Review – All the Birds in the Sky

Posted May 9, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersAll the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders

Oh, dear, I still don’t know what to say about this one, having put off reviewing it to let me think it over. I know that other people found it weird, and even decided not to finish it; I was never tempted to put it down and not finish it, but at the same time, I’m not sure how to talk about it or identify what I liked.

At heart, it’s a dialogue between fantasy and sci-fi; the power of nature and the power of technology; playing out the story where natural powers have to save the world from technology, but also vice versa, and a-slant. In the end, the story comes together as a symbiosis of both, equally flawed and equally powerful. If you’re exclusively a reader of one or the other genre, you’ll probably find this profoundly unsatisfying, because as far as I can tell, it never picks a side, never decides to be one or the other. It’s both.

That aspect was probably more interesting to me than the characters, through whom it was played out. I didn’t dislike them, but I wasn’t a huge fan either, and though there was a sort of inevitability to how they came together and apart and together again, it’s not something I had any strong feelings about.

It was interesting, and definitely an absorbing read, but not one I had strong feelings about in general.

Rating: 3/5

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4 responses to “Review – All the Birds in the Sky

  1. I’ve heard raving things about this book, but probably twice as many reviews that totally panned it. From what’s been said, I don’t think this one would be to my tastes. Glad you enjoyed it though, even it didn’t quite make the impact you’d hoped for!

    • It’s… I’m still not sure what I think about it, entirely, but since I can’t even name more than one or two characters right now, only a couple of weeks after reading it… it doesn’t seem to have stuck! It was a quick/interesting read, but just doesn’t seem to have come together (for me).

  2. Mianaai

    I’m in the camp who ~loved~ this book, but I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. I think my favorite part of it was actually the narrative structure and how it played out for the two main characters.
    The first 1/3 or so is, more or less, a condensed YA novel start to finish, complete with a reasonably tidy ending… but the rest of the novel essentially tackles “what happens next”. I feel like a lot of YA novels wrap things up in a tidy bow at the end and really don’t tackle the profound life-changing effects that the events would have on the characters, or at least don’t tackle it to my satisfaction. But this book does precisely that; we see the psychological aftershocks of the first third on the now-adult protags once we hit the latter 2/3.

    On the whole, I thought it was an extremely promising debut novel; I’m really looking forward to whatever Charlie Jane Anders writes next.

    • Interesting perspective! I found the very separate sections a little disorientating; I expected continuity and then suddenly, whomp, they were grown up. I do agree it was promising, though.

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