More dragons! I am a sucker for them. I will read any book that is about dragons, or even mentions one. And these ones are good. But again, not the scaly fire-breathing dragons expected. These ones have adapted to live in the human world, while still retaining knowledge of fire and magic. So, dragon PEOPLE.
17 year old Echo, human, thief, and runaway, has lived with the Avicen since she was 7. A mysterious race of bird people that live below New York City, the Avicen have feathers instead of hair, and are embroiled in an ancient war with the Drakharin, the dragon people. Both races posses magic, and have wards and spells at their disposal to keep them from the eyes of humans. They travel through shadows and darkness, and can cross great distances in the blink of an eye. But they cannot have peace.
There is a legend with both peoples that whomever controls the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess unbelievable powers, will control the outcome of the conflict. The Ala, a powerful Avicen who adopted Echo after finding her living in the NYC Library, wants her to find the Firebird and bring peace. Caius, the Dragon Prince, wants the same outcome. His bloodthirsty twin sister, general of his armies, wants the war to continue.
This is a good story. It has romance, mystery, magic and sword-fighting, fire-raging conflict.
Writing the story in a contemporary setting really set up the contrast for the magic and ancient peoples; a fantasy set in the modern world always captures my imagination. (You will look at the teen in the hoodie in the coffee shop a bit differently!) Bird people and dragons, a centuries old war. A mythical being who could be the world’s salvation or could destroy everything.
All the characters seem to possess outstanding physical beauty and a witty intellect. Likely? Not in my world! But then I’ve never seen a bird- or dragon-person either, so I am going with it, happily. Everything is possible in fantasy. And it makes for a great read.
Echo is badass. I loved her. She is sarcastic, daring, loyal and smart, and a little unsure of her place in the world, both the ancient and modern. Caius is smart, gorgeous, selfless and loyal. Not really a bad boy, but then he is a dragon, so off-limits enough to qualify for possible romance. The Ala, Jasper, Dorian, Tanith, Ivy, Rowan – are all well-crafted secondary characters that really round out the story.
The country-hopping (following clues to find the Firebird left by a former Avicen operative) sets the stage for mystical international intrigue, sort of Bond-meets-Gandalf-meets-Gregor-the-Overlander.
The story is well paced, appropriate for any teen, and a great introduction to fantasy for anyone who isn’t yet hooked. (And did I mention the dragons?!?)
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey is published by Delacorte Press.