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Wizard of the Pigeons: The 35th Anniversary Illustrated Edition

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  906 ratings  ·  99 reviews
A gorgeously illustrated 35th anniversary edition of the urban fantasy classic, featuring a new foreword by Megan Lindholm and illustrations by Tommy Arnold.

Seattle: a place as magical as the Emerald City. Subtle magic seeps through the cracks in the paving stones of the sprawling metropolis. But only the inhabitants who possess special gifts are open to the city's conscio
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2020 by Grim Oak Press (first published 1986)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...Wizard of the Pigeons is a novel with many layers. Do you choose to see Wizard as a Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome or a figure not unlike Merlin? It is a story of unrequited love, a magical quest or facing a dark past? Is Seattle magical or mundane? Is the city sheltering him or is he protecting the city? Lindholm leaves the reader a lot of room to interpret the story but nonetheless manages to write a conclusion to the story that makes all the elements fall int ...more
Quintin Zimmermann
A dark, foreboding book rich with shadow and symbolism. However, the stylistic format and the murkiness of the plot just didn't grip me.

I just didn't identify with Wizard and it ended up being a rather tedious read.

I love the writer that Robin Hobb develops into, even here she is brimming with talent, but the overall story didn't work for me.
Farah Mendlesohn
One of my very favourite fantasies, and it's about to be reprinted by Grim Oak Press.
Carol Close
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read
This book has an ending I cannot comprehend. Possibly the character loses the plot, too:) So why five stars?

This book does have a point. What things seem, and what they are, depend on how we approach them.

Everyone has motivations and rules, if we know them or not. Sometimes they are beyond our ken.

We enter the world of a character who is perhaps mentally ill, or perhaps magic, or perhaps both, and is very human. As a reader I was left with a great deal of insight.

It may be that there is magic,
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely one of the best books ever written about Seattle. This is the city that I grew up in, before the tech and the shiny condos and the Starbucks on every corner. First book that I ever read that made me u-turn into the bookstore and buy five more copies to mail to friends.

Warning: it's a heartbreak of read.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, own, paper-book
I'm a fan of Robin Hobb, so I thought it would be great to try some of her other work. Wizard of the Pigeons as whole is an interesting concept, but the execution didn't work for me. It was a dark, dreary read that left me unsure. It was a bit tedious at times, and I really had to work to move forward with reading.
I would have given this only 2 if it wasn't for Megan Lindholm's gorgeous writing style and some pages that really struck me.
I wish there'd be more magic throughout the book, from the description I had been expecting something really different from what I got so obviously I was a bit disappointed.
Themes of mental illness (PTSD and depression maybe), of letting go, relatinships and listening can be found in this story. I wouldn't call this urban fantasy even if the city itself is important
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
{3.5 rounded up}
An odd set of circumstances had me read this book along with Slaughterhouse-Five. At first glance I would negate any straightforward similarities, the first being fantasy and the latter sci-fi. Nonetheless they both revolve mostly on the fractured mind and consciousness of what we would call the outliers of society after they own tragedies, serving as a mirror and a lens back onto itself.
This book right until the last few dozen of pages, could be categorized as dealing solely wit
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Dee by: no-one
A lovely magical book. I don't remember all the details as I read it a long time ago but I do remember that it was pretty fantastic. I loved the feel of the story, the way it made the city of seattle another character , and the strange and individual ways the magic was present in the main characters (cassie and her jumprope songs, the black wizard (forgot his name) and his music, and the main protagonist wizard (forgot his name also) and his power of persuasion.

