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All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders Audiobook {4 Stars}

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders is a unique reading experience. I have read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy over the years, and I can still say that this is a book unlike any I’ve read before. It blends subtle magic and sci-fi together with delightfully imperfect characters for a story of the apocalypse that somehow manages to be fresh and original. The audiobook is quite good as well, so if you are looking for a new listen, this is one to consider.

Note: I received an advanced copy of All the Birds in the Sky from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders Audiobook {4 Stars}

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan

Published by Tor Books on Jan. 26th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Sci-fi
Page Length: 316 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.

But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • This story is set in the near-future where some people have magical abilities and some people are smart enough to build a two-second time machine from plans posted on the internet. The magic is cool, but the insertion of technology like a two-second time machine (forward two seconds by the way, not back) is what really sets the unique tone. Is sci-fi realism a thing?
  • All of the characters in this book float somewhere between good and not so good. I love grey characters and I love when it’s hard to tell who the villain of the story actually is. All the Birds in the Sky felt very realistic in that sometimes you are on the same side as others and sometimes you aren’t, and that’s just life.
  • I like that this story begins when the two main character, Patricia and Laurence, are quite young. We get to see all the important times in their lives from middle school to late twenties. This story could have jumped in when they are twenty-somethings going on thirty, but I was so much more connected to their friendship because I got to see it from the very beginning.
  • The narration of the audiobook is great. I thought the female narrator tackled the different voices of all the characters quite well, including the voices of the various animals and the pronunciation of animal names (which turns out to be quite difficult!). Definitely recommended if you like audiobooks.

Weaknesses:

  • After the awesome build-up of the first half, I found the ending to be pretty disappointing. Everything just felt rather anticlimactic and too easy.
  • The second half slows down a fair amount. I think perhaps that during the first half I was so enchanted with the world and magic that I didn’t mind a slower pace, but once that was old news, things felt slow.

Summary:

All the Birds in the Sky is a book for those who are tired of the typical sci-fi or fantasy plots and want something rather different and thoughtful. If you don’t mind a bit slower pace and a mediocre ending, there is a lot to enjoy in this story. I’m looking forward to seeing what Anders writes next!

Check out the preview:

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Noooo I am really sad about the anticlimactic ending! Because this sounds like a great story and plot! And I think you’ve convinced me to pick it up anyways, because I love the fact that fantasy and sci-fi has mixed to form this somewhat…magical realism, I believe? That is really unique, and sounds exactly like my type of book!

    Thank you so much for the review Anya!

  2. I’ll have to moderate my expectations for this one after reading your comment on the anticlimactic resolution and poor pacing – but it still sounds so excellent. I always love slightly weirder books that can’t neatly be placed into a genre-box, and this sounds like exactly that!
    Aentee @ Read at Midnight recently posted…Unpopular Opinion Book TagMy Profile

  3. I think this is one that I will enjoy on audio. Thanks for the heads up!
    Alyssa zech recently posted…Least Favorite Covers of 2015My Profile

  4. I just loved how unusual this story was. I love finding books that are hard to categorize, and this book is definitely one of those. I’m so curious to see what Anders comes up with next!
    Tammy @Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [193] – PRIDE’S SPELL by Matt WallaceMy Profile

  5. Interesting! I love genre crossovers. I am looking the book up now. Thanks for the review.
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