Summary: 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, though 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. [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: The fact that the beginning of the first chapter takes place in Taipei was the moment I fell in love with this book. The Girl at Midnight‘s heroine, Echo, is a city-hopping thief who uses the magic of her adopted family to get around. Her adopted family is the Avicen, an ageless people with feather hair and magic. When she stumbles upon the secret of the Firebird, which is prophesied to end the war between the Avicen and the Firedrakes (basically the dragon people), she begins her adventures.
The way the Avicen and Firedrakes are incorporated into the modern world was incredibly well done. I enjoyed the way that some Avicen and Firedrakes talked like everyday teenagers, while others spoke like the wise and the ancient. And Echo’s interaction with both the outside world and her adopted family was fascinating. Found families are, in my opinion, the best kind to read about.
The story itself is one of familiar fantasy adventure — Echo must find the Firebird by uncovering clues around the world. Echo’s spunky thief character and the motley crew she gathers to her, are what makes this adventure worth reading. Unfortunately, the resolution to Echo’s quest felt a little bit rushed, but the fact that there will be a sequel is a good sign. Hopefully, the sequel will flesh out the story even more. I’m absolutely looking forward to reading it!
If you’re looking for an awesome urban fantasy, definitely check out The Girl at Midnight! (Also, if you read the main villain character as Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender, it’s that much more fun.)
Recommendation: Get it soon!