I also remember that I always pict
On the one hand, I love low-profile wizards in love with their city: Hellblazer's Constantine or Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift are some of my very favorite characters. On the other hand, the first few pages available on Amazon feature clunky&unnatural dialog and a wizard who doesn't seem all that likable. So I dunno. If I find this book before Think Galactic meets and discusses it, I'll read it; if not, I'll drop this. ...more
Ben Cannon
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wizard of the Pigeons begins as a tale of mundane wonder, written as an understated classic fantasy, but set in the streets of 80's Seattle. While the climactic moments may have lost a little of their weight due to the style, despite how brilliantly woven the threads were, for me it was the gentle magic of the more relaxed parts of the tale that charmed me.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish more urban fantasy were like this instead of the headless-washboard-abs brigade you see at the local bookshops.....
Michael Sellars
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a re-read for me. And this book has lost none of its emotional impact. Lindholm (AKA Robin Hobb) creates a whole world of magical people living right under our noses. The magical element is restrained and subtle, but powerful nonetheless. The characters are vivid and sympathetic. Even on a second read my gut began to turn and tighten as things began to crash down around Wizard. If you're a fan of modern, urban fantasy, Wizard of the Pigeons is a must-read.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Urban Fantasy, Arthurian Legend, Vietnam War, Seattle, mental illness. What is real, what is unreal? Not at all what I expected from the title / description on the back, but a surprising, fast-paced book and extremely ambiguous in its possible interpretations. Read it though it is odd and weird. Five Stars.
Shawn Speakman
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book! It has such a level of complexity to it that it kept me guessing all the way up to the final page. I even cried twice because it hit really close to home. It is a wonderful urban fantasy but at its heart it is about war and PTSD and what it’s like to lose yourself and try to find yourself again. I highly recommend this book for anybody who enjoys Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and Seanan McGuire. Hope it comes back into print!
Sara Gabai
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written book. Good characters and plot. But I think I don't like urban fantasy. There are at least 2 scenes that are too violent for me.
Living on the streets of Seattle is a man called Wizard who talks with mummies and tells the Truth to those who sit beside him on the bus. But when he and other magic users are threatened by the amorphous gray Mir, Wizard must decide if he can and will use his powers to go to war. Wizard of the Pigeons is an urban fantasy that calls to mind Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint in both setting and style: realistically-rendered Seattle is filled with clever, cute bits of magic from treasure-filled junk ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am...not sure how I feel about this? I was in a perpetual state of confusion, which I think was part of the point. Wizard is dumb as a box of rocks and needs a therapist.
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I actually didn't finish this book. I was all excited about it after reading Alien earth. I really loved that one, and the blurb of Wizard of the pigeons sounded good. However, I didn't like the writing: way too long descriptions of street scenes in Seattle and of rooms and so on. I suppose it is meant as a way to create atmosphere, but it didn't work for me. On top of that, the story is vague. I don't mind if not everything is clear straight away, but I don't like it if I can't get a grip on th ...more
May 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mir by: Anza library
Shelves: fantasy
I should reread this! I read this when I was 10 or 11 and first getting into fantasy, but I was used to the dragons-and-sorcery type stuff so I didn't really get it. Pretty much all I remember is the main character is a homeless guy who has some small magic powers but makes rules for why he can't use them.
Kenya Starflight
Despite her work being beloved in the fantasy community, I've never really been able to get into the work of Robin Hobb. Her Rain Wilds series had an interesting premise, but I found the first book overlong, padded, and so slow-paced it felt as if little happened over the course of the book. And as for "Ship of Magic"... all the characters were so obnoxious that I ended up dropping it without finishing it. But she's also written books under her real name, Megan Lindholm, and a favorite author of ...more
Written in the 1980's Wizard of the Pigeons is an urban fantasy set in Seattle. Wizard, the title character, is living by his wits on the streets, protecting the pigeons and telling the truth when he Knows it. He has no memory of his previous life before he arrived in Seattle and found his magic.

Megan Lindholm is very, very good at world building and creating atmosphere. She brought Seattle in the 80's to life for me and filled it with such a strong cast of characters. Cassie and Rasputin also
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can something so intricate and beautifully crafted be so... tedious to read? *shamefaced emoticon* As a Robin Hobb/ Megan Lindholm fan, I feel rather ashamed and distressed for not loving this book just as much as all the others.

"Wizard of the Pigeons" is masterfully built, toying artfully with the line between reality and imagination, magic and coincidence in a seamless, fluid way, never once losing the delicate balance between them. But while the atmosphere and characters are excellently c
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I must admit that I was a little apprehensive at first. There are some scenes that go on for too long and I was afraid I was trying to figure things out to end up with no answers. Fortunately, the last 50 pages explain everything and put a different spin on my perception of the book until that point.
I really like the writing and the idea behind the magic. The characters are good and the story is fascinating after the reveals. I didn't love the ending because there is a certain character that I t
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to review. The writing is beautiful and immersive. It's engrossing. The problem is, this is the grim, grey, bleak, and depressing type of story that one does not generally want to be immersed in. At least I don't. I won't recommend this book except to a very certain group of people. That being said, in a quiet, subdued, sad kind of way... I'm glad I read it. And maybe that means it's a five star book. Or maybe not. Like I said; it's a hard book to review.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
This is an odd book, in a lot of ways, but a good one.

It has some of the strangeness (in not such a good way) about gender and sexuality that Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice series had. On the other hand, one of the best things about this book is the deep groundedness in its early 1980s Seattle setting.
I really liked the idea of this book and wish I could have found out a little more about Wizards background including how he ended up on the street. I enjoyed some of the powers shown and the final confrontation, but found it a little slow paced. This book is very character centred rather than plot driven.
Different from her other novels, very interior. Really did not know where it was going until the very end. Unique. Kind of dark. Continues to explore one of her favorite themes of the tension between self-sufficiency and the need for relationships.
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The author also writes under the pseudonym Robin Hobb. Her real name is Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden. ...more

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