Review: All the Birds in the Sky

Posted 27 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

All the Birds in the Sky
By: Charlie Jane Anders
Format/Source: eBook; courtesy of Tor.com reading club

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

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 Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, 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.

I’ve long been following io9.com back when Charlie Jane Anders was editor of the site. So naturally I was curious when I heard she had written a book and was stepping down from that site to write full time.

This book reminded me of Sally Rooney’s Normal People (review) except maybe the characters here are more messed up due to external factors (e.g. parents, classmates, their environment repressing them) than from the spectacular human ability to just self-implode. From the awful parents to awful schoolmates, awful colleagues and teachers and so forth, it was like the abuse was endless for Patricia and Laurence. I’m amazed they made it through a potential world ender, to be honest.

The novel is a mesh of different elements that would be cool if the main characters’ personal problems weren’t a total drag. I also didn’t care much for the secondary characters. Over time the further I went in the book I found I just didn’t care for the storyline about the end of the world and whatnot, lost my interest. There was almost no silver lining to the endless troubles that Patricia and Laurence faced. I still have Anders’ The City at the Middle of the Night which might pique my interest more.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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