Girl of Midnight is an endearing little read by debut author Melissa Grey. Echo is an orphan who was taken in by an elderly Avicen, an ancient race of birdish-like people (just go with it.) She has always struggled to fit in with them save for her two best friends Ivy and Rowan. Things come to head when Echo finds herself on a (perhaps) wild goose chase to find the mysterious firebird. Who or what it is, or whether it even exists is known to no one. Only that it is the key to stopping war between the Avicen and Drakharin (Dragon people- think Seraphina-like.)
Caius is the Dragon Prince. He has been looking for the firebird for a very long time. He believes in it ardently. When things go awry at court, he and his loyal captain of the guard, Dorian, join Ivy and Echo to find the Firebird while also running from Caius' blood thirsty, war-mongering sister, Tanith. Tensions run high for the first half of the book as a human, avicen and two dragons must learn to trust those they believe have been enemies for all their lives.
This book read a lot like Daughter of Smoke and Bone. There's some strange reincarnation shit going on, one girl with a special gift, awkward best friend, and so forth. It was actually pretty fun when I took a step back and stopped reading into everything too much. Basically what I'm trying to say is, this book is perfect for those who are just starting to get into the YA fantasy genre. For those who have read a lot of that stuff, you'll probably find it less enjoyable. It's got all your cliches: betrayal, starcrossed enemies/lovers, torture, loyal best friend, etc., etc., etc. However, for all that it displays, it lacks the refinery and complexity of a well-thought out fantasy novel. The writing is rushed in a way where you'll feel: "Huh? That's it...? I knew it was coming, but it was just so fast."
Speaking of fast, that is the one element that I absolutely could not forgive in this book. The world building and plot set up took so much time that the climax of the story came much too quickly. I felt the characters had barely just gotten to know each other, and all of a sudden it was do or die for each other, and then the end. I feel that the adventure really started getting interesting around 80% of the way through, and then suddenly it was rushed and over. This is the unfortunate element that didn't allow me to give it a 3 star rating. I just couldn't.
I believe Melissa Grey has a lot of talent that needs to be a little more organized and refined. I will definitely be picking up the next book to see where the story goes and in hopes of seeing her writing improve.