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All the Birds in the Sky

(All the Birds in the Sky #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  43,066 ratings  ·  6,751 reviews
An ancient society of witches and a hipster technological startup go to war in order to prevent the world from tearing itself apart. To further complicate things, each of the groups’ most promising followers (Patricia, a brilliant witch and Laurence, an engineering “wunderkind”) may just be in love with each other.

As the battle between magic and science wages in San Franci
Kindle Edition, 317 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Tor Books
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Popular Answered Questions
matthew A better question would be, "Is a tree red?" but I'll attempt to answer this anyway.

If by "romance," do you mean "would this novel be categorized as a…more
A better question would be, "Is a tree red?" but I'll attempt to answer this anyway.

If by "romance," do you mean "would this novel be categorized as a romance"? If so, then we have to ask ourselves what the category of "romance" means. Does it mean that romance is the central hinge upon which the novel pivots? Or does it mean Romance, as in a tale of fantasy, knights, damsels, dragons, derring-do, honour, magic? Or does it mean "romance" is a marketing category that has very slippery semantic borders?

If you mean, "does romance feature heavily in the plot," then I would say yes. Like almost every single story. Two people fall in love as a primary plot while using the scaffolding of fantasy and science fiction stories to explore their characterization. (less)
Sarah I wouldn't specifically categorize it as a YA book, even though the two main characters are children for 1/3 of the novel. Do I think a young adult co…moreI wouldn't specifically categorize it as a YA book, even though the two main characters are children for 1/3 of the novel. Do I think a young adult could read and appreciate this book, I say yes, a mature young adult could. Of course, maturity is a personal decision which I can't answer or quantify. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  43,066 ratings  ·  6,751 reviews

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Emily May
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016
This is one weirdass book. A good kind of weird, but it definitely isn't for everyone.

All the Birds in the Sky transcends genres, refusing to find its place anywhere - is it sci-fi? Paranormal/fantasy? Dystopian/alternate world? Magical realism? In truth, it's some of all of those. A quirky and strange blend of science and magic.

I can't really liken it to anything else, which makes reviewing hard but is, ultimately, a huge compliment. I love to be able to say "I have never read anything like thi
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I hated this book.

If you want the epic rant, read on... but beware: profanity and spoilers.

(view spoiler)

Or to put it in milder terms, "I just got ran over by a mac truck."

This novel is just too important to miss, whether or not you're into SF or Fantasy, because it is both. It's a long and delightful and REAL conversation between the two, a heartfelt exploration and a synthesis, a heartbreaking tale and a true wonderment of fiction.

I guess I kinda liked it.

It's a lot more than a magical realism novel, and it's no experiment. There's nothing unreadable about it and it doesn't have t
Wil Wheaton
One of the best books I have read in ages, easily in the top three I've read this year. ...more
Will Byrnes
Self-awareness paradoxically requires an awareness of the other
A magical savant, a super genius, the world on the brink of eco-apocalypse, possible ways out, or are the solutions as dangerous as the problem? and young love. What’s not to like? Laurence Amstead is your basic pre-ad tech genius, indulging in minor projects like inventing a two-second time machine you can wear on your wrist, and developing a chatty super-computer in his spare time. He is beset, of course, by the usual school b
Hannah Greendale
All the Birds in the Sky is a trove of near misses and reads like a low-budget, bad action flick. Among its flaws, the book contains: characters who lack depth, children who talk like adults, forced romance, and a hollow plot lacking substance.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wildly imaginative, delightful novel. I had no idea what to expect from this book but I was just thrilled with this book from the beginning to the end. Patricia and Laurence, who meet each other as kids and develop a friendship of convenience that becomes much more by the end of the novel, are wonderfully drawn characters. I love how fully fleshed out the felt. There is a beautifully written scene between them toward the end of the novel, that is worth the price of admission. The plot sor ...more
I didn't want to finish this but I wanted it to be over.

A short book, but every day the Kindle would taunt me with the slow progression of %

86% . . . 90% . . . 94% . . .

I would groan and sigh every time I went to pick it up. There was no way to remember what was happening because every chapter was so different and so weird. There was very little continuity, huge time jumps, and no cohesion of location - meaning I never knew exactly when or where the charaters were.

