The Bird of the River
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The Bird of the River (The Anvil of the World #3)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  58 reviews
In this new story set in the world of The Anvil of the World and The House of the Stag, two teenagers join the crew of a huge river barge after their addict mother is drowned. The girl and her half-breed younger brother try to make the barge their new home. As the great boat proceeds up the long river, we see a panorama of cities and cultures, and begin to perceive pattern...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Tor Books (first published July 2010)
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A beautiful story of a young woman traveling along a river. Eliss is smart, observant, and hard-working, and if she were any less competent she and her brother would probably be dead in a ditch somewhere. Instead, her tenacious dedication to survival means that her brother can explore the meaning of his mixed heritage and Eliss can slowly come to understand her own character and that of her lost mother.

This is set in the same fantasy world as The House of the Stag and Anvil of the World. Like t...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
This book was originally titled "And Summer Is Coming Soon," after the game that the protagonist Eliss and her brother Alder have played to make themselves feel better. (Their childhood might be best described as unsettled.) The game goes like this:

"We have a place to sleep."
"We have a place to sleep and a warm blanket."
"We have a place to sleep, and a warm blanket, and dinner tonight."
"We have a place to sleep, and a warm blanket, and dinner tonight, and breakfast tomorrow."
"And who knows what,...more
This is a melancholy book, both because of its subject matter and because it is likely the last Kage Baker book I will ever see published, given her death last January. The speculative fiction field is lessened by her loss, and this book is a reminder of exactly why.

I suspect I will be in the minority in holding this opinion. It's a slight book, both in length and in that it is one in which not a whole lot happens. The heavy-duty world-building went on in the previous two novels, and this one is...more
Althea Ann
I am so very sad that there will be no more books set in this world. Story aside, this is just one of those fantasy worlds that you want to fall into and live in for a while… maybe not permanently, as this story and the preceding two novels, Anvil of the World and House of the Stag, show, it’s not a perfect world. It’s gritty, and plagued by many of the same social ills as our own: racism, drug abuse, casual cruelty, the oppression of the poor by the rich… but there’s also a beauty and life to t...more
Olga Godim
I’m tempted to say something generic about this YA book, like ‘a nice little story.’ And it is exactly that, pretty generic too, although it reads well.
The story follows a poor teenage girl, Eliss, a lookout on a river maintenance barge. The barge slowly lumbers up the river, checking for and removing snags (fallen trees and wrecked ships) to keep the river navigable for other ships.
From day to day, Eliss learns her craft, meets people, and basically discovers her niche in life. The novel is a...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I picked this one up under the mistaken impression that it was written for an adult audience. For YA, it’s certainly not bad, and it’s a quick and easy read, but not what I’d hoped for.

The Bird of the River is a simple fantasy tale about a teenage girl, Eliss, who loses her mother and gains a job on a riverboat. As the boat travels up the river, Eliss deals with her unhappy mixed-race little brother, a young nobleman on a secret quest, and a mystery surrounding attacks by monster pirates. There’...more
Charlotte English
Reaching the end of this slim novel was a sad experience, not just because the book is as good as one expects from Kage Baker but because it was her last. Who knows what further stories might have been told about this world, had she lived longer?

This is a gentle sort of story, even though it's a murder mystery. When their mother dies in a diving accident, Eliss (apparently about 15) and her half-Yendri brother must find a way to make a life for themselves. Eliss finds her home among the crew of...more
In the same world as The Anvil of the World and The House of the Stag, two children and their mother join the crew of a huge river barge. When their mother drowns in a diving accident, Eliss and Alder must figure out how to fit in among the crew and make a new life for themselves.

