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The Vanished Birds

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  432 ratings  ·  171 reviews
A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

"This is when your life begins."

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Del Rey Books
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posthuman Definitely not YA. Although one of the lead characters is a boy, the style of writing is more literary or upmarket SF, not young adult.

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Vanished Birds is a mysterious science fiction tale bathed in beautiful prose that offers glimpses of a future of seasons changing, stars within reach, technological marvels, corporate greed, and metaphysical depth.

Starting with a distant world, a colony frozen in time except for brief decades-apart visits from offworlders. You get a strong juxtaposition of the few backward souls living simple lives and the grand civilization out there. A young boy exploding from the stars changes everything.
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

A young boy falls from the sky. He is mute, but eventually finds his voice with a wooden flute and the magic of music. There is something very special about this boy. Myriad worlds in outer space have become established now. The blue sky overhead may very well be virtual, cherry blossoms no longer exist except in memory and fireworks. Digital glamour is all around, artificial youth and designer babies are par for the course. All tempered
There is a promising glimmer of brilliance in The Vanished Birds, the debut sci-fi novel by Simón Jiménez. It pains me to consider what a masterly work this might have been with some additional polish, scenes cut or added here and there. Keep an eye on Jiménez, though. He will likely become one of the important voices in this genre in the coming years.

The first forty pages or so had me engrossed in the life of a young boy growing up in a primitive farming community on an alien world. He falls
Elizabeth Willis
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: six-stars, team-prh, sff, queer
The first few chapters are like the kind of perfectly encapsulated short stories you always want to be a novel and then this IS a novel. And from then on it's just casually a far-reaching space opera of stunning emotional depth (and beautiful prose) with a cast of radiantly queer characters that will teach you the meaning of chosen family. No big deal.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, upcoming, arcs-tbr
This book is so difficult to put into words. The blurb isn’t inaccurate, but at the same time I feel like it doesn’t do a great job of conveying how brilliant this story really is. Nia Imani is captain of a space crew, transporting goods for Allied Space. The problem is, they travel by what is called pocket space, eight months for her is the equivalent of fifteen years planet side. She watches her friends’ and lovers’ lifetimes go by in just a few short years. We also follow Fukimo Nakajima, the ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Intergalactic traveler, Captain Nia Imani, was hired by the Umbai Company to complete six cycles of crop collection from distant farming worlds. Nia's ship "Debby" folded into "pocket space" where a journey of mere months across space and time could tabulate to one and a half decades of time in a far away world. Nia, an offworlder, landed in Kaeda's family community every fifteen years to collect the harvest of dhuba seeds (seeds with a mauve patina). On Shipment Day, a great banquet was held ...more
Thank you for the ARC, Del Rey Books!

This story sounds hauntingly beautiful and I am looking forward to getting to it.
Lisa Wolf
The Vanished Birds is both lovely and perplexing, a science fiction story about space travel and corporate domination that’s also a deeply personal story about love, identity, and home.

The book opens on what we come to learn is a Resource World owned by the ubiquitous Umbai corporation. At first glance, we’ve arrived in a rural, agricultural community that seems quaint and unsophisticated. The people of the village work in the dhuba fields; their crop is collected once every 15 years by the
The Captain
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

This is certainly an excellent debut novel even if the third part of the book didn't work for me. The book follows three people - a ship's Captain (Nia), a scientist (Fumiko), and a mute boy who falls from the sky. Eventually the lives of all three of these people intersect and changes the world.

This really was a hard novel to classify so if any of this sounds
I. B.
This is definitely one of those books that I need to subject to a reread. I tend to never read books twice, but I feel to truly understand every moving aspect of this story, I want to open it and read it again.

This book is an intricate spiderweb of intergalactic characters, plots, and politics that makes you want to crawl inside of the author's mind and ask how were you able to fit all of this in your head??.

The book is structured like many short stories woven together in a novel format.
The Nerd Daily
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Ankara C

“One day, I will ask what it is he hears, when he hears the notes of music: the infernal, or the celestial. Judging by what I hear now—the flute song through my open door—it is most likely something in between. A fiery heaven all its own.”

A distant future, where Earth is long gone. The descendants of Earthlings inhabit spaceships resembling long vanished birds that once populated the planet. An immense array of worlds full of life to
Lauren Stoolfire
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez has so much potential, but it just never quite lived up to all of it for me. There were parts that I quite loved, but others that just seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. There are also moments where it goes from moving right along to dragging as slowly as possible. The language though is certainly beautiful overall and the story as a whole offers much to think about. While this wasn't quite
Judy Lesley
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez is an example of literary science fiction done well. In fact, I would say it was done very well. Throughout the novel Jimenez is exploring the concept of home and what home means or can mean to each of us. In this story home also includes a specific person or a group of people, but there have to be feelings of safety and trust. For the young boy rescued from a crashed spaceship his past is such a horrible tangle of remembered pain that his trust was not won ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I enjoyed The Vanished Birds very much, which surprised me, because it ended up not being the kind of book I would typically like at all! I would definitely recommend it, though I think convincing others that they should check it out will be tough, since the novel is difficult to categorize and the story itself can be a bit strange. By the end of it though, it filled me with a mix of complex emotions, some happy and
Lark Benobi
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
I experienced this novel as humorless, baffling, and trending toward an unnecessary attention to viscera and/or precious bodily fluids. Let me hasten to add that there are some very fine sentences here, and even a good scene or two, and it's possible that Jimenez's next novel will be really good.
Beth Cato
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, ebook, netgalley, 2019
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

What an astonishingly deep, meaningful book--one that I fully expect to be up for awards next year. Even more remarkable that this is the author's debut. That said, I didn't find it to be a flawless work, especially at the very end.

