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Wizard of the Pigeons

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  589 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
The fifth book in the Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb) backlist. Seattle: a place as magical as the Emerald City. Subtle magic seeps through the cracks in the paving stones of the sprawling metropolis. But only the inhabitants who possess special gifts are open to the city's consciousness; finding portents in the graffiti, reading messages in the rubbish or listening to warning ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 214 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Ace
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Storm Front by Jim ButcherNeverwhere by Neil GaimanHounded by Kevin HearneMonster Hunter International by Larry CorreiaAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
Urban Fantasy: Straight, No Romance
18th out of 47 books — 45 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGood Omens by Terry PratchettNeverwhere by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanElantris by Brandon Sanderson
Best Stand-Alone Fantasy Book
81st out of 187 books — 127 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,438)
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Jan 12, 2012 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...Wizard of the Pigeons is a novel with many layers. Do you choose to see Wizard as a Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome or a figure not unlike Merlin? It is a story of unrequited love, a magical quest or facing a dark past? Is Seattle magical or mundane? Is the city sheltering him or is he protecting the city? Lindholm leaves the reader a lot of room to interpret the story but nonetheless manages to write a conclusion to the story that makes all the elements fall int ...more
Alex Ristea
Stop it, Robin Hobb. (I’d say Megan Lindholm, but I’m sure that by now, the jig is most definitely up.)

A little background on this book first. I got it last year at WesterCon and had Robin sign it for me. She wrote “My tourist guide to Seattle!” on the flap. I was down in Portland this past weekend, so I thought I’d finally pick this up to read on the bus.

Wizard of the Pigeons is about a homeless wizard living in Seattle, and his wanderings through which we experience the city. Let me just say t
Carol Close
Feb 18, 2014 Carol Close rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
This book has an ending I cannot comprehend. Possibly the character loses the plot, too:) So why five stars?

This book does have a point. What things seem, and what they are, depend on how we approach them.

Everyone has motivations and rules, if we know them or not. Sometimes they are beyond our ken.

We enter the world of a character who is perhaps mentally ill, or perhaps magic, or perhaps both, and is very human. As a reader I was left with a great deal of insight.

It may be that there is magic,
Apr 29, 2008 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
Absolutely one of the best books ever written about Seattle. This is the city that I grew up in, before the tech and the shiny condos and the Starbucks on every corner. First book that I ever read that made me u-turn into the bookstore and buy five more copies to mail to friends.

Warning: it's a heartbreak of read.
Jul 06, 2014 Snowtulip rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, own, paper-book
I'm a fan of Robin Hobb, so I thought it would be great to try some of her other work. Wizard of the Pigeons as whole is an interesting concept, but the execution didn't work for me. It was a dark, dreary read that left me unsure. It was a bit tedious at times, and I really had to work to move forward with reading.
Apr 11, 2009 Dee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Dee by: no-one
A lovely magical book. I don't remember all the details as I read it a long time ago but I do remember that it was pretty fantastic. I loved the feel of the story, the way it made the city of seattle another character , and the strange and individual ways the magic was present in the main characters (cassie and her jumprope songs, the black wizard (forgot his name) and his music, and the main protagonist wizard (forgot his name also) and his power of persuasion.

I also remember that I always pict
Jan 04, 2010 Charity rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I actually didn't finish this book. I was all excited about it after reading Alien earth. I really loved that one, and the blurb of Wizard of the pigeons sounded good. However, I didn't like the writing: way too long descriptions of street scenes in Seattle and of rooms and so on. I suppose it is meant as a way to create atmosphere, but it didn't work for me. On top of that, the story is vague. I don't mind if not everything is clear straight away, but I don't like it if I can't get a grip on th ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Wealhtheow marked it as to-read
On the one hand, I love low-profile wizards in love with their city: Hellblazer's Constantine or Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift are some of my very favorite characters. On the other hand, the first few pages available on Amazon feature clunky&unnatural dialog and a wizard who doesn't seem all that likable. So I dunno. If I find this book before Think Galactic meets and discusses it, I'll read it; if not, I'll drop this.
Apr 22, 2015 Mackay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read this book a long while ago and really liked it. I just found a copy so I could have it and re-read it, and I wasn't at all disappointed.

