Book Review: All The Birds In The Sky

 

I may get in a little trouble in this review, but please withhold judgment if possible. Unfortunately, I am not a fantasy or sci-fi lover. Yes, shame should rain down upon me. Even worse, I’ve never read the Harry Potter series. Yes, it’s true. I’m just not into wizards or magic. I like my fiction realistic, I bend that for post-apocalyptic books but I still really want things to be believable. I don’t do zombies, vampires, fairies etc. If I’ve let you down, I apologize.

So if I don’t like fantasy or sci-fi, why did I read this book? Well, I’m always trying to expand my horizons in reading and there are exceptions to my rule on these genres. This book sounded a lot like The Night Circus by Erica Mortenson. And I really enjoyed that book when I read it a few years back, so I was up to give this one a shot.

Safe to say that it is not like The Night Circus. Other than the young male and female protagonist with an impending ‘battle’ and magic-it is very different. Many reviewers have a hard time categorizing this novel because it involves magic and fictional science being performed in a realistic society. That was one of the reasons that this book was tough for me. It didn’t commit to a specific ‘world’ so It was confusing as a reader.

The story follows Patricia and Laurence. Patricia is a witch with a fascination for nature. Laurence is an extremely intelligent scientist caught up in time travel and rocket ships. They meet in middle school and become friends before they are torn apart-mostly by the he’ll that is middle school. This is the one part of the story that I relate to. Anders really captures how horrible middle school is and how mean those kids are. I completely empathized with Patricia and Laurence.

But things quickly shift into fantasy land and I get lost. I never get a grasp on Patricia’s ‘powers’. Sometimes she can talk to birds, she can heal people, control lightening? But she can’t do it all the time and doesn’t quite know how it works. Laurence is building a ship to take people off the planet earth to another planet when earth is destroyed. But they never discuss what planet they’d go to or even how it would all work.

Each side has a cast of characters that I can barely keep up with. They aren’t very well developed and I don’t see the significance in most of them. This inevitabley turns into a love story with a strange trajectory. It moves super slow then jumps in big before stalling. It all feels badly paced.

The eventual conflict reminds me of the big fight scene in the Avengers movie. Science death rays vs. Magical nature. It’s a little too cliche and hokey. And we don’t really get a winner or a resolution to the overall conflict of the novel. The battle just kind of ends and abnyone who isn’t dead goes home.

Again, please take this review with a grain of salt. This is clearly not my genre and that may be exactly why I didn’t enjoy it. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or understand the conflict in this story. On the plus side-she does great with her middle school depiction and the story does keep moving at a nice pace.

I’ve now reverted back to my comfort zone of realistic fiction before I get bold again.

~Lauren

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