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The Nightjar

(The Nightjar #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,599 ratings  ·  343 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 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,599 ratings  ·  343 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
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
Sheena ☆ Book 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
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
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
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
The struggle was real. I was on the verge of quitting reading this book on many occasions during the 3 months it took me to be done with it. The only thing that got me through was skimming those last chapters. What’s there to like? The excess use of idioms was nauseating, the main character was annoying, the dialogues were the definition of cliché, huge chunks of the book could be easily removed and that wouldn’t have any significant impact on the plot, the research efforts made by the author to ...more
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
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was ok
Edit: Lowered to two stars. Thinking on this book I just did not like it mainly because the two main characters left no impression on me.
Edit 2: I decided to just rant on male love interest just because. We need more men like Josuke Higashikata in our novels.

So I wont be reviewing much anymore. I don’t have the time to read bc of personal stuff and blah blah. In short I don’t have time to read these days. The world is ending soon, I want to spend that time doing other shit.

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!
Nov 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
Wanted to love...then, wanted to abandon...then, pushed myself to finish...then, disappointed by the unsatisfying end. It was a journey.

I knew we were in trouble when the opening salvo is a woman heading to work who is creeped on by an old lady who then dramatically dies in her arms after delivering a cryptic message, and the woman...stills goes to work. Who does that?

This book had too much suspension of reality to feel engaging. Too much incredulousness by the characters to feel authentic (lots
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
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
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. ...more
Rebecca Lindau
Feb 08, 2022 rated it it was ok
I don’t even know how to feel about this book. I loved the world I loved most of the side characters I loved the magic but everything else just sucked. I had such a hard time getting into the book the first 50 pages were so full of action and information it left me overwhelmed and confused the whole time but once I finally got into it it was just full of issues. The main character was a selfish idiot who never thought things through and the interactions between her and Crowley were so insufferab ...more
Dorothy Wise
Jan 13, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i read 54% of the book in one sitting just to finally finish it, damn it.
let's see: the Finnish mythology part? nothing really, just throw in some Finnish fancy-sounding words, that will do it, thanks.
the alternative london part? pfff, no atmosphere at all, it could be anywhere in this fricking world, and i kept thinking how much happier i'd be if i was rereading neil gaiman's neverwhere. so much happier.
the story itself? i'm sure there are at least ten major plotholes, but i'm not sure, becau
Demelda Penkitty
Oct 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
All her life, Alice has been haunted by visions of birds. But when the mysterious Crowley appears at Alice’s door, he reveals she’s been seeing nightjars – the miraculous birds which guard our souls. And a shadowy faction wants to use her rare gift to hunt the magically gifted.

Forced to go on the run, Alice follows Crowley to an incredible alternate London, to hone her talents. But can she trust him? Alice must risk everything as she navigates a dangerous world of magic, marvels and death cults.
Aug 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love it when you find a book that ticks all the boxes for you like The Nightjar has for me. It is full of exciting magic, the setting is magnificent introducing you to a hidden alternate London packed with intriguing complex characters and the main plot is unique and imaginative.

The idea of Nightjars that guard peoples souls is one of the most original, clever and beautiful ideas I have ever read about in a fantasy book. I loved how the author has brought in Finnish folklore and mythology int
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.
Neither one thing nor the other.
Liked the first half, but towards the end it just got TOO MUCH. It got more and more rediculous, the protagonist was very unlikeable, the plot was mostly predictable and overall I can't give this a good rating. For a fantasy book with such a good premise it really disappointed me.
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 CarolAnne McGreevy
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, got so sucked into this story. Such a different spin on magic, loved it!
Yanique Gillana
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely reads like a debut...

2.6 stars

Characters: 2
Setting: 3
World Building: 3
Plot: 2
Language: 3

This is one of those times where I think better execution would have made this an outstanding story. The main problems with this book were the main character and the lack of information. The premise was amazing and pulled me right in. The magic system had great potential that I'm still interested in seeing more of. The settings were intriguing. However, the delivery of all of those was underwhelmin
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Alice, who has been terrified of birds her whole life, discovers that she can see the nightjar on each person's shoulder--the mythical bird that guards the soul. That makes Alice an aviarist, one of the rarest descendants of the fae. When Alice's best friend is hit by a car, a mysterious stranger named Crowley tells her that she is the only one who can save her friend. Crowley whisks her away to a magical realm where Alice must learn to harness her powers, even as an anti-magic organization is h ...more
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I think this book had a lot of potential, It had very interesting concepts, new ideas, magic systems and intriguing world building. The idea that there are guardians to souls and only certain people can see them is cool. One thing I can appreciate throughout this book is how well thought out the aspects of the world and magical systems were, you can tell the author mapped out this world and the research that went into it. There were many references to folklore, culture and historical details.

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
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