Lindholm here was writing so-called Urban Fantasy before it became a genre with a capital G... and hers had so much more depth and meaning than the average vampire/werewolf/ancient god stories that clog the shelves now.

At its heart, this is a story of PTSD and what happens to a traumatized Vietnam vet when he returns to the States ... but it is also a st
Julie Fortin
Sep 28, 2015 Julie Fortin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Je reste mitigée face à ce livre. Je m'attendais à un monde de magie mais je n'en ai vue la trace nul part... pourtant, elle était partout! Très déboussolant mais dans le bon sens du terme. À de nombreuses reprises j'ai voulu fermer le livre car le sujet ne m'intéressait plus, mais jamais je n'ai été capable de le faire. En fait je crois que c'est le premier livre, dont le sujet ne m'intéressait pas du tout, qui est parvenu à me garder captivée du début à la fin. Et ÇA c'est de la vrai sorceller ...more
May 07, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it
Recommended to Miriam by: Anza library
Shelves: fantasy
I should reread this! I read this when I was 10 or 11 and first getting into fantasy, but I was used to the dragons-and-sorcery type stuff so I didn't really get it. Pretty much all I remember is the main character is a homeless guy who has some small magic powers but makes rules for why he can't use them.
Jan 25, 2016 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was everything I hoped it would be when I saw it on the shelf at the second hand store. It's not particularly common to just run into Megan Lindholm books, so I purchased it without even reading the blurb.
But here is my advice, if you want to read this book, clear your schedule for a day. Then choose a coffee shop that will let you sit at one of their tables for several hours, order consecutive drinks, and read. Let yourself be immersed in the fantastical city it describes. It may jus
Dec 17, 2015 Yehudit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
3.5 stars.
This book started beautifully. The writing was what immediately drew me in; I hadn't expected it to be so unique and beautiful from what I know of Robin Hobb's usual style, but it fit right in with the story.
And the story continued to be just as good: confusing, maybe, but in a way that was thought-provoking, and magical, and a little sad. I liked it a lot, even if I wasn's certain I understood what was going on on all the levels that this story was told.
Then, at the last chapter, I w
Isabel (kittiwake)
That jump rope song scared the shit out of you. You knew it didn't mean anything good when kids in the city start singing stuff like that. So you brought it to me to hear me say how bad it was. Well, it's bad.'
'Just one little jump rope song!'
'Omens and portents, my dear Rasputin. I have seen the warnings written in the graffiti on the overpasses and carved on the bodies of the young punkers. There are signs in the entrails of the gutted fish on the docks, and ill favours waft over the city.'

Jeanne Johnston
Sep 27, 2014 Jeanne Johnston rated it really liked it
I wavered between 3 and 4 stars and am not sure how there are so many rave reviews of this book. I could have gone lower, but for the fact it was well written. I guess this was as effective at world building as any other, but it may be the first world I really didn't like going to.

I love Robin Hobb. I loved the Windsingers with Ki and Vandien. I really, really, really loved the Six Duchies, Rain Wilds, and Fitz and The Fool.

Not since I slogged my way through Soldier Son have I been this misera
Angela Oliver
Jun 29, 2015 Angela Oliver rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I picked up this book because not only was it cheap, but I am a HUGE Robin Hobb fan and it sounded intriguing. Whilst an enjoyable, and often entertaining, read, it did pale in comparison to her other works. It just lacked in something, although I cannot say what that "something" might have been. Still, if you like Urban Wizardry and stories about street people, this makes for an appealing read, interjected with enough dry humour to keep even the more discerning reader content.

