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Wizard of the Pigeons

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  55 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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...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
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,
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.
Louis Corsair
The prototype of real urban fantasies.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 11, 2009 Dee rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
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
Jeanne Johnston
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
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
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
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
Tom Richmond
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.
WIZARD OF THE PIGEONS, like it's protagonist, straddles the worlds of magic and reality.

I love this book. The Seattle Megan Lindholm lays out in its pages is a place of magic and wonder, where anything can happen. This is the story of Wizard, who guards his enchanted city of Seattle with the Knowing. In return for this magic he has to live by a set of strict rules, otherwise the city could fall to evil. When evil does come to his city, it takes the form of a dark and menacing presence from his p
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
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
Buzz H.
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.
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.
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
Great moments, but a little slow at other times. Fantastic glimpse into the life of a homeless person and feeling for Seattle as a city.
This was a surprise read. The Seattle Public Library posted it in their pinterest feed without any background info and I decided to take a chance on it. I wound up having to get it through ILL from IL because there aren't a lot of libraries that still carry it. It was worth the effort. On the outside it seems like a fantasy novel, but on the inside it could be read as a first-person account of PTSD and most likely schizophrenia and homelessness. I'd recommend reading it if you can get your hands ...more
Nice book... But still, I've not been really convinced. I don't know why. The "magic" Robin Hobb usually puts in her books is not the same in this one. I'm used to travel in wonderful worlds with her and in Wizard of the Pigeons, Seattle does not become the theater it could have been. Maybe that's why she wrote it with her real name? I don't know. I think Urban fantasy is not the style she is very good at. I'm a huge fan of Robin Hobb... But Megan Lindholm did not convince me. I probably should ...more
Lisa Grabenstetter
It takes a while to really get going, but when it does it's good. I especially loved the strange, complex character of Cassie, and the tenuous rules and networks built around the wizard community.
Felt more like a novella than a novel, and I really wish it weren't a stand-alone book. Too many good ideas to cut it off so short, and leave so much unresolved.
I also disagree with the reading the one spoiler reviewer had: there is definitely a real fantasy world here, it's just a very hard one to ac
Fran Jacobs
This is probably my favourite book by Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb, and certainly in the top five of my favourite fantasy books. It's a beautiful, detailed book, but such a simple story. The Wizard lives on the streets of Seattle, and a grey mist, an evil presence, MIR, has come for him. The Wizard has to find the strength to battle MIR, but also to battle himself, his past - in Viet Nam, and what he became there, and toaccept and settle into his present, as a homeless man, as the Wizard of the Pie ...more
Alan Denham
This requires rather more from the reader than most fantasy - it is in the "magical realism" category, where the reader needs to bear in mind the possibility of a wholly magical world - or that the story is happening in the mind of a mentally damaged ex-soldier, now a drop-out - or something in between! The story is told slowly, but with some subtlety. I would normally look for something a little faster-paced, but this is pretty good!
An interesting take on urban fantasy, but it feels like part of the story is missing. The characters that readers are seemingly expected to care about are not fleshed out enough to justify the feelings of worry or distress Lindholm is trying to evoke I her audience. It was nice, however, to see some similarities of imagery and theme that can be found in her later works. Especially the Farseer and Liveship Traders trilogies.
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.
Sarah Sammis
While the bulk of the story is a captivating way of experiencing the magic of Seattle and harsh realities of being a homeless vet the novel is book-ended with a slow opening and a confusing ending. In both cases I found myself rereading passages just to figure out what was happening. The slow start nearly kept me from reading the rest of the book but I am glad I had continued reading.
A strange and rather wonderful book. A man in Seattle is living on the margins as part of the requirements to maintain his wizard powers. He must defend Seattle from a magical attack. Or he's a crazy, homeless guy whose family doesn't want him back.[return][return]I got caught up in each story, and uncomfortable with the portrayal of homelessness.
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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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