[524]: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Delacorte Press | Hardcover, 368 pp. | April 28th, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Lauded as a Daughter of Smoke and Bone wannabe, I knew beforehand that The Girl at Midnight had some big shoes to fill, so I was a bit worried.  For one, Laini Taylor’s writing had a tendency to sprout flowers and pretty things. The last two books of the trilogy, I found, were riddled with vague, tortuous metaphors. Instead of inciting awe, however, all I ever felt was exhaustion. Second, anybody attempting to write in the shadow of Ms. Taylor must have some big cojones. The novel’s assimilation to something as ambitious as DoSaB pretty much opens its readers to a world of disappointment.

Thankfully, my worry was all for naught. Ms. Grey was a straight shooter. She means what she says, and says what she means. I was not left on my own to decipher hieroglyphics in the form of pretty proses.

Much has already been said about this book taking plot elements from two popular series: the first one being, DoSab, and the other, The Mortal Instruments. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any gripe about this. It didn’t bother me one bit. And in any case,  I didn’t really find too many similarities, to be honest. But if you’re wondering, here are some familiar-sounding arches.

  • ECHO was adopted by mythical creatures much like Karou was.
  • Echo and Cauis fell in love. No big whoop, except that they are mortal enemies much like Karou and Akiva were.
  • Cauis has been responsible for the killings of Echo’s people. Akiva shares the same guilt.
  • Mythical creatures abound, and worlds that can only be accessed through a doorway  using magic and incantation.
  • Jasper and Dorian’s relationship can be compared to Alec and Magnus’ from TMI fame. But that’s about it. It was really isolated enough, that I doubt TMI can claim it cleanly as their own.

Other than what I mentioned above, I thought Ms. Grey took some considerable risk, but somehow made it work. I don’t think it would be as enjoyable a story without them.

I love the vivid worlds; the spin she put on the Firebird folklore; the romance!  The romance was especially surprising to me. I’d hoped – prayed for a love triangle. How messed up is that?! Echo was with another person in the beginning, and truthfully, I wasn’t fully sold on him right from the start. So when Cauis was introduced, I was pumped. They’re much better suited, in my opinion.

This was a fantastic book marred slightly only by not going the distance on originality. I don’t hold that against her though. Nowadays, you’ll be hard pressed to find an honest-to-goodness original novel where the author didn’t borrow some form of plot device from another book. It would be silly to try especially in the YA genre. Sometimes, though, you’ll find one like this gem and you’ll temporarily forget you’ve read it all before. This is a brand new series to obsess over! I, for one, can’t wait until the next book comes out.

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