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Monday, November 05, 2018

Review: All the Birds in the Sky

All the Birds in the Sky was a free download. I was trying to read Small Fry, and got too depressed from reading the book and started reading All the Birds in the Sky instead and got thoroughly sucked in. I only found out after I'd finished that the book won the 2017 Nebula Award.

The book tells the story of 2 kids, Patricia and Laurence. Patricia learned to be a witch, and Laurence was destined to be a mad scientist, but as middle-schoolers both were outcasts and thrown together. Their coming of age happened jointly through a series of tests of loyalties, and then the plot dissipates and reunites them years later, when both have become adults.

The novel is strangely uneven, with lots of pieces that feel very unnecessary and stuck in there for no good reason. The novel could have used a really good editor to make the author whittle down the novel so that its major themes resonated better. On the other hand, Charlie Jane Anders managed to make me care about the characters and their relationship with each other enough that I didn't switch back to other books while reading this one.

The novel's only 300-odd pages, but read like it went on for longer. This is not a good thing. The author had maybe sufficient material for an excellent 200-page novel, but went for a decent 300 page novel instead. The ending, in particular, is literally a Deus Ex Machina. The novel doesn't provoke any deep thoughts though it tries to invoke the idea that there was some deep thinking behind the novel by positing a conflict between science and magic.

I recommend reading this on an airplane, or as a distraction from deeper, more depressing books.


The Raj said...

Stick with it for Small Fry -- it is worth it!

Piaw Na said...

I waited too long and my ebook got returned.