The Bird of the River doesn't have the cataclysmic, world-impacting events of the first two books, but I really liked it all the same. There's a plot thread having to do with Krelan, an aristocrat on a quest, and with t...more
Jim Mcclanahan
This is the third and last of Baker's trio of fantasy tales. It follows The House of the Stag which is a transcendant fantasy tale with epic characters and a marvelous story. By comparison, this novel is akin to a chamber piece as composed by a musician known for sweeping symphonies. I found the characters compelling, albeit confined to their roles as passengers/crew of the river boat whose name is the title of the book. Almost a "whodunit", the feisty female lead, Eliss, helps to run villains t...more
Pop Library
A character driven fantasy, wonderfully done. Eliss begins as a struggling girl, responsible for her drug-addict mother and mixed-race brother, and defined by them. Her mother dies, and with time Eliss is able to let go – even coming to understand that the pretty lies that have blossomed into a popular song express a truth about her mother deeper than the truth that she was a drug addict. She learns to let go of her brother so that he can grow up where he is comfortable, accepted, and finally hi...more
Kira Yeversky
Maybe it's that I have a soft spot for down-to-earth female protagonists. Maybe it's that I enjoy reading about the continuing antics of the Children of the Sun and the Yendri. Whatever it is, I adored this. It's rare that I enjoy the third book in a series more than the first two, but that is the case here. This book has a more linear structure than either The Anvil of the World's three distinct stories or The House of the Stag's ever-changing perspectives. Chronologically it feels like it take...more
Darius Jung
The Bird of the River is the third and final book in Kage Baker's fantasy cycle. It was released posthumously and is a fitting farewell from the author. Returning to the world created in The Anvil of the World, Baker returns to that first novel's breezy feel and anachronistic humour that made it such an unusual and enjoyable fantasy read.

The novel follows Eliss, a teenaged girl who finds herself forced to look after her younger brother by taking on work as a ship's lookout with "The Bird of the...more
Overall, I am a big fan of Kage Baker (RIP), but unfortunately, her last book fell flat for me. I didn't relate very well to the characters and the plot meandered just like the river boat in the story and ultimately went nowhere. The only thing that it had going for it was its setting and world-building. When I reached the end, I was left with the feeling of "what was the point?" The only reason I finished this book was because I enjoyed Baker's other books.

A disappointing read, which is too ba...more
When a job goes fatally wrong for their mother, teenage Eliss and her younger half-brother Alder find themselves orphaned and marooned on the barge Bird of the River. The crew takes pity and lets them stay on and the pair hope to have finally found a 'home' that welcomes them. They've lived a rough and itinerant life as a result of their irresponsible mother: Alder is half Yendari, and Eliss has had to make up the difference when their mother was wasted from smoking yellow weed.

Eliss takes to s...more
A lovely book, this--and Kage's last (?). It takes place in the same universe as The Anvil of the World and the House of the Stag, but focuses on different characters. It's the story of Eliss, whose addict mother gets a job diving for The Bird of the River, a barge which, as far as I can tell, has the sole mission of clearing navigational hazards from the river. Shortly into the book Eliss' mother dies unexpectedly, leaving her to care for her younger brother, and to find her own way in the worl...more
Eliss is a teenage girl living an itinerant life with her drug-addicted mother and young brother. Her mother, formerly a successful diver, now has trouble keeping a job because her drug habit has damaged her lungs, but she’s given a chance on the Bird of the River, a huge raft-like boat that travels and trades up and down the river on year-long journeys. Eliss shows some talent as a look-out, spotting blockages and snags upriver, and even her young brother Alder, who is half Yendri and has exper...more
I needed to start my WOGF reading somewhere, and I had heard of Kage Baker, so I figured she would be a good place. I looked at some recommendations, chose the book with the highest reader rating, put in the request at my library, and sat down to wait. While I was waiting, I started reading the e-book, The Best of Kage Baker. The stories (mostly from "The Company" series) were enjoyable, but I didn't really find them anything special.

Then I started reading The Bird of the River, and within the...more
No review yet? Oh my goodness I'm falling behind. Uh...thoughtsthoughtsthoughts...'worthwhile' thughts...(sighs).

What can I say? Through reading The Anvil of the World and then The Bird of the River I'm becoming a Kage Baker fan. Her books have a mean sense of wit, journeys through precarious lands and forests, a vividly depicted fantasy realm, and characters that stay with you after you've closed the book.

