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When The Clock Strikes

Melissa Grey’s debut novel, The Girl at Midnight, is a delightful modern fantasy featuring feathered beings who live under NYC and thieves who have hearts of gold.

When The Clock Strikes

BOOK REPORT for The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey

Cover Story: Fant(asy)astic
BFF Charm: Heck Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Modern Fantasy
Bonus Factor: Diversity, That Reminds Me
Relationship Status: I’ll Make Breakfast

Cover Story: Fant(asy)astic

If you didn’t know this book was a fantasy before seeing the cover, you’d certainly get a good hint from the cover. Although I don’t love it—there’s a little too much going on—it’s fun, and there’s none of the tried-and-true (and ridiculously overused) YA cover tropes we’re so used to seeing.

The Deal:

When Echo was little, she ran away from a terrible home situation and hid out in the library. One night, she was discovered by the Ala, a member of a mysterious race of feathered humanoids called the Avicen who live in New York City, unbeknownst to humans. After that fateful meeting, Echo grew up with one foot in the Avicen world and one in ours, and learned a useful trade: thievery.

As a birthday present for the Ala, Echo steals a music box. What’s inside that music box will lead Echo into the middle of a war, and help her find a true place for herself.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Although the idea of a thief comes with negative connotations—lies, stealing, a questionable moral code—Echo’s a thief who steals for a reason, and she’s an immensely loyal friend to the friends who became family (even when they’re a completely different species, and many of them are not so tolerable of Echo’s differences). Echo’s also willing to go to extreme lengths for those she cares about, but isn’t ever boring; she’s sarcastic and witty and intelligent. All of these characteristics are ones I like in a friend. I’d just have to keep a close eye on my valuables when we were getting to know each other.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

At the start of The Girl at Midnight, Echo’s in the early stages of a relationship with someone. Somewhat unfortunately for him—but fortunately for us—someone else comes along that Echo’s attracted to in a way that’s nearly undeniable. I would have liked a little more swoon without the catches (or the questions), but I suppose I’ll have to just wait (impatiently) for future books for that.

Talky Talk: Modern Fantasy

In The Girl at Midnight, Melissa Grey has created a new world in which feathered beings and beings with dragon scales live underneath and in the shadows of our own world. These fantastical beings aren’t out of time, however, and although they might not be adept at technology, they are somewhat familiar with our pop culture. This makes for a much more believable fantasy read than, say, those that take place in made up lands or in times far removed from ours. (I’m not knocking those type of books, of course!) It’s obvious that Grey has an awesome imagination, but most impressive is how her wit shines through in her characters. I already said this about Echo, but I would totally be friends with the rest of the characters in this book (and Grey herself).

Bonus Factor: Diversity

The diversity in The Girl at Midnight is of an unusual sort. Instead of different colors of humans, we get to read about different colors of the Avicen (and their mortal enemies, the dragonish race of beings called the Drakharin). There are Avicen in the book who have dark skin, light skin, dark feathers, light feathers, even feathers like that of a peacock. The Drakharin are equally diverse. Additionally, there are characters who aren’t straight, either. Thanks to Grey’s great descriptions, they’re all a whole lot of fun to imagine.

Bonus Factor: That Reminds Me

I try not to compare books to other books; the whole “THE NEXT HUNGER GAMES!” thing makes me cringe, because it’s so often super far from the truth. However, I do sometimes see things in books I enjoy that remind me of other books I enjoy, and The Girl at Midnight—although it’s very much its own story—reminded me of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. So, if you’re a fan of that sort of book, you’ll likely enjoy The Girl at Midnight as much as I did.

Casting Call:

Krysta Rodriguez as Echo

Relationship Status: I’ll Make Breakfast

Thank you for an excellent first date, Book. I had so much fun, and I don’t want it to be over. Want to come back for a nightcap? And maybe waffles in the morning?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from HarperTeen. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Girl at Midnight is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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