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The Girl at Midnight
Cover of The Girl at Midnight
The Girl at Midnight
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[STAR] “Sparks fly. . . . Will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty,...
[STAR] “Sparks fly. . . . Will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty,...
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Description-

  • [STAR] “Sparks fly. . . . Will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty, and romance. . . . [Book 2] cannot come soon enough!” —Booklist, Starred

    For fans of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.
       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.

    [STAR] “[The] perfect blend of action and amour.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
    A feisty heroine, fun supporting characters, a mission to save the world, and some seriously spicy romance.” —SLJ
    “Catnip for fans of Cassandra Clare.” —BookPage.com
     
    Fast-paced, action-packed, and full of laughs.” —Nerdist.com
    Enthralling and pure magic, Grey’s debut is delightful!” —Romantic Times
    A page-turner—I was hooked from start to finish.” —Latina Magazine
    “Sharp drama that leads to a conclusion begging for a sequel.” —The Bulletin
    "A must-read." —Paste magazine
    "Inventive, gorgeous, and epic—Grey dazzles in her debut."— Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die
    A stunning debut. Equal parts atmosphere and adventure, Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight is positively divine.” —Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    CHAPTER ONE

     

    10 YEARS LATER

     

    E

    cho lived her life according to two rules, the first of which was simple: don’t get caught.

     

    She stepped gingerly into the antiques shop nestled deep in a back alley of Taipei’s Shilin Night Market. Magic shimmered around the entrance like waves of air rising from hot cement on a sizzling summer’s day. If Echo looked at it dead-on, she saw nothing but an unmarked metal door, but when she angled her head just right, she caught the faint gleam of protective wards, the kind that made the shop all but invisible, except to those who knew what they were looking for.

     

    The neon light that filtered in from the market was the only illumination in the shop. Shelves lined the walls, packed with antiques in varied states of disrepair. A dis­mantled cuckoo clock lay on the table in the center of the room, its bird dangling from a sad, limp spring. The warlock that owned the shop specialized in enchanting mundane objects, some of which had more nefarious purposes than others. The darkest spells left behind a residue, though Echo had been around magic long enough to be able to sense it, like a chill up her spine. As long as she avoided those objects, she’d be fine.

     

    Most of the items on the table were either too rusty or too broken to be an option. A silver hand mirror was marred by a crack that divided its face in two. A rusted clock ticked away the seconds in reverse. Two halves of a heart-shaped locket lay in pieces, as if someone had smashed it with a hammer. The only object that appeared to be in working order was a music box. Its enamel paint was chipped and worn, but the flock of birds that graced its lid was drawn in lovely, elegant lines. Echo flipped the top open and a familiar tune drifted from the box as a tiny black bird rotated on its stand.

     

    The magpie’s lullaby, she thought, slipping her backpack off her shoulders. The Ala would love it, even if the concept of birthdays and the presents that accompanied them was all but lost on her.

     

    Echo’s hand was inches from the music box when the lights flared on. She snapped her head around to find a warlock standing in the shop’s doorway. His chalky white eyes, the only thing that marked him as not quite human, zeroed in on Echo’s hand.

     

    “Caught you.”

     

    Crap. Some rules, it would seem, were meant to be broken.

     

    “It’s not what it looks like,” Echo said. It wasn’t her finest explanation, but it would have to do.

     

    The warlock lifted a single eyebrow. “Really? Because it looks like you were planning on stealing from me.”

     

    “Okay, so I guess it’s exactly what it looks like.” Echo’s eyes darted to a point behind the warlock. “Holy— What is that?”

     

    For just a second, the warlock glanced over his shoulder, but it was all Echo needed. She grabbed the music box and shoved it in her bag, slinging the pack over her shoulder as she rushed forward, slamming into the warlock. He crashed to the floor with a shout as Echo bolted into the market square.

     

    Rule number two, Echo thought, snagging a pork bun from a food stall as she sailed past it. If you do get caught, run.

     

    The pavement was slick with the day’s drizzle, and her boots skidded as she turned a corner. The market was teeming with shoppers packed in shoulder to shoulder, and the rich odors of street cuisine mixed...

