Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

all-the-birds-in-the-sky

Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: January 26, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 432
Goodreads || Book Depository

Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths.

When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world – and live up to his reputation – in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repairing the earth’s ever growing ailments.

As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia’s shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I don’t really know where to start with All the Birds in the Sky. It was strange and unique and I can’t neatly fit it into any one particular genre. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good because I thought it was incredibly quirky and unlike anything I’d read before.

This story is about magic and science and what happens when they interact. It’s set in the near future, in an apocalyptic setting where the world is about to self-destruct and our two main characters are on separate missions to save the future. But they have two very distinct ways of going about it. Laurence, a scientist and engineer is working to create a machine that will allow people to be transported to a different planet. His philosophy – and the philosophy of his fellow scientists – is that humanity doesn’t have to be tied to this particular rock in the universe. However, Patricia, a witch with a magical tie to nature, is determined to save the future by saving planet Earth and curing it of its ailments. As magic and science go to war, what will happen to the future?

But the story doesn’t begin there. The story begins more than a decade ago when Patricia was just a young girl discovering her magical abilities for the first time, and Laurence is a young boy who is obsessed with science and spaceships, and the inventor of a time machine that can propel him two seconds forward into the future. As they make their way through middle school as the misfits and are bullied by those who despise any kind of weirdness and unconformity, they gravitate towards each other and become the other’s only friend. The first half of All the Birds in the Sky is actually about Laurence and Patricia’s past. We spend a good amount of the book learning about their friendship as teenagers and how their connection and their story would later affect the future. This section of the book was probably my favourite (and this may partly be due to the fact that I read a lot of YA) because we really got to know the characters and what they represented… as well as what they meant to each other.

But that’s not to say that I didn’t love the rest of the book too. The second half of the book is about Laurence and Patricia reconnecting as adults, after having spent high school apart. In the first section of the book about their adulthood, we get to learn more about the upcoming apocalypse as well as who Laurence and Patricia are now as adults. I thought it set up the climax really well and I enjoyed the romance that was brewing between them. However, I did feel that there was a strange transition in the book where the romance and the plot of the book just kicked off without warning. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it because even though it felt really sudden, the whole book up until that point had been setting up for that moment. My main criticism of the plot would have to be that the last 50-70 pages of the book felt a little rushed and the ending slightly unresolved. But overall, I really enjoyed the entire story.

What I loved most about All the Birds in the Sky was the writing and the pacing of the book. I loved the third person omniscient narration in this book and I found the writing to be lyrical and beautiful. The book was quite slow-paced, especially in the first 3 parts of the book, and I thought that this added to the slightly magical feel of the story. I thought the format of the book worked really well and I enjoyed following Laurence and Patricia’s story from childhood into adulthood.

The writing and narration style also made it easy to connect with the characters. I absolutely loved Patricia and Laurence separately and together. They were both strange children who stood out too much for society’s liking. They’re bullied at school and are treated with almost no affection from their parents. But they were some of the most interesting and unique characters that I’ve read about and I really appreciated their quirkiness. Together, Patricia and Laurence were amazing. They became each other’s one and only friend in childhood and also had a wonderful connection in adulthood. ‘Friendship goals’ is all I can say.

This novel isn’t going to be for everyone. But I definitely enjoyed it. If you like slow-paced fantasy stories or magical realism stories, I think you might enjoy All the Birds in the Sky. I think it’s an adult fiction novel that would appeal to YA readers too.

#ReadThemAllThon TBR Pile

readthemallthon

I’m so excited to be participating in the #ReadThemAllThon, created and hosted by the brilliant Aentee @ Read at Midnight. This readathon celebrates our love of books and our newfound obsession with Pokemon Go! To find out more about the challenges and rules, check out Aentee’s sign up post and her TBR pile!

All graphics in this post were made by Aentee except the trainer card that I made below.

trainer-card

I’m a pretty fast reader so I think I can handle having Magikarp as my chosen Pokemon. Even though it’s kind of useless, it evolves into the fiercest and most wonderful Pokemon there is, Gyarados. In this readathon, Magikarp doesn’t evolve until it reaches 450CP, so I have lots of work and reading ahead of me!


TBR Pile

ReadThemAllThonTBR

So my TBR for this readathon is actually made up of books that I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time. They’re all super popular and I’m finally getting to them now. To break things up, I’ve included one new release but I’m hoping to use these three weeks to finally catch up on some books that I should have read ages ago.
readthemallthon-badge01-boulder

It’s been a long time coming but I’m hoping to finally read The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. The Mistborn series has been sitting on my shelf for far too long and I’m finally going to conquer it next month!

