List Page » Non-List Reviews » Details of Review » Updates
  • TITLE: All The Birds In The Sky
  • AUTHOR: Charlie Jane Anders
  • GENRE: Mnstream/Fantasy/SciFi/YA



"We've got to get off this rock," proclaims Laurence. "All our models suggest a decent likelihood of a catastrophic combination of natural disasters and destructive war, within one or two generations" . . .

"This planet is not just some ‘rock'," replies Patricia. "It's not just some kind of chrysalis we can shed, either. You know? It's, it's more than that. It's us. And this isn't just our story. As someone who's spoken to lots of other kinds of creatures, I kind of think they might want a vote."



And here's the basic subtextual conflict given to us in dialogue: science verses magic as salvation in a scenario of oncoming apocalypse. It is the debates between Patricia and Laurence that make the book rock, and, it is their mutual affection that rises this work from the cross-threaded genre bundle it is formed out of and onto a contemporary pedestal of fondness, admiration, and literary respect. It is a geek novel for the masses and a love story for those who believe the important things are temporal yet intangible.

The first part is all YA origin and urban fantasy. It immediately establishes that this is not our shared reality with nerdy gizmos like the 2-second time machine and Patricia's conversation with Skrrrrth, a blue jay who teaches her to enjoy suet. These kids are both treated as outsiders at school. Patricia, as yet unskilled in her witchiness, feel her peers see her as an "evil psycho"(p.72) because of her attitudinal differences. Laurence, on the other hand, is your typical—and easily identifiable—computer, science nerd; you know, the kind who can build a supercomputer to sententiousness in his closet but gets peppered by flying tator tots during lunch period. Fortunately, this section reads fast and goes away even faster; however, it does plant Theodolphus Rose—an assassin shading as a student guidance counselor—for future, dire purposes. But there's no by-the-grades at Brakebills College or Xavier's, although Patricia attends Eltisley Maze, a school of necromancers offstage between the novel's timejumps.


Okay, here's what happens when you start a review of a project you haven't completely finished. Firstly, plot worms wiggle in different directions than I anticipated. Theo Rose ends up a useless bauble—like a wooden knob on a keychain or something—in a showing of the witch power. Secondly, flashbacks give us naughty schoolkids pulling pranks and such with novice magic tricks. I'm not going to bother with ultimate story direction. Civilization is dissected in witty banter; characters polish their characterizations with bromide paste; this happens in the Bay Area, so how come I don't recognize it? Well, because this one keeps slipping away into a nondescript wasteland. It just all seems so silly after awhile. And I don't mean PKD silly. I ended up feeling the argument between magic and science was inconsequential.

Departed at page 282 out of 431.



text only © copyright 02/08/2016 by Silver Lynx LLC

List Page » Non-List Reviews » Details of Review » Updates