About the Author-

  • Melissa Grey was born and raised in New York City. She wrote her first short story at the age of twelve and hasn't stopped writing since. After earning a degree in fine arts at Yale University, she traveled the world, then returned to New York City where she currently works as a freelance journalist. To learn more about Melissa, visit melissa-grey.com and follow @meligrey on Twitter.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2015
    Seventeen-year-old Echo is an odd bird, but she soars in this urban fantasy.Echo lives by two rules-don't get caught, and if caught, run-but breaking them brings life-changing adventures. Ten years ago, when the Ala caught Echo picking her pocket, she brought the young thief into the underground world of the Avicen-a race of long-lived, partly feathered people. Echo now flits among the Avicen, trading favors, learning magic, and even snagging a boyfriend, Rowan, but she never feels like part of the flock. Splitting time between her illicit home/book hoard in the New York Public Library and travel around the world via magic powder and portals, Echo is rarely at rest, as if aware of her mortality. When she gets caught again, this time by the dragonlike Drakharin-the opponents of the Avicen in a long-running war-she undertakes a perilous journey to find the legendary firebird and, hopefully, peace. Grey's energetic debut offers a strong protagonist with a delightfully snarky voice. Echo's street-honed burglary skills and survival instincts are well-balanced by her (typical) teenage hormones and boundless enthusiasm. Her companions, Avicen Ivy and Jasper and Drakharin Caius and Dorian, are also entertaining, gaining depth by sharing the narrative spotlight-though the initial ping-pong switches between Echo and Caius are disorienting. The well-built world, vivid characters, and perfect blend of action and amour should have readers eagerly seeking the sequel. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2015

    Gr 9 Up-For the past decade, 17-year-old Echo has been raised among the Avicen, a race of magical people with birdlike feathers. Despite her status as the ward of a powerful Avicen council member, Echo is still seen by some as an unwelcome human in their midst. When Echo stumbles upon a clue to the whereabouts of the firebird, a magical, legendary creature, she can't resist the chance to follow the lead. Prophecy says that the firebird will be the key to ending the Avicen's long-standing war with the dragonlike Drakharin people. If she can be the one to find it, she's sure that the Avicen will finally accept her as one of their own. She teams up with an unlikely crew that includes a pair of Drakharin soldiers. Suddenly, everything she has ever known about good and evil is turned on its head. Although the narrative in this series opener is clumsy and some details are confusing, the plot drives the story forward. However, its similarities to works such as Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" series (S. & S.), Leigh Bardugo's "Grisha" trilogy (Holt), and Laini Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" saga (Little, Brown) is its biggest drawback. Notwithstanding, the same elements that make these series popular with teens-a feisty heroine, fun supporting characters, a mission to save the world, and some seriously spicy romance-may catch the notice of fantasy fans. VERDICT Purchase where epic fantasies with strong female protagonists are popular.-Liz Overberg, Darlington School, Rome, GA

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 15, 2015
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Seventeen-year-old Echo is something of an anomaly: a thieving orphan and the only human who can see the magical, feathered Avicen she considers family. The Avicen have been at war with the Drakharin for centuries, and the one hope for peace seems to lie with the mystical Firebird, so when Echo unearths a clue to the Firebird's whereabouts, she must follow it, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, the Dragon Prince of the Drakharin also pursues the Firebird, and when he crosses paths with Echo, sparks fly. This first novel will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty, and romance. Grey handles multiple points of view deftly, sweeping the reader fully into the story. Pacing is spot-on, building to a breathtaking climax that clearly points to a sequel. Fortunately for us, Grey is already at work on book 2 of the trilogy; it cannot come soon enough!(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

  • Danielle Paige, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die [STAR] "Sparks fly. . . . Will please fans of Cassandra Clare and Game of Thrones watchers with its remarkable world building; richly developed characters; and themes of family, power, loyalty, and romance. . . . [Book 2] cannot come soon enough!"
  • Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic [STAR] "[The] perfect blend of action and amour."
  • BookPage.com "A feisty heroine, fun supporting characters, a mission to save the world, and some seriously spicy romance."
  • Booklist, Starred "Catnip for fans of Cassandra Clare."
  • Paste magazine "Fast-paced, action-packed, and full of laughs."
  • BookPage.com "Sharp drama that leads to a conclusion begging for a sequel."
  • Nerdist.com "A stunning debut. Equal parts atmosphere and adventure, Melissa Grey's The Girl at Midnight is positively divine."

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    Random House Children's Books
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