4 out of 5 stars
Creative and bizarre, The Girl at Midnight is part fantasy tale, part heist story, part secret identity mystery – and all beautiful.
I knew nothing about this book, except it was one of the few audiobook options at the library I hadn’t heard. What luck.
Echo is a runaway, discovered at a young age living in New York’s Public Library. (A girl after my own heart.) But the woman who finds her isn’t human – she’s Avicen: a race of bird people, complete with feathers for hair, who are shaped enough like people to wear jeans and pass as human with scarves and sunglasses. That sounds really cheesy, but it’s not. The Avicen are beautiful – intricately colored, delicately featured. They’re like fairies: ethereal and stunning. She’s found by the Ala, last living seer among the Avicen, who takes her under her wing (wakka wakka wakka!) and into the realm beneath the streets of New York City.
The Drakharin – dragon people, stay with me here – are the mortal enemies of the Avicen. When Echo finds herself caught in a conflict between the two races, she must act as only a girl between worlds can: for herself, and for them.
The world of The Girl at Midnight is exceptional. Both the Avicen and Drakharin live akin to humans, and right under their noses. Their ageless rivalry has only one rule: never let the humans see. But we see, through Echo’s eyes, and that reveals the good and bad on both sides. The story hits all the YA notes: Echo has a bestie (an Avicen named Ivy), a safe
boyfriend (Avicen Rowan), a better, more hunky love interest (Drakharin Prince Caius), and a gay friend (Avicen Jasper) who hits it off with a closeted enemy (Drakharin Dorian, previously in lurve with Caius). There is magic, prophecy, fire, doom. But it also has several heists, which are like sprinkles on an already delicious cupcake.
The story wavers a bit at the end, but many first installments do. They’re gearing up for the second part without quite finishing the first. I’ll forgive it here, because the world is so gorgeous and different, I can only trust the story to live up to the setting in which it lives.