The cover copy mentions that the book is about 'space and time,' but that minimizes the book's true genre. It ends up being straight-out space opera with very literary-style elements. The book starts out
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.2/5

Review: I don’t know what to say. Astounding writing for someones first novel. This writer weaves a complex tale that spans lifetimes while revolving around the same characters. Fascinating and wholly absorbing from start to semi-finish.

“So why you no give 5 stars!!!”. (view spoiler)
Beth ~~Just One More Chapter I Swear~~
Fair warning: this review is a bit Adjective laden. I apologize right here and now...some things had to be expressed ... verbosely.

Well well well... This lucky find was a true work of art! It was a magnificently wrapped present that I didn't know I absolutely had to have in my life until I tore into it. It was a lot of things (mostly all sorts of awesome) but it was also somewhat tricky to whittle down to bite size pieces without giving away too much of what I believe to be spoiler material.
Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.

We live in an era where ships can slip into the opaque folds of the universe, and sail along the fringe ripples of time. We can generate muscle tissue, & spool the threads into new limbs. Sunder continents with a single YonSef explosive device. Life has changed, but not our capacity for absurd cruelties.

When I began reading The Vanished Birds, I was unsure what to expect. The blurb didn’t prepare me for the book’s

Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: The Vanished Birds
Author: Simon Jimenez
Publisher: Random House/Ballantine/Del Rey
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Review Date: September 29, 2019

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the blurb:
“A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of
Paul DiBara
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez may be destined to become a SciFi classic. It is erudite, complex, thought provoking and, to my mind, poetic. It might even be prescient, perhaps not in specific technologies but in its portrayal of humanity’s future social characteristics - more dystopian than a promised land.

Science fiction encompasses a broad range of styles and topics. Undoubtedly this work will not appeal to all fans. It will appeal to readers who appreciate the beauty of words when
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, and I don't say that lightly. It feels like Ursula K. Le Guin at her best, perfectly spliced with the best Heinlein juvenile out there. That's not to say this is a juvenile by any stretch, but it shares some similarities, given that one of the protagonists is a child growing up throughout the novel. Also, the word novel isn't quite right, either. The story is told through a series of well connected stories that shift from one character's viewpoint to another's, often ...more
Lou Jacobs
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A virtual tour de force debut ... although using the science fiction motif , this is a literary novel exploring frienship, love, betrayal and wonder of the fantastic. Filled with a plethora of well fleshed out characters. The main two are female ... Spaceship Captain Nia Imani and aerospace engineer Fumiko Nakajima. Fumiko believes the future of mankind is in the Stars and not on the climate savaged Earth. She is hired by the mega corporation Umbai to design a series of space stations which ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written science fiction story about love, belonging, exploration, capitalism, and fear. The evolving narration is skillfully handled, bringing depth and additional perspectives to the story while keeping it focused on Nia and Ahro. The story at times moves slowly; it's character driven rather than action-driven, but the world building and character development is well done, so I never felt the book was moving too slowly. I was disappointed by a few small things at the end, but they ...more
Barb in Maryland
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow!!

More to come once the good book hangover eases up.

After some time to catch my breath, I decided there's no easy way to describe this book. It is an examination of love, loyalty; the need for a home, a family; the passage of time--all dressed-up in high-tech SF clothing.
All of the characters are so real, so fully presented by the author, that I became totally invested in their lives. I loved Nia Imani and totally understood her need to 'raise' the castaway boy; to keep him safe from
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read a science fiction novel that is so rich and colorful that it is almost poetic, but The Vanished Birds is precisely that. It packs a subtle but definite punch with plenty of sci-fi gadgetry and an emotional plot that takes the story to a whole new level.

Favorite Character: Nia Imani. Nia is a woman of few words, who quickly earns the respect of her crew with her consistency and authoritative manner. Always moving from planet to planet, her career does not leave room for
Linda Bond
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best fantasies are those which touch your heart as well as your mind. The Vanished Birds is just such a story, drawing on the love lost between a woman traveling through space/time and others who stay behind and age more quickly than she. The loneliness is the hardest part. When all we know is gone, we are truly alone. But then the boy arrives and life starts all over again for Nia. Their communication is through music, not words, and soon the two travelers forge themselves into a family of ...more
DNF at 20%

I like what I've read so far and do believe I will thoroughly enjoy this one when I finally get through it, but it is just too slow motion for me. At the moment I feel as though there was no purpose to the first 15% of the book; the story didn't add to the overall flavor of the book or to the mute boy's story at all. And it's entirely possible that will change, but I just don't have the time or gumption to keep trying with this one right now. I'm hoping to pull it back out later and
Ashleigh Heaton
This one is really special, you guys.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional debut novel. Simon Jimenez is clearly a skilled storyteller and is an exciting new voice in science fiction. His prose is beautiful and in The Vanished Birds he seamlessly weaves multiple threads into a tightly-plotted tour de force.

The pace is slow, but measured, as each character is given ample time to establish themselves. As we bounce from vignette to vignette and from character to character the plot is always moving forward as the overarching story comes into focus.
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