By Awnali Mills
My quest for audiobooks took me to the Young Adult section, and I picked up The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, and read by Julia Whelan. I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy it, but figured I would give it a shot. (One of the problems of listening to audiobooks instead of reading is not seeing how things are spelled. This is particularly difficult with fantasy books. Please forgive any misspellings.)
Echo was very young when she ran away from her abusive parents. She was found by the Allah, a leader of a race of feathered humanoids called the Avicen, and taken under her care. She’s grown up to be an extraordinarily good thief. When the Allah asks 17 year old Echo to find the legendary Firebird, Echo immediately agrees. She will do anything to help the Avicen, even though she is not universally beloved in their community. And the Firebird is rumored to be able to bring about peace with the Drakharen, a race of scaled humanoids. But Echo isn’t the only one after the Firebird. The Dragon Prince is after the Firebird, too, because he wants peace for his people. Naturally, not everyone wants peace. Who will be the first to find it, and will it cost Echo everything to get it?
I had a bit of difficulty getting into this audiobook, and probably wouldn’t have listened for longer than an hour if I wasn’t too lazy to go and find another audiobook. But I did eventually get into it, and started actively enjoying Echo’s snarky sense of humor. I love a wisecracking heroine, and that definitely describes Echo. Some of the other characters seem a little limp to me, though. Most of the side characters are not well fleshed out, except for the Dragon Prince. I like sidekicks with a little meat to them, and they don’t exist here.
The audiobook was well read by Whelan, and it was easy to distinguish between the characters. Altogether, it was a decent book. I wouldn’t turn down listening to the sequels, but I wouldn’t inconvenience myself to find them. I could easily recommend it for teens who like fantasy, and enjoy wisecracking heroines, or protagonists who operate outside the law. There are also some side characters who are gay, so it is sometimes included in LGBTQ lists (although their sexuality plays a very minor role.)