647 pages, potential +64CP

readthemallthon-badge02-cascader

I’m not sure if Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys will make me cry, but I’ve read so many rave reviews that have said that it’s emotional and heartbreaking. I’m a book cryer… I cry super easily so I’m sure this one will fit the category.

400 pages, potential +40CP

readthemallthon-badge03-thunder

For this one, I’ve gone with Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I’ve heard countless good things about it and everyone says it’s their favourite Schwab book so I’m going to trust the hype and dive in.

340 pages, potential +34CP

readthemallthon-badge04-rainbow

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle is the only newish release in my TBR stack but I’ve been dying to read this book! In fact I want to read it right now but I have too many other books that I need to read first T_T. This will probably be the first book I’m going to pick up for the readathon.

288 pages, potential +28CP

readthemallthon-badge05-soul

I’m going to be meeting Rainbow Rowell at the end of August and early September so I’m going to finally read Eleanor & Park this month. It was the first Rainbow Rowell book I ever bought and I actually started it as soon as I bought it… but somehow it remains the only book of hers I haven’t completed. I’ve heard that Eleanor and Park are great together in this book so I’m looking forward to what the romance has to offer 🙂

325 pages, potential +32CP

readthemallthon-badge06-marsh

For this challenge, I’ll be reading one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I’ve had All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders for months but still haven’t found the time to pick it up. This one has a really interesting synopsis with lots of cool fantasy elements. I’m excited!

432 pages, potential +43CP

readthemallthon-badge07-flame

I had a hard time choosing a book for this. I couldn’t really find an unread book on my shelf that had a cover that was entirely red. Until I remembered that I still haven’t read A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. The UK cover for this book is red!

508 pages, potential +50CP

readthemallthon-badge08-earth

Everyone’s going to yell at me in the comments about this one… but I’ve never read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Yup. But I do plan on reading at least the first book for this readathon.

374 pages, potential +37CP


There is a +20CP bonus for each gym badge/book I complete, so if I finish all 8 books, my potential total is 488CP!

And since my Magikarp can evolve into Gyarados (+120CP) when it reaches 450CP, I should have a grand total of 608CP before Twitter and review bonuses. BRING IT ON!

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books I Added To My Wishlist

ten-books-i-recently-added-to-my-wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the group at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I am featuring the ten books I have most recently added to my Book Depository wishlist. I don’t always add every book that I’m interested in to my wishlist, so these are the ones I actually plan to buy or pre-order soon.


1. The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski

If you have seen my recent reviews of The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, you will know that this is currently my most anticipated release. I need to know what happens next and I will probably die if I don’t get my hands on it as soon as possible. This one is out on March 29 in the US, but March 23 in Australia?!!!

2. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I am highly anticipating after reading The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue in December. I wanted to pre-order this one as soon as I had finished the first three books, but I might wait a bit closer to release date before placing an order. This one will hopefully be released on April 26.

3. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

This is actually one that I’ve wanted to buy for ages but it never made it on to my Book Depository wishlist. After reading Second Chance Summer last week, I now need to get my hands on everything else by Morgan Matson that I haven’t read yet ASAP, because Since You’ve Been Gone was also a hit with me.

4. Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend – Katie Finn

Like I said above… MUST. READ. EVERYTHING. BY. MORGAN. MATSON. Also, this one sounds like it’ll be hilarious.

5. The Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan

I am slowly making my way through everything Rick Riordan has written and I absolutely need The Hidden Oracle! Apollo is probably my favourite of all of the gods so reading about him as a regular teenage boy would make my year. This book comes out on May 3.

6. Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit

This book is right up my alley. World War II historical fiction is something that I cannot pass up. I won a proof copy of this book from Dymocks in exchange for a review on their website so I might not have to buy this one… Anna and the Swallow Man is released on January 26.

7. All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders

This book mixes magic and science and that’s all I need to know, really. This one is also out on January 26.

8. Love, Lies and Spies – Cindy Anstey

This book sounds so intriguing! It’s set in the 19th century and features two main characters who are so much more than they seem. Juliana is secretly a scientist and researcher, and there’s really nothing I like more than women in STEM in the 19th century. Spencer is not your average 19th century gentleman either. He’s an undercover spy and omg, I need this book. This one comes out on April 19.

9. Forever, Interrupted – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I saw CW @ Read Think Ponder’s review of this book and I must have it right now! It sounds heartbreaking and emotional, and there’s honestly not much I love more than a good ugly-cry.

10. My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

This one is marketed as perfect for fans of The Princess Bride and I LOVE The Princess Bride!! I love historical fiction novels and I love them even more when they’re funny. My Lady Jane is released on June 7.