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The Nightjar

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  852 ratings  ·  222 reviews
The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know.

Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life...until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an 'aviarist' capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best fri
Paperback, 463 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Tor Books
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Stella Jorette It's a conventional hero saga saddled with an unimpressive heroine. The trappings are of some interest, but check the content of the two star reviews …moreIt's a conventional hero saga saddled with an unimpressive heroine. The trappings are of some interest, but check the content of the two star reviews to see if you could weather the story's problem areas. (less)

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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  852 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read this and other reviews at Ampersand Read.

I adored the concept for this book. Much like the concept of animal manifestations of human souls in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, the idea of birds as guardians of their humans souls sounded incredible. But unfortunately this book got me turning pages because I was so fed up and frustrated and just wanted the story to end. Why, you ask?

Because the main character is a complete and utter idiot.

Maybe that’s harsh. I’ll put it another way: Alice
Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!

I was pretty much a crackhead addicted to this read at first. It was hard to put down, don't you dare do it type of read with endless sleepless nights spent living with no regrets book until I was half way through the read and the momentum started to plummet downwards. Fast. And the plummet started happening due to my utter dislike for the heroine Alice. Talk about a dumb broad. She was careless with her actions despite being warned time and time again everyone and their mother t
Katie Steele
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight!
This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Every once in a while, a book seemingly comes out of nowhere, wrapping it pages around your heart, stamping its words there. The story of The Nightjar found its place in my heart, and I think it’s going to be settled there for a long while.

The Nightjar is simultaneously original and familiar. Its story builds upon t
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
soul birds + death cults + alternate London + some undertaker-looking guy called Crowley. The Nightjar has them all, and it makes for a really fascinating and unique read.

I have a lot of thoughts about The Nightjar. At points it was a 3.5 read, and at others it was 4.5. It was was slow in parts and quick in others, sparse and yet overstuffed. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I recommend it? To a certain reader, definitely.

Interestingly, I would have split this book into a duology. The last hundred pa
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am completely gutted I won't be finishing this book, I was loving it so much. I love birds - I would even go so far as to say I (might) have an obsession with birds, so to find a book where they are guarding our souls - I was in heaven! Unfortunately at page 150 there is an animal abuse scene that I have decided I just can't gloss over as I usually do. This is several pages of dog fighting. Maybe IRL they don't have the issues in the UK that we do in the US? Usually I just flip pages really qu ...more
Lori Tatar
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Nightjar is a compelling story about a young woman who discovers she has some unusual gifts, and becomes a target for those who want to take advantage of her abilities. At times horrific and with no lack of violence, this is not for the faint of heart. It is beautiful and ugly and even divine, read this and see how Alice returns from Death’s own kingdom, and the price that must be paid. This tale elicits an incredible range of emotions, from hatred and pain to love and compassion, and everyt ...more
Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.5

If I hear alternate London and magic in the same sentence, there is 100% chance that I will want to read that book. Throw in a unique magic system and I’m beyond happy. The Nightjar sounded amazing but ultimately tried to do a little bit too much.

I was absolutely engrossed for the entire first half of the book. The magic system absolutely fascinated me, the characters were engaging and multi-dimensional, and the plot was fantastic. I was ready to give this book five stars. And then I
Emma Smyth
Nov 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
It's taken me a while to do this review. I thought I'd give myself some time between finishing the book and posting this because there was a slim possibility my views would change a little bit. But I'm finding that my initial sentiments about this book are much the same, so here goes:

I wanted to like this book so bad. The concept is fascinating and the world building was thoughtful and interesting but the plot, characters, and writing are sub-par.

Alice is this clumsy little brat who can't do any
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magical journey into a hidden world

My thanks to Pan Macmillan for an eARC via NetGalley of Deborah Hewitt’s ‘The Nightjar’ in exchange for an honest review.

I quickly fell in love with this novel and as it had just been published I elected to purchase its Kindle/Audible combination for an immersive experience. The audiobook was brought vividly to life by its narrator, Tamaryn Payne.

Alice Wyndham has had a fear of birds her entire life and at times has frightening visions of them. Her best frien
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

The Nightjar is a fantasy novel set largely in an alternate London. Alice Windham, aka wrecking ball, is a young woman who crashes out of her everyday life one morning when a package, addressed to her but labeled "do not open" is left upon her doorstep. From the moment the package is delivered, her life careens out of her control. First the woman who apparently sent her the package dies in her arms, making her late to work, her job becomes a disaster, her dearest friend is hit by a car,
Erin Newman
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I won an arc of this book in a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.

I thought the concept of this book was very interesting! The idea that there are guardians for our souls and only certain people can see them is really cool. Throughout the book, we follow Alice as she navigates the Rookery, escapes the Beaks, and tries to find her way to the land of death to retrieve her best friend's (Jen) nightjar. Something that I really appreciated in this book we how well the Rookery was thought out
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Interesting idea but tedious characters - I gave up. Life is too short!
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
This is an absolutely stunning and unique read, the world building is phenomenal and the writing just beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect from this, but I was left pleasantly surprised by one of my favourite reads of this year, so original, clever, it’s a captivating read and just so magical. Looking for something new , interesting and original, look no further, pick up this book and step into an amazing world.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Kathryn Wonders
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this one! The characters are engaging and the storyline unique. It was a quick read and now I’m left wanting more. I do hope Ms Hewitt has plans for some companion books. It would be a shame to let these characters go.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was entertaining read with great yet flawed cast of characters, interesting fantasy elements and complicated slow burn romance subplot. What surprised me was the importance of finnish mythology in the world-building and lore: things like Väki, sielulintu, Tuoni and so on. I'd say it was, for most of part, done well, even if the overall setting was as far from anything finnish as possible.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
THE NIGHTJAR is a solid fantasy debut set in a magical parallel London hidden beneath the London we know. Alice (clumsily) stumbles through this new world on a quest to save her best friend, never certain about who she can trust.

