Review of KINDLE Ebook All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders


There has been a buzz about this book among the bloggers I mix with, so I bought this one with some of my Christmas book tokens. I’m so very glad I did…

allthebirdsintheskyPatricia Delfine talks to trees and birds in the hope they will answer back, as they did one amazing day when she was little… Laurence Armstead invents a two-second time machine in his bedroom. Unsurprisingly, they are both targets for the bullies at school who make their lives hell. So under duress, they become unlikely friends. A friendship that is tested and often found wanting as their lives both spin off in amazing directions…

And no – you won’t find the above blurb anywhere, but when I read the version on Goodreads it contained far too many major plotpoints over far too much of the story arc. What I won’t be doing is telling you that this is a fantasy or science fiction book, because it’s a little bit of both. After all, one of the major protagonists is a nerdy scientist and the other is a witch. And what Anders is doing throughout this highly readable, roller-coaster adventure is exploring the space between the magical, natural world and the high-tech, scientific community.

Both Patricia and Laurence are vulnerable and likeable. But both are also capable of being self-obsessed and judgemental and Laurence, in particular, is frankly something of an arse at times. However, I never stopped caring for both of them and hoping they would somehow prevail.

It’s difficult to discuss this one in any detail without giving away some of the plot progression and as I plunged into this one without any preconceptions, other than it had a cool cover about birds – I’d very much like other readers to do the same. What it isn’t, is a book solely aimed at speculative fiction fans – Anders’ sharp observations about all sorts of details in her very near-future world would chime with anyone.

What I do feel this book carries is a strong message. In the hard days to come when we will be facing a series of environmental and resource crises brought about by over-population and pollution, we – humankind – need to guard against the instinct to go for the Big Fix. We also need to keep listening out for possible solutions from unlikely quarters and not get locked within our own echo-chamber – a particular hazard for those of us who enjoy social media.

A wise, witty book with an engaging story and some apt advice for the future, this book comes with a very strong recommendation. Read it.

17 responses »

  1. I didn’t even really know what this book was about, I just remember that it sounded interesting when I saw someone else’s review of it, so I found your version of the blurb helpful 🙂 It seems like the kind of book that’s best gone into blind. And I’m glad you liked it so much! It does sound like a unique blend of sci-fi and fantasy. And I like the sound of the characters since I don’t like when characters are too perfect.

    • Yes! I tried very hard not to reveal too much about it, because I really do think it should be gone into without too much information – she plays with some of the ideas surrounding sci fi and fiction and I think they should come to the reader fresh. And you’re right – both main characters are flawed:).

  2. this is the third Praise-filled review for this book , starting to really consider it as my future read . Awesome review btw

  3. Sounds interesting! Now, let’s see if my TBR pile won’t collapse if I add another book to it…
    Thank you for your review and an effort to save us the spoilers from the blurb.

    • Oh, I regularly rewrite/shorten blurbs here. Far too many of them see fit to reveal the first act of a book – which I absolutely hate! As a reader, I want to be surprised by every plot twist coming my way – not read all about it in the bleeping blurb! *ahem* Not that I get unreasonably ranty or cross about this issue. At all.

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