They said get lost in a book.
Eh, I did not care much for this one.
“Children are adults who haven't yet learned to make fear their hand puppet.”
It started strong (see quote above) but quickly lost me. It’s just one of those books that you don’t feel bad putting aside for a while and pick up to finish mostly out of the feeling of obligation, constantly keeping an eye on how much longer was left in the book, hoping just to get to the end faster and be done with it - and not because I really cared to see what’s happening.
Feb 19, 2021 marked it as don-t-count
After reading Nataliya's review that contained this little snippet, I removed it from the TBR. This deserves an award, all right. The most overwrought description of a torso ever in science-fiction:

“She gazed at Laurence’s face (which looked squarer and more handsome without a big shirt collar framing it), his surprisingly puffy and suckable-looking nipples, his shaved pubes, and the way the leg and stomach hair erupted in a heart-shaped ring around the depilated zone. And she felt like they, th
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Unbelievably stupid and I loved every minute of it.

Guaranteed: lessons on how to become a bird and a witch, ice-cream-loving assassins part-timing as school advisors, inside perspective on suet and AI, magic school, nerds, bullying. Plus a healthy dose of the Absurd - enough to induce a very strong feeling of déjà lu.

I'm slowly getting a feeling that half the books I read were written by one writer. Even though their names say they aren't.

I really love how Patricia's life is focused on how one
Darth J

So I kinda loved this. We have 2 junior high outcasts named Patricia and Laurence, both painfully geeky and both destined to change the world.

Until they grow up and go their separate ways to discover that what made them different made them awesome.

Patricia goes to a magical school that was founded by the joining two seemingly disparate groups: healers and tricksters (#foreshadowing). It's like if you took The Ability by way of The Magicians for the magical aspects of her life.
Feb 01, 2016 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Eek. I gave it 85 pages, but I can't keep reading this book. The writing is pretty bad. It's stilted and unnatural, especially the dialogue. I can't get past the writing style to actually enjoy what's happening in the story. And because the novel is a weird mash-up of science fiction and fantasy—and I'm not sure if that's just accepted in this world because neither of the main characters is fazed by anything magical or inexplicable happening—it was difficult to get situated in the goings-on of t ...more
Matt Quann
As a reader, every once and a while a book comes along that charms the living daylights out of you. All the Birds in the Sky surprised, astounded, and captivated me in equal measures. Unfortunately, when a book is this good it makes it almost too difficult to review: there's little to be said that the novel won't say for itself. If you think you might like this novel, read it.

All the Birds in the Sky's hook is that it is a story that blends sci-fi and fantasy. I got the impression prior to my r
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25ish stars.

Bizarre, insightful, quirky, and unique in its examination of the relationships between and within science, nature and humanity.

Laurence and Patricia as characters are weird, dumb, and oh so real. Every step of the way I was shaking my head at them, laughing at them, rolling my eyes, screaming at them in my head and rooting for them until the end.

The novel was at once a small slice of life story about two very different social outcasts AND a giant commentary on the forces of nature
Althea Ann
Book club selection for this month.

As I started this, I wasn't sure if Anders' sense of humor was going to gel with mine, but after a bit, I actually really got into it. Actually, it might've been my favorite part of the book: lighthearted portrayals of over-the-top awfulness that although on one level absurd, on another level ring heartbreakingly true.

The first part of the book reminded me in feel of Jo Walton's 'Among Others,' (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) both in its portrayal o
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well that was a surprise! A pleasant one though. Once I had adjusted to the talking birds and realised there was much more fantasy in the book than science fiction, I settled down to enjoy what I found to be an excellent story.

Laurence and Patricia made a beautiful pair, especially once they had left home and school. What an awful school that was! The assassin/school counsellor reminded me of Terry Pratchett's books. He was very fond of his school for assassins and the amazing things they could
Book Riot Community
There are novels that come along and utterly change how you think about fiction. They challenge you, they charge you, they fire you deep into the shadowed spaces within yourself that you could only previously grasp. By the end, you simply feel entrenched, like you somehow exist deeper in this beautiful, insane world we inhabit, and can better understand the connections between everyone who lives on it. The last novel to do this to me was Among Others by Jo Walton, and I’m thrilled to say Anders’ ...more
Feb 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, ya, science-fiction
The premise for this book could have worked...but, well- it didn't! I have enjoyed "some" really well written and engaging YA book. This book read like a YA novel written by a tween. ...more
Larry H
There were a number of times while reading Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky that I thought, "How am I going to review this?"

