All The Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Magical Realism/Apocalypse
Synopsis: Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages. A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.


Review: Ooooh this book. This book. And look at that cover. I really liked it, but I didn't quite think it was amazing, and I'm honestly not sure if that's down to me, or to the book.  It started off fantastically, with introductions to characters I immediately liked and wanted to know more about. It  is also made up of a mishmash of genres, including fantasy (almost fairytale fantasy, not high fantasy), sci-fi, an alternate futuristic version of our world which is facing an apocalypse... like I said, it's a mishmash, and for me it mostly worked and came together very well in the end. The fairly light writing - at times very funny, but at times a little questionable - and easy-to-read nature of the book means it is pretty easy to get through.

Ultimately, Patricia represents nature (magic) and Laurence represents science, two things which oppose each other and proponents of which view the impending apocalypse very differently. Starting off with the origin story for each of the main characters, the novel then follows them through their adult years. I found the mid-section of the novel waned, the initial adult years. I think what I found difficult to invest in was the sheer scale of this world the author created, with so little access to it. I felt like the world was too big for this one book, and would have benefitted from being broken across two books. It also jumped back and forth between the present and past of the characters, documenting little pieces of backstory like Patricia's time at Wizard School, which I felt fit very disjointedly and seemed, not irrelevant, but like infodumps slotted in where necessary to make sense of the plot.

It's a character driven novel, that's for sure, which is essentially about two people so metaphorically different that it seems impossible they can ever be friends/lovers/whatever. I'm not precisely sure what the metaphor is for, but the sheer scale of what's happening in this book makes me feel like it's gotta be a metaphor for something. Love conquers all? I dunno. I guess my ultimate feelings about this book are very mixed. I want to love it. I feel like there's something in there which, with a little more attention, I could latch onto and comprehend and love. So I'm going to give it four stars for now, and re-read it at another time.

Rating: 4/5

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