All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders
Published: January 26th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fiction
My Rating: 3.5
Patricia Delfine is a graduate of the secret academy for the magically gifted. Her childhood friend Laurence Armstrong is a brilliant scientist and engineer. Together, separately, and again together, they muddle through postmillennial life and love in a world careening into chaos.
I received this ARC from my job at Books A Million. My opinion is completely my own and does not reflect on the views of Books a Million or its employees.
Due in January of 2016, All the Bird in the Sky will be a great winter read. All the Birds in the Sky takes a new approach at fantasy and science fiction. Both exist in the world Anders has created. Written from the primary points of view of Patricia and Laurence, Birds is a book about opposites.
Patricia Delfine is many things. The most prominent thing she is is a witch. Patricia is also compassionate, honest, and a glutton for punishment. In many different parts of her life, Patricia is blamed for the actions of others and refuses to acknowledge this. For some reason, she thinks she deserves the punishment meant for others and does not stand up for herself. There is a want in her to be accepted by anyone, her parents, her peers, even her sociopathic sister. She dreams and wishes to be whisked away from her family life, but doesn’t do anything to change it until she is absolutely forced to.
Laurence, on the other hand, is a scientist. He is a “do-er,” somebody who doesn’t wait for the world to change but decides to change it himself. He is drawn to science because it is something he can control, unlike the rest of his life. His parents force him to go to a multitude of camps because they want him to “experience life.” No matter how often he tries to talk to them and tell them what he wants, they are insistent on forcing what they want on him. Laurence is also selfish; many times he thinks about himself and how his actions will help him before thinking of others. This isn’t always the case. There are at least two moments where he is selfless, willing to do anything for his friends.
• The Combination of Fantasy & SciFi
When we think of these two genres, we often think of them as separate entities. Rarely are there fantasies with scifi, though I think there are many scifis with fantasy elements. Birds combines the two almost effortlessly. There are times the story seemed either too perfect or too messy. The majority of the book, though, weaves the two concepts as if they need each other to work.
• The levels of witchcraft & technology
We meet our main characters as children and leave them as young adults. Throughout all of this, we see different depths of both witchcraft and technology. When we first meet Patricia, she has a conversation with a bird. When we first meet Laurence, he builds a two-second time machine. Later, Patricia is able to turn herself into a bird. Laurence creates an AI similar to SmarterChild. As adults, their talents only grow, revealing just how powerful the two really are.
• The friendship between Laurence and Patricia
These two rely on each other for so much. They are both considered freaks at their middle school, but for different reasons. Patricia is often called “emo bitch,” while Laurence is given swirlies and has his books/food knocked out of his hands. Laurence can often stay under the radar for a while, but only if he stays away from Patricia. She is the one who is the focus of school-wide bullying, where the kids would rather wait and destroy her in front of everyone than whisper evils to her privately. Though their friendship is tested many times, Laurence and Patricia always come back to each other.
• The Writing (Sometimes)
The worst part about reading this was the fact that it is an uncorrected ARC (advanced reader copy). I kept finding sentence fragments that drove me out of my mind. I had to correct it as I was reading and, as a grammar nerd, that killed me. This is nobody’s fault, it’s just the way an uncorrected book is. However, there were parts of the writing I was not a fan of. Some authors can get away with “lazy,” writing, which isn’t to say it’s bad because it works for the writing. Christopher Moore can do this, because many of his books are funny and read like spoofs of life. I didn’t think Birds was meant to be like that. There were times where the sentence would say, “Laurence was like, ‘Hey Alice,” as if the phrase “was like,” could replace the word, “said,” or any of its synonyms. On the flip side, there were scenes that were written so well, it completely made up for any other lapses.
• The Ending
I don’t want to spoil anything at all, so I’m not going to go into any details. The ending was just too clean-cut for me. As I was getting closer to the end of the book, I started getting nervous. There were two ways for it to end: really well or really bad. I’m not going to say how it ended, but I thought there was a lot more potential for it than how it went. Don’t get me wrong; it was definitely a new idea I haven’t seen in a novel before. It just seemed too easy.
Was this book entertaining? Yes. Could I put it down? Not once I was invested in it. It did take a few days for me to really get interested, but once I was, I couldn’t wait to figure out how it was going to end. I would definitely recommend it to any fans of fantasy or science fiction. I could only give it 3 stars on Goodreads, but if I could give half stars, I’d give it a steady 3.5 wormies.
Are you excited for this book? Is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below!