It is the story o
Jan 15, 2011 Juushika rated it really liked it
Living on the streets of Seattle is a man called Wizard who talks with mummies and tells the Truth to those who sit beside him on the bus. But when he and other magic users are threatened by the amorphous gray Mir, Wizard must decide if he can and will use his powers to go to war. Wizard of the Pigeons is an urban fantasy that calls to mind Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint in both setting and style: realistically-rendered Seattle is filled with clever, cute bits of magic from treasure-filled junk ...more
And unusual urban fantasy set in modern day Seattle. A homeless man with a lot of personal problems has magic powers which depend on him always keeping within set boundaries. Something nasty is heading his way and he needs to be even more careful. Except that part way through the story we start to wonder if his powers are real or part of a created reality meant to protect him from his real problems. Moves slowly and builds up to a satisfying climax. Good read.
Tom Richmond
Jul 31, 2014 Tom Richmond rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of all time... and sadly out of print.

A homeless wizard wanders the streets of Seattle. I read this before I visited Seattle and it feels like you are there. Later, I visited Seattle and discovered the places in the book. Very real. But, the book will make you wonder, "Is what Wizard it thinking real?"

In short, it's a book about a wizard, but not really about magic.
May 12, 2015 Preston rated it it was ok
Thus far this novel is the most mediocore novel I have ever read by Megan Lindholm. It was not bad by any means, the character development throughout the story was solid and I enjoyed the way Megan Lindholm depicts the protagonists interactions with people and the way he views Seattle, nevertheless the antagonist was acutely disappointing and the ending was quite anticlimatic.
Yael Shahar
Sep 29, 2013 Yael Shahar rated it it was amazing
I first read this one years ago, and only recently reread it. It is a captivating, if surreal book, that is hard to pin down. It hit on a personal level, as I have dealt with the intrusions of memory from PTSD all my life. It is not at all difficult to see the gray formlessness of an unremembered past as the embodiment of all fear and all evil.

The author's skill at scene setting and descriptions is a pleasure in itself. But even more enjoyable is the underlying premise that magic is more mundan
Daniel Magner
Sep 02, 2015 Daniel Magner rated it liked it
Interesting, cerebral, and beautifully written. However, a bit heavy on explanation at times; I got the feeling that if this were a longer book, it would be something of an ordeal. Appeals to sense of wonder, themes of learning and healing, would recommend.
Buzz H.
Oct 04, 2014 Buzz H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf
I read this wonderful little gem of a book many years ago. Today it might be thought of as a form of urban fantasy. It is, though, one of the most unique novels I have come across. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Jan 11, 2015 Aleah rated it really liked it
A thought provoking psychological tale that is steeped in magical realism. This story brought to mind my first literary love, Charles de Lint, and his delightful tales of Newford. Lindholm does her own thing, though, adding a layer of uncertainty that I don't recall in de Lint's work. This is a powerful story and I'm surprised by its obscurity.
Nov 06, 2010 Julia rated it it was amazing
I adore this book and if you find it, but it immediately. It took me years to obtain a copy after re-reading my library's copy obsessively. At any rate, this is an early work of urban fantasy that has withstood the test of time. The book focuses on a series of magic workers who live in Seattle. Wizard, the main character who is among other things obliged to look after the pigeons, has cobbled together a relatively plesant and comfortable existance living on the margins of life in Seattle. Eventu ...more
Sep 05, 2016 Nicolas rated it it was ok
I did not like it too much. The story oscillates between a roman and a shy approach of fantasy. Looks like a first try in fantasy. We never know if the hero is a crazy homeless amnesiac veteran from vietnam or trully a magician. By the end of the book I felt like I knew none of the characters intimately enough to like any of them.
Daniel Stein
Jun 13, 2016 Daniel Stein rated it really liked it
In einem spannenden und inspirierenden Setting erlebt ein mittelinteressanter Charakter eine belanglose Geschichte - was einige Längen aber auch einige Freude bedeutet.
Aug 09, 2015 ClaireS rated it really liked it
I, like others, read this a long time ago yet it has stayed with me well enough to remember the title when I was thinking back on books that I was impressed by.
Mar 25, 2016 Chhavi rated it did not like it
I believe I will stick to reading Robin Hobb as Robin Hobb. This just didn't work for me. I gave up 14% in -- and stayed that long because it's by her.
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Goodreads Authors...: Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm 1 5 Mar 06, 2016 08:24AM  
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The author also writes under the pseudonym Robin Hobb. Her real name is Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden.
More about Megan Lindholm...

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