Wednesday, July 05, 2017

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

How would you react if you spoke comfortingly to a wounded sparrow while caring for it, and it talked back to you…in English, no less? At six years old, Patricia discovers that she has the ability to converse with birds and other animals. She has always felt very different from her peers, and by the time she is in middle school she has the reputation of being a witch. Her only friend is Laurence, a geeky technological genius. The two outsiders depend upon each other to ward off their crushing loneliness and withstand being bullied by their classmates, but their relationship fades when Patricia runs away from home to start a new life and Laurence is sent by his parents to reform school.  

Fast forward ten years. The earth is coming to an end as a result of powerful storms, natural disasters and wars. This downward spiral, known as the Unraveling, is being fought by the greatest minds on earth without success. Patricia and Laurence are now adults living very different lives. They cross paths at a party, but find that they no longer have much in common and that their world views are completely opposed.  However, the two discover that they must put aside their differences and combine their magical and scientific gifts to try to stop the Unraveling and see if they can save the planet.

If you are in the mood for something humorous, whimsical, touching and yet suspenseful, All the Birds in the Sky may be just what you need! Anders combines fantasy, science fiction, sheer adventure and a quirky, delightful writing style in this winner of the 2017 Nebula Award. If you enjoy this novel, you may also want to try Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia or The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, another work that explores the clash between magic and science.

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