My rating: 3.8/5
This is an interesting and original story that falls into both the fantasy and science fiction genres, which is a bit unusual. Set mostly in the San Fransisco area, this book has a little bit of everything – geeky references, awkward teenage angst and “coming of age” story, futuristic tech references, magic (even with a wizarding school) and just a touch of romance. Whew, that’s a lot, especially for what feels like a pretty short book.
A few things to note (spoilers!):
1. This book has that “good feel.” I’m not sure how else to describe it, but you probably know what I mean. It is fun to read and you like the characters. And you want the characters and world to keep on going so you’re sad when it comes to an end.
2. Although a lot of books in this genre are good YA books, I don’t think this is one of them. There’s too much sex in it and it’s handled pretty flippantly. If that fits with your morals and you’re OK with your teenager reading that, so be it. But be informed. Also, it’s generally darker.
3. Not a real happy ending. In fact, it’s abrupt. Like the manuscript deadline hit and there was an all-nighter to get it finished.
• Interesting characters where you get to see real character growth and that growth actually makes sense.
• Extremely interesting events and plot topic(s)
• Much better than average world-building (like I said, it’s a comfortable & fun place to be while you’re reading it)
• The crux of the book is that both the tech side and magic side are worried that a great ecological disaster is coming. But this is just “assumed” to be the case without bringing the reader into this “understanding” through plot-building. It makes it feel like a hollow threat.
• There are a couple of “big battles” that are very momentous but essentially glossed over.
• The book essentially “builds” all the way to the end and then when you actually get there it ends pretty abruptly (as previously mentioned).
Overall, I enjoyed All the Birds in the Sky. But I think it would have been better as a 2 or 3 part series (300ish pages each).
Also, I “read” this as an audible unabridged audiobook. The narrator did a fantastic job bringing the book to life.