What I realized, however, is that while the book was utterly different than I expected it to be from the blurbs I read, and there's much about the plot that defies description, I found it to be an ambitious, poignant, slightly meandering, somewhat imperfect book, which packs a resonant, emotional punch.

Laurence and Patricia meet in middle school. Both are
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the Birds in the Sky is a very different book. Part science fiction and part fantasy, it also has a feel of magical realism. It follows the friendship of Patricia, a witch, and Laurence, a science genius, from middle school to adulthood.

On the surface the story is about the collision of the worlds of magic and science set against the decline of both the natural world and society. Embedded in that context is the more personal story of friendship and love, what that means, and how it can take
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This multiple-award-winning fantasy is Tor's free ebook of the month (Sept. 2018) if you join their free ebook club here: https://www.tor.com/2018/09/18/downlo... If you like fantasy and SF, this is definitely worth doing. No purchase necessary, no commitments, the monthly free ebooks are high quality (usually books I was already interested in), and the weekly Tor newsletters are actually interesting and non-annoying. I highly recommend it if you're a SF/fantasy reader.

Tip: Click on the above T
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
An utterly unique book. Parts of it bear resemblance to things I've read before, but as a whole, it's completely original. And heartbreaking, and confounding, and joy-inducing, and terrifying.

I won't soon forget Patricia and Laurence. Nor do I ever want to.
Liam || Books 'n Beards
So after a really promising first half, this book entirely fell apart for me in the second half.

The concept was neat, the characters were great, but the plot was just... what. Maybe this is one of those situations where the impressiveness of the writing and the symbolism and all that shit has gone over my head, but I've always been a strong believer in a story standing on its own merits without needing anything on top of it, and in the end the story this book was telling was - while unique - fan
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, nebula-winner
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I need to think about what I write because it's a novel that could easily be misrepresented, but I loved it so much I am BURSTING. I feel like I need to write Tor publicity a handwritten thank you note WITH A GLITTER GEL PEN for letting me read it early. It was everything I didn't know I wanted. :D READ IT AND THEN COME TALK ABOUT LOVE AND CONSCIOUSNESS AND SACRIFICE WITH ME!!!

More thoughts: http://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org/20...
Lovely book that I think lost itself some in the second half.

Recommendation: If you enjoy your fantasy or science fiction with more contemporary fiction elements, with a magical realism feel, you'll like this one. I recommend a library or a paperback buy. If you own it already I'd say a medium-high priority.

This is a story about two outcasts, one magical and one technological, that grow up together, grow apart, and then find themselves again after college, only to experience a horrible geologi
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I pre-ordered this book because I was excited for it - I have enjoyed Anders' short stories and this one sounded interesting. It defies genre boxing for the most part - there is fantasy, magic, science fiction, apocalypse, and the strange healing power of madrigals. But I like how all the parts fit together, and didn't find it messy or like the author was trying to cram too much in there.

I think part of why these elements work is that they aren't the point of the novel. The focus is the friends
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, fantasy
I wanted to enjoy All the Birds in the Sky based on the recommendation of Roxane Gay and one of my close friends, but alas, I did not. The book follows childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead, who part ways in high school but cross paths as adults right about when the planet descends into chaos. Patricia is a talented witch who graduated from Eltisley Maze, a hidden academy for those with magical powers, and Laurence is an engineering genius whose fellow group of scientists aims ...more
Steph Sinclair
I'm putting this aside for now. It's good, but I'm struggling to keep interest. ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird is...weird.

All the birds in the sky is...a whimsical novel. Okay, it is freaking weird, which was a positive thing for me, but I can see why not everybody would enjoy it. It's definitely not a book I would recommend to everyone, in spite of the fact that I did enjoy it a lot.

The positive thing is that I can say without a doubt that I've read something unique. If you're looking for something original I would definitely suggest you give this book a try.

The fact that symbolism permeates the e
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My latest book is Victories Greater Than Death. Coming in August: Never Say You Can't Survive: How to Get Through Hard Times By Making Up Stories.

Previously: All the Birds in the Sky, The City in the Middle of the Night, and a short story collection, Six Months, Three Days, Five Others.

Coming soon: An adult novel, and a short story collection called Even Greater Mistakes.

I used to write for a si

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