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Blackbirds Sing

(The Ruadhan Sidhe Novels )

4.84  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Four-and-twenty extraordinary women; one chance to save a kingdom.

What would you sacrifice to save your family, your loved ones, yourself?

In September 1486, the reign of King Henry VII of England is again threatened by York loyalists. The only thing standing in the way is a four-hundred-year-old sidhe who just wants to be left alone, and a group of London women with a lo
Published December 1st 2019 by CAT Press (first published November 26th 2019)
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Average rating 4.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  43 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Disclaimer: I reviewed this as one of the BookNest judges for the first round of SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 2020 hosted by Mark Lawrence. You can read more for SPFBO here!
❝ Hush, pretty baby, don’t say a word.
Mama’s gone and called you a sweet blackbird.
When that little blackbird does come,
Mama’s gonna buy you a big war drum ❞

London, 1486.
The War of the Roses is over. Henry VII wedded Elizabeth of York, joining their noble families and putting an end to years of mindless bloods
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A triumph for the women of medieval Britain! I loved the individual short stories and how they linked together into a bigger picture. Normally with short stories, some are weaker, some stronger. However all of the individual women’s stories were interesting and unique, a fascinating insight into life for medieval women. I learned many new historical facts, and much of the language seemed authentic to the time period. Thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this charming book.
Shelley Nolan
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but what I got was an engrossing read that made me smile, grit my teeth, cry and cheer. Each story read well on its own and then together they were a masterfully crafted tale of love, loss, sacrifice and heroism. In a time when women had no power, these ladies showed that only they had what it took to stop England from being plunged into devastating civil war once more.
It was fascinating to read on as the stories weaved together to
Gene Flynn
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of those books you read in a gulp, then emerge, grinning and crying at the same time.
Flinthart weaves history and fantasy into a compelling tale of the rebellion against King Henry VII, from the viewpoint of those who had the most to lose but who were most often unseen and unheard: women. Each individual story is in turns heartbreaking and inspiring, coalescing into the final triumphant climax. Clever, fast-paced and beautifully written. A definite must-read.
Cathy Geha
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing by Aiki Flinthart
A Ruadhan Sidhe Origin Story

Intriguing, compelling, complex and enthralling this book drew me in and kept me reading till 3am. I could not put it down!

The idea of taking a nursery rhyme-song and then weaving a story around it was an interesting take but that idea, plot it out, create so many wonderful characters threading the whole into one large wonderful story was delightful beyond measure!

What I liked:
* The women...all but one
* The introduction of each woma
B.P. Marshall
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was impressed quickly and often with this. Recommended.

I was hooked by the other reviews, and wanted to see if Flinthart could pull off the literary equivalent of a reverse quadruple somersault; a narrative with 24 main protagonists - with every chapter jumping track to a new character.

It shouldn't work. It should be disruptive to the main narrative, should stop the reader finding deeper empathy with the characters, and fail to develop any of them in any kind of arc. The narrative structure
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.75 out of 5 stars!
Thank you, NetGalley and CATpress for the ARC during these self-isolated times.

First off, I loved how interwoven the stories were, and how the built to the deeper, larger picture. Many of the characters, in their short span of pages, seemed so extremely individualistic, and did not seem too alike. Twenty-five different points of view, with only one repeating point of view. Characters were mixed about and it was easy to trace reoccurring characters. The romantic LGBTQ sub-subp
Rebecca Bowyer
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing is the story of the attempted assassination of King Henry VII of England. Set in 1486, it’s inspired by true events and imagines that the assassination plot is foiled by a network of ordinary woman doing extraordinary things, led by one slightly magical sidhe.

This book is for you if you love historical fiction from this period that’s conversational and really gets into the day-to-day details – and very well researched details they are, too!

I absolutely adored this novel. It’s tec
Tanya Nellestein
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know those classic opening lines that everyone quotes? This book has one of those. Hooked from the first line! Historical fiction and the Tudors are my favourite genre - which makes me a pretty harsh critic. I could not put this book down. Aiki Flinthart has masterfully brought twenty four women to life and takes the reader on an extraordinary journey. I cared about every single character. Each chapter highlights one woman but each story is woven beautifully throughout the book. This is a ta ...more
Clare Rhoden
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this alternative-fantasy medieval story. We hear directly from women in first person voice; there is a great plot with time a-ticking away; and the characters are very relatable. For readers of fantasy, especially if you like Sidhe novels, medieval London, Irish magic, dastardly deeds and plucky women.
This is one not to miss. I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.
Pamela Jeffs
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing- a stunning read. Flinthart’s gift for prose gives a world gritty enough to taste and characters who transcend the limit of the page. Her women are built with cores of iron and the men should be pitied for their ignorance of that strength. With the true skill of an artist, Aiki Flinthart has woven a captivating and sincerely clever novel.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunningly unique, uplifting and unforgettable: what an amazing feat to weave so many brilliant (female) POV characters into a story. This is truly a masterpiece. I love this book.
Serene Conneeley
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing by Aiki Flinthart is incredible! I absolutely LOVED it. It’s a historical fantasy novel, set in London in 1486 and based on real events and real people – with some licence taken, a couple of characters invented, and a little enchantment added. There’s love, loyalty, treason, royalty, herbalism and midwifery, intrigue, plots-within-plots, courage and ancient Irish magic, and it’s told in the most ambitious way possible – each chapter is a short story in itself, focused on one of t ...more
Neen Cohen
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing was one of the first books I read of Aiki Flinthart’s and I was completely blown away.
Flinthart is a master of creating characters that you either love or love to hate.
This is an amazing story weaving through the lives of ordinary women, who are placed in positions that require their strength and courage and skills. Each chapter, each short story, is from the perspective of one of these incredible women, and it’s quite intriguing to see whose insight you will be privileged to ne
Catherine Elderhorst
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds is a delightful read. I love the way each chapter ends by introducing the character who stars in the next chapter. It flows beautifully, culminating in a blood-stirring climax that will have you on the edge of your seat. I was hugely impressed by this, because Aiki has shown great attention to detail in historical accuracy, so I naively thought that I could predict the ending. Yeah, nah. It was a nail-biting ride, but I've come to expect that from Aiki. She's a master at twisting the ...more
Frankie Cohen
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emilie Morscheck
A spellbinding mosaic novel that manages to develop so many unique and interesting characters while having a strong central plot. The attention to historical detail is amazing without weighing down the narrative.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a hugely enjoyable historical fiction with a dash of fantasy and full of strong female characters, interesting world-building and actual attention to detail in the historical research. I'm keen to read more in this world and this series. 4.5 stars ...more
Andrew Old
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clever, joyful read. More, please!

