GIRL AT MIDNIGHTWhen Echo stole the music box for the Ala, it was just meant to be a gift. But the box was so much more than a pretty trinket. Inside was a clue to something the Avicen thought was only a myth.

The Firebird is rumored to be the one thing that can stop the fight between the Avicen and the Drakharin, two races that have been warring for as long as they can remember. Both races share the mythology of the Firebird but neither is sure the stories are real, until now. Echo, a human child, holds the key to its hiding place and both the Avicen and the Drakharin will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are the ones who find it first.

Melissa Grey’s debut is a fun teen fantasy and quest story. It’s also the first in a new series, which means a somewhat incomplete tale.

Echo, a human and orphan who has lived among the Avicen – a birdlike race –, has always considered them family. Her willingness to being drawn into a search for the one thing that can help them in their seemingly never-ending battle against the dragon-like Drakharin is never in question. She’s a ready participant, especially if it means saving the ones she loves. But it does mean possibly betraying the people closest to her, especially when she realizes that she must work with the Drakharin.

Grey’s worldbuilding is ok, but maybe not quite as strong as I would have liked for such a unique concept. There’s not much in the way of history on the Avicen or the Drakharin including why they’re at odds. There is, however, great visual detail on both races, their homes, and Echo’s travels, so while I would have liked more of the backstory, there’s enough to make this first tale quite enjoyable. I don’t think that it can stand on its own – it’s obviously the beginning of a broader tale – and I hope the subsequent installment(s) cover more of the history and world. Either way, The Girl at Midnight is engaging enough to keep the reader interested and leave them looking forward to the next piece of the story.

6/15 Becky LeJeune

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey.  Delacorte Press (April 28, 2015).  ISBN 978-0385744652. 368p.

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