At the same time...I know that the fame of Kage Baker's fantasy is really built on her sci...more
A character driven fantasy, wonderfully done. Eliss begins as a struggling girl, responsible for her drug-addict mother and mixed-race brother, and defined by them. Her mother dies, and with time Eliss is able to let go – even coming to understand that the pretty lies that have blossomed into a popular song express a truth about her mother deeper than the truth that she was a drug addict. She learns to let go of her brother so that he can grow up where he is comfortable, accepted, and finally hi...more
Elizabeth McCollum
So far, very good. I was a little uncomfortable with the initial scenes of the kids and their mother, but now that the kids are traveling up the river, the story has gotten really interesting and very riveting. I like her world-building, it's very effortless and doesn't intrude into the plot, yet you really get a sense of a very different place. A vague sense of the Ganges in India, or the Amazon in South America, but with very obvious differences.

Finished it now, and loved it! Liked the heroine...more
Cassandra Phoenix

The worst part about starting a new series by Kage Baker is that you know there aren't going to be any more volumes in it.
Elaine Nelson
LOVE. Totally different from "The Company" books, except in the quality of the writing and the quirky realness of the characters. The main character's complicated relationship with her mother, her brother, and the rest of the world is delicately and thoughtfully drawn. Plus it's got just enough plot to keep pulling you forward.

(I almost cried after finishing, seeing "1952-2010" under her name. So very sad that there won't be any more of these.)
V. Briceland
Kage Baker's last novel is as gently meandering as the river upon which it's set . . . and unfortunately, about as soporific.
A lovely, quiet little story more about the people who inhabit it and the world they live in than the plot driving it. The setting is the same as Baker's book The Anvil of the World, but now instead of the bustling city of Salesh-by-the-Sea, we're sailing with the crew of a river barge. By turns sad, cheerful, scary, or filled with a gentle sense of the mystical.
Kay (Amber)
This book included a fascinating and believable array of cultures as well as a plot that managed to pull the wool over my eyes. The transition of the main character's mother from person to legend (and the main character's reaction to this transition) turned out to be one of my favorite points in the book. I'll be looking for more by Kage Baker in the future.
Jun 12, 2013 N. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
Technically a 3.5. Likeable characters, good world-building and setting. But deus ex machina makes me feel tired and a little spiteful, and I kept expecting, and never quite getting, to get deeper into character motivations and emotional story arcs.

Still, an engaging read, and I plan on reading the other books the author has set in this world.
Robyn Brown
First time reading Kage Baker. Really liked her style and found after finishing the book that I would have moments where I wanted to return to the river and see what was going on.....I know of the task of working my way back through Baker's collection. What a loss, so sorry I didn't find her earlier.
David Marshall
Given this may the the final novel she finished (there are short stories and novelettes actually written and awaiting publication), this is a pleasing read and will be a good way to remember her.
Claire Scott
I know this book isn't for everybody -- it's fantasy, with a leisurely pace, not all that much *happens* -- but it was such a pleasure to read! I couldn't wait to pick it up again, I didn't want it to end, and I'm so glad there are two earlier books for me to read.
Liked it more than I thought I would. Similar in style to Lois McMaster Bujold, and that's a compliment. For all that the action was limited, the novel held my interest til the end. I will be looking up more of this author's work.
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Born June 10, 1952, in Hollywood, California, and grew up there and in Pismo Beach, present home. Spent 12 years in assorted navy blue uniforms obtaining a good parochial school education and numerous emotional scars. Rapier wit developed as defense mechanism to deflect rage of larger and more powerful children who took offense at abrasive, condescending and arrogant personality in a sickly eight-...more
More about Kage Baker...
In the Garden of Iden (The Company, #1) Sky Coyote (The Company, #2) Mendoza in Hollywood (The Company, #3) The Graveyard Game (The Company, #4) The Anvil of the World

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“That is what you're making of the end of your mother's life, child. What will you make of your own?” 3 likes
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