 pages | 4/28/15 | Delacorte Press
I finally decided to grab Girl at Midnight because it’s been a minute since I’ve listened to some YA for fun. I see this book pop up all the time as a read-a-like for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Girl at Midnight is a worthy comp it features; hidden worlds, mystical creatures, a centuries old war, er… cross-species love interests and a girl with a destiny.
As a child, Echo was a runaway living in a library until she is taken in by the Avicen, a fantastical race of feathered people who live in the in-betweens of our world. One day Echo stumbles upon a locket that could unlock the Firebird, a legend that could to stop the cold war between the Avicen and the their enemies the Dracain.
Along the way she unwittingly teams up with Caius the recently ousted Dracain Prince and his beautiful blue eyed BFF who is also the head of his guard, who is of course secretly in love with Caius. Together they begin a somewhat short journey to follow the clues and unleash the weapon.
It’s a gusty human girl teaming up with a brooding paranormal older solider dude and his protective beautiful but scarred BFF who is secretly in love with him. I mean is this is a Sara J Maas book right ? I’ve only read one but based on fanart and fanfic I’ve seen this feels about right.
I mean characters let go of breaths they didn’t know they were holding, strands of hair get pushed back and insta love is in full bloom. It’s all the YA tropes and more. To round out the group is Echo’s Avicen friend Jasper who is essentially a flashy peacock (remember they are bird people), whose flirty relationship with Dorian (who again is secretly crushing on Caius) felt derivative of City of Bones. Just throwing it out there. Also Echo’s best friend Ivy is there but I feel like she is mostly there to make this book pass the Bechdel test.
I like that Echo was a bit of a rebel and wasn’t as earnest at Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is. She’s a smart mouthed troublemaker and well. . . a thief. Like she literally steals even when she doesn’t have to. She’s got some grit.
With that said it was a solid fantasy story with a dedicated mythology. Perfect for casual fantasy fans.There are star crossed lovers, a war and dangerous battles. It all comes at you pretty fast and because this is a slim book I don’t think we get as fully invested as we could. I mean there is a cold war going on but what does that mean ? Dorian lost his eye in battle so . . . that’s not a cold war ? The Dracarians live in their own in-between world and are bumbazzled by idioms only sometimes ? Also there is magic ?
Much like Girl at Midnight I’ve seen Julia Whelan all over the audiobook-sphere, and for some reason I have never listened to her go solo on an audiobook. Her samples always seemed a bit flat to me butWhelan is a knockout when it comes to accents and voices. The Dracains have slight Scottish brogues that she simply nails !