This was a pleasure to read, and a brilliant prequel to the Ruadhan Sidhe trilogy. Multiple POV characters all bringing different voices and perspectives to the story, all wielded with a deft hand. And the author's knowledge and love of history and Ye olde stuff shines through. Terrific!
Andrew Davisdon
Feb 27, 2020 added it
Recommends it for: Lovers of historic fiction
Recommended to Andrew by: Friend
An inspiring collection of stories of strong women living in medieval London. All of the tales artfully cloven together by an ancient shadowy figure.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: friends
London 1486 the war of the roses has ended but a plot by bitter York loyalists threatens the hard-wrought peace. Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. Lots of Bad people. Lots of Good people. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

That isn't this book, that's The Princess Bride.

This book is all that but with engrossing detailed character stories of four and twenty noteworthy women whose stories while each remarkable and capable of sus
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As of the time of this review being typed, Blackbirds Sing is still in the running in SPFBO 6, and I really hope it goes on to win!

I read the synopsis of the book while following SPFBO and immediately ordered a physical copy. I knew it was a gamble, but sometimes I like to dive into a book no one I know has heard of and take that chance, and boy am I glad that I took the plunge!

If you are like me, and on the fence whether you think the concept of this book can be pulled off successfully and don
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A new-to-me author and not a genre that I usually read but I am glad that I did. The blurb sounded intriguing and I wondered if it would work or if it would become a mish mash of unconnected confusing mess but it works, and extremely well at that. Perhaps it is the obviously large amount of research that has gone into it, or the well thought out and clever plotting, but it is ingenious and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Each chapter is dedicated to a new character and perceived through their eyes, tel
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful tapestry novel! So many compelling stories woven into one overarching narrative...I truly adored this moving, well-researched book.
Cass Moriarty
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Blackbirds Sing (Cat Press 2019) is a rather unusual novel by Aiki Flinthart. In a collection of linked short stories that features 24 different women of all ages and classes, the novel addresses the powerlessness of women and the many dangers to them of 500 years ago, but also highlights their persistence, their courage and their united desire to maintain personal sovereignty despite all odds being against them.
The book is loosely based on the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Four and Twenty Blackbird
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Blackbirds Sing by Aiki Flinthart is a gem, set in the early reign of Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth around the birth of their eldest son, Arthur (Henry VIII's older brother). Henry's claim to the throne has brought to an end the destructive dynastic War of the Roses, promising a new era of peace. But not everyone is happy, especially former supporters of the defeated Richard III, like Lord Francis Lovell. Lovell and his friends, the Stafford brothers, are plotting to free the last Plantagenet, E ...more
Naomi (aplace_inthesun)
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
In early 1486 King Henry VII married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV after defeating her parental uncle Richard III on the battlefield. The union brought the warring houses together and he was the first monarch of the House of Tudor, symbolised by the Tudor Rose.

Blackbird Sings is a story about the perspectives of twenty-five women impacted by the events of the time and their male counterparts quest for power, as either allies of King Henry VII, or those that sought to unseat him. Whilst based
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Well researched history is interwoven with magic in this book, in such a way that it all feels very realistic. I felt like I was there, watching from a small distance, instead of reading the story. I could almost smell the stench of the London streets, and hear the sounds.

Life was hard for women in medieval London. But together they made change happen, more than any man could have ever guessed.

The short stories were interwov
Mandy Partridge
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Aiki Flinthart has her own brand of feminism. In "Blackbirds Sing", all of the characters who carry the action are women. Sure, there are male characters, but they are in supporting roles. So it's the polar opposite of most other literature. Aiki writes for a Young Adult audience, and offers a wealth of strong female role models for young women and men. Set in historic London, when the Court still centred around the Tower, "Blackbirds Sing" follows four and twenty female characters through their ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, clever and absorbing.

There is a plot against the king which may destroy the hard won peace at the end of the War of the Roses. But the simple actions of a group of seemingly unconnected women, told in a collection of separate vignettes, may change the course of history. And the Sidhe (fairies) may have a role to play in the outcome.
A clever, dazzling adventure through historical London, with a touch of magic and a wealth of accurate historical detail. A wonderful read.
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Aiki lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, (Ernest), teenage son (Leonidis - not their real names, obviously), aging dog and directionally-challenged fish.
In between being a wife, running a business full-time and helping Leonidis with homework, she squeezes in a few hobbies, including:
Martial arts, painting, writing, reading, bellydancing and playing three or four musical instruments. Oc

Other books in the series

The Ruadhan Sidhe Novels (4 books)
  • Shadows Wake (A Ruadhan Sidhe Novel Book 1)
  • Shadows Bane (A Ruadhan Sidhe Novel Book 2)
  • Shadows Fate (A Ruadhan Sidhe Novel Book 3)
  • Healing Heather (A Ruadhan Sidhe Novel #4)

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