Saturday, November 5, 2016

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, my vote for Goodreads Choice Awards Fantasy category


Tor Books
$25.99 hardcover, available now

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 ever-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.

My Review: I voted for this book in the 2016 Goodreads Readers' Choice Awards. As you'd expect from Anders, it's a well-crafted novel. As you'd hope for from any author of SF/F, it's a layered and nuanced exploration of the tense spots the abound in the rough edges of magic and technology.

A modern fairy tale of man-power versus woman-power that fails of imagination only in that gendered dichotomy. That aside, the tale explores that clash really well. The idea that the main characters are outcasts because they're smart is, of course, spot on; the book takes on the rottenness of bullying as a subtle (as a plane crash) understory to the main tree of Otherness as Gift.

Charlie Jane Anders is not a close personal friend, so I get to say this without anybody making knowing moues at me: The lady writes the best funny dialogue in the biz. From chuckle to guffaw, it's all here. Do not wait, procure and devour soonest.

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