The world building is fun: the magic is primarily based off of the elements (other than Alice's own ability to see people's souls) and another character who can travel through doors. I love alternate London stories and enjoyed exploring it alongside Alice. The plot and p
Heather Collins
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, got so sucked into this story. Such a different spin on magic, loved it!
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having had no idea what to expect from a cursory glance at the cover, this book surprised me in the best possible way. The protagonist, Alice, appears at first to be a normal woman having a very bad day. I felt sympathetic to her right from the start and the writing style effortlessly drew me into her life as she discovered a hidden world called the Rookery. The secondary characters were all well fleshed-out - I particularly liked Jude, and an eye for detail made the fantasy elements unique. I w ...more
Michelle Kenneth -
This is more of a 3.75.

Very interesting take on death, the soul, etc. It reminded me a lot of 'dust' from His Dark Materials/Golden Compass from Philip Pullman.

I literally did not trust anyone in this story. There were a lot of whoa moments and twists towards the end. I did find it interesting that Exodus is a huge part of this story. But I don't think I quite understood why the 10 plagues were so important. I understood where the book was going with it, but I kind of sat there going...really,
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fairytales
I think my rating is affected by the time I am reading in. We are all a little more sensitive to how inclusive stories are right now, and so I cannot help but notice that unlike other stories with alternate Londons, Hewett has essentially created an all-white version of that multicultural city. Her mythological universe is based on Scandinavian (specifically Finnish) mythology and people descended from that heritage who carry essentially fairy DNA. Her Rookery city therefore is entirely white an ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advance reading copy through a goodreads giveaway.

The Nightjar has an interesting mix of mythology, magic, and story, taking place mostly in a modern London and its hidden twin where those with magic in their blood live. I don’t have any idea if the mythos (I think it was Finnish) mentioned in the book are real or created for the book, but I enjoyed them either way. They worked well, and were woven into the story in a convincing manner. I love the way the book began. I was immediat
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This book sucked me in from the very first page. I barely wanted to put it down because of the style and concept.

The plot: Interesting concept and we know that Alice wants to save her friend Jen's life. The problem here is that the one driving force of this whole novel is something I'm not that invested in. We see Jen in the beginning and then she's gone in a coma. Then, the way that conflict is "resolved" irritated me.

Characters: My problem is with Alice. She's born special (overdone trope). S
Stella Jorette
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book; a portal to an alternate London, magic laced with Finnish folktales, pursuit by villainous xenophobes. HOWEVER, I can't enjoy a story unless I'm rooting for the heroine. And how can you root for a heroine who's stupid and impulsive, unable to trust or communicate, physically inept and shlubby.

On top of all that, she's fallen for a guy who's a brooding schmuck who also can't communicate. His "witty banter" is often just plain mean, and he's mega-passive aggressive, wi
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've probably rated this lower than I should, but part of that will reflect my disappointment. This sounded like many of my favourite things in a book: alternative London, birds linked to souls, creepy mentor, gothic imagery. Instead, it had a protagonist who was the true definition of an irritating, ridiculously accident-prone idiot, harbouring feelings for her mentor who does nothing but lie to her and treat her like crap and experiencing zero character growth. The novel has stilted dialogue, ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a richly interesting book, filled with fantastical flair. Death cults, sacrificial suicides, the character of death, there's lots to enjoy in this one. Oh, and an evil bitch villain that I'm meant to hate but seriously love.

At the start, it was hard to put down, as it was at the end. The middle kinda dragged for me if I'm honest. Alice was such a wonderful disaster, loyal and stubborn to a point she gets herself and others in trouble. Crowley was interesting, I love him yet hate him all at
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Alice leads a fairly ordinary life in London sharing a flat with her BFF and working in market research for a shoe company. But one fateful day she receives a mysterious package and an old lady dies in her arms muttering a strange message. The appearance of the enigmatic Crowley plunges Alice into a life she never knew existed and a destiny she didn't know she had. This was a fantastic debut plunging the reader into an alternate London full of people with magical abilities and shadowy conspiracy ...more
Kylie Corley
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The cover alone was the reason why I wanted this. It took me awhile to get through it because Alice was such an annoying main character for 3/4 of the book. I loved learning about Finnish lores and such. I would really love another book, to see what happens next. Besides I'd love to learn even more about Crowley and also about August.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
incredible premise, so much potential for worldbuilding. unfortunately had the most incompetent, obtuse, inane main character and all the other characters are largely two-dimensional as well. the ‘twists’ and ‘betrayals’ aren’t executed very well. was entertaining enough but mostly frustrating.
Christina Reid
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this! Set in an alternate London populated by people with special powers linked to water, fire, earth and air, it follows Alice Wyndham. Adopted as a young child Alice cannot remember her birth family, but has learned to stop telling people about the birds she can see darting around and perching invisibly on people's shoulders. When two strange men appear, telling her conflicting stories about her power and her best friend, Jen, is involved in a near-fatal car accident, it seems like the o ...more
Lezidezi Higgins
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I love the mix of mythologies and blood lines. All the detailed descriptions of the Nightjars were so interesting and fit their humans perfectly. I love the history of the magic and legacies!
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