[524]: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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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.

  • Well I can’t say I’m all that pumped for those similarities you note, as they do seem to be fairly similar to things that surprised me and swept me up in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but since I haven’t read anything about them until now, I’ll suppose that they aren’t too huge or noticeable. Otherwise, I’m fairly excited to read this for myself! I love the sound of the world and our protagonist, and I love some fantasy and this sounds like a really interesting one. I would love more totally original stories, but hopefully this one is ooriginal enough for me to enjoy. Lovely review. Xxx

  • Sounds fantastic!
    I have the book on my kindle and should get to it very soon it seems!

  • “released a breath I didn’t realize I was holding” SO HAPPY YOU ENJOYED THIS ONE JOY!!!! The similarities to DoSaB didn’t really bother me either and I loved Echo with Cauis! Really all of the characters and relationships were great! I cannot wait for the sequel!

  • After reading this review I am finding myself wanting to read this book immediately. I hadn’t because of some reviews with not so good opinions of the story, and, unfortunately, I let those affect me. I haven’t read TMI or DoSaB, so at least I’m saved with comparing this book too much xD It sounds really interesting, and the fact that you wanted a love triangle to happen has me really intrigued. Thanks for the great review, and happy reading 🙂

  • I was a little apprehensive with this one because of the comparison of the series you mention. Thanks for your review,

  • Ah, yesss. <3 Gorgeous review Joy 😀 I'm oh so happy that you loved this book sweetie. Four star from me too 😀 I found it to me amazing. Yay for both of us dying for book two, lol. <3 Fingers crossed we will both love it 🙂 It shall be awesome, I hope. I also really loved the romance. But HATED HATED HATED that she had a boyfriend. That she never broke up with. Ugh. Would have been perfect without that. Hmph. But yeah. I loved Caius SO MUCH 😀 He was awesome, hih. Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts about this book sweetie. <3

  • I have heard this is similar to Daughter of Smoke & Bone but I actually DNF that, it was a nice concept but I was so bored of it. I might give this book another go over the summer, lovely review 🙂

  • I’ve been seeing this book bouncing around the blogosphere but have never read it yet. But guess what I’m going to go do? Add it to Goodreads. 🙂 I don’t typically care for love triangles because I’ll want my person to win and if they don’t I’ll be upset. Very upset.

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Like you, I struggled with Laini’s books so hard. They just weren’t for me. So when people started comparing this to that, I was not happy. However, I started it today and I’m really liking it a lot, so it looks like we’ll end up in agreement once more.

  • You Want a love triangle?? Now that in itself is interesting.
    Shelley, my blogger friend who moonlights at TS, enjoyed this one as well. I’m glad she met your Laini standards, that is quite the benchmark

  • I’ve been reading great things about this book. I’ve never read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Mortal Instruments but it sounds that the author really did a great job on this one. I should really just try this one 🙂

  • A really fantastic review. Comparing anything to Laini Taylor would usually doom it to failure, but I’m glad this one lived up to the expectations, and that it isn’t too similar. I’ll be interested to read it for myself and compare to MI/DoSaB.

  • I’m so pleased to see that this one ended up working out for you Joy, I’m usually put off by a book when it’s referenced as to have many similarities to another book or series that I’ve enjoyed. But I’m glad that despite some similarities, Grey impressed you with this one. I can’t wait to finally start my copy! 🙂

  • I am glad that the books weren’t too similar to the ones they were constantly being compared to. And I like the fact that the writing style wasn’t embellished and dressed up, but was more about what was needed to be said in order to keep the plot going. Got this one on my TBR now!

  • I’ve been wanting to read this since I spotted the cover in late February/early March. Glad you enjoyed it, and that the similar plot lines didn’t bother you. I didn’t like Mortal Instruments (in fact, I stopped at book one) and have yet to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I don’t think similarities will be irksome to me either 😀

  • I often cringe at repetitive reads, though I haven’t read any of these books at all, but I do have them on my never ending TBR. ;D Great review!

  • Great review. I have this one on my TBR for sure. I have never read the books it is being compared to so that shouldn’t be a problem for me. 🙂

  • Oh wow. I’m so amazed that this lived up to Daughter of Smoke and Bone for you, Joy! I just read DoSaB recently, so I might wait a while before I read this so that the *minor* similarities won’t bother me too much. 🙂 And hoping for a love triangle?! That’s crazy, woman. 😉

  • Huh. I didn’t really notice any similarities between this one and Mortal Instruments/DoSAB while I was reading either Joy, though I do see what you mentioned in your list. I think if you look hard enough you can find similarities in any two stories though:) I can’t even begin to name all the books that could be directly linked to Pride and Prejudice! I’m 100% with you on Caius, I wasn’t sold on the other guy in the beginning either and I was definitely rooting for Echo and Caius to start something even though she was with the other guy. Moral fail?

  • I have seen so many similar reviews for this about the comparison with the MI series and how even though there are similarities, it just worked because the author still made it her own. I love that. I think I might read this one.
    Great review!

  • I really enjoyed this one and since I haven’t read either of those other 2 series, the similarities didn’t bother me. I’m glad you liked this one despite it all though.
    And yes, I was hoping for her to be with Caius too! I liked him a lot better than the other guy.
    I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
    Wonderful review, Joy!

  • You seem to be one of the only people that has given this book more than three stars. I find the story intriguing. I hope to get to read it one day. I’m glad you enjoyed it and great review! 🙂

  • I actually don’t mind reading about a book that has been done before because you’re right, it was be really difficult to be wholly original. As long as the book is written well and you forget that you’ve read a similar plot, then that’s definitely a win! I’m glad you enjoyed this Joy! The cover’s so beautiful!

  • I keep seeing this one everywhere I confess and now I’m starting to be really really curious and it sounds so good, all the reviews were really positive and I want to discover more about Echo! Great review:

  • Hm, I have heard good things, I have heard boring things. I wonder

  • I didn’t enjoy the Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I gave up at 50%. Reading about the same event from different perspectives was driving me crazy! This does sound interesting though. Please tell me that it doesn’t try to kill you by making you read the same thing just from different povs? Then I think I’ll give it a try. 🙂