Amalia Gavea's Reviews > All the Birds in the Sky

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
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it was amazing
bookshelves: american-literature, contemporary, dystopia, favorites, magical-realism, usa

"San Francisco never stopped astonishing Lawrence - wild raccoons and possums wondered the streets, especially at night, and their shiny fur and long tails looked just like stray cats, unless you look twice. Skunks nested under people's houses."

Is there any magic left in the world? Magic to heal and provide hope. Has it been completely upstaged by technology, fallen into a meaningless oblivion? How far can technology go? Where does its contribution to society stop and the potential dangers begin? Let's try to find the answers in beautiful San Francisco through the eyes of our protagonists, Patricia, a witch, and Lawrence, a tech genius.

To begin with, I need to say that I am really, really tired of the latest trend of parents being horrible. I am actually positively fed up seeing fathers and mothers being cruel and heartless because they don't understand how special their children are. I don't like the message communicated through novels and I don't believe that this is a way to create a better or more believable story, turning parents into great obstacles the lead characters have to surpass or defeat in order to succeed. I am sorry for the rant but I see this more and more in Contemporary Literature and it's beginning to disturb me.

Having said that, I could feel those cute five stars approaching before I reach 50% of the book.

In a not so distant future, Science and Magic choose to fight against each other in a foolish attempt to restore balance to a world that is slowly dying. Patricia and Lawrence have been struggling for years to come to terms with their unique abilities, fighting against hopelessness, against their unsupportive families, and many times, against themselves. This is the premise around which this wonderful story is constructed.

This novel had been waiting in my TBR for quite a long time. I had read some positive reviews, some rather dishearteningly negative ones, but stubborn as I am, I wanted to see what the fuss was about and I grasped the chance to start it for a group reading. I didn't expect to love it so much. I confess I am not so fond of the first (short) part of the story where we see our couple as children and teenagers, but once they reach adulthood the story really comes alive. I wouldn't classify it as YA (again, I don't have much experience in the genre), but for me, the writing, the characters, the story are mature, well-composed and very, very exciting.

The writer has created a world where technology has taken the reins, where robots and humans are of equal importance, but in truth, machines of all sorts and kinds are slowly acquiring precedence. So we're in dire need of some magic here. And magic happens in a story that could have very easily become too cold and distant, too sci-fi and gadgety. There are beautiful urban descriptions of San Francisco, atmospheric and vivid, there are talking birds- many owls, people! There's even a Twin Peaks reference. There is life and beauty and love. Some descriptions are raw and sharp, however, like a knife in the heart. The bleak, perilous environment of the big city. The darkness and isolation. And then, the chaos that breaks out and brings disaster to the world. Floods, shortage in even the most common medicines, diseases, famine, violence, death.

Don't think this is a dark, depressing read. Well, it is at times, but there is also a distinct element of humour centered on our stubborn protagonists. Elegant and smart, faithful to every day speech. On the other hand, the writing completely changes tone in the most terrifying, harrowing moments, when we're close to witness the world's end. It becomes dark, ominous, raw and perfect. I was impressed by the function of the Caddy in the story. It's a gadget that aims to help people form a "better" life, one that would be "compatible" with their choices and preferences. They customize their profiles and it customizes their lives, an ideal example of how technology rules over society in the novel. Although, I admit that Patricia and Lawrence should have listened to their Caddies more carefully....

Ah, Patricia and Lawrence...You'll love these two. Patricia is a witch who uses magic to bring whatever kind of happiness she can, to save and soothe. She punishes the ones whose acts require punishment. She is a Healer that talks to animals and they provide company and help. But sometimes, it is too late...Lawrence is a tech- genius who aspires to make the world better without ignoring that it is ill-used technology that will bring disaster. I loved their relationship. It's tender and loyal and awkward, something we would expect from two people whose absolute priority is their talent. In fact, forget all the previous. To put it clearly and shout it for the world to hear, Lawrence and Patricia are one of the most beautiful, wonderful, well-matched and every positive adjective you can imagine couples we'll ever meet in a book.

You may find this novel boring if you aren't all that interested in the cyber - world and technology in general. You may find it too perplexing and confusing. Give it a chance, nonetheless. As far as I'm concerned, I believe it is a book that depicts the concerns and fears of today's world successfully. Is the human race threatened by the hungry greed that almost always comes with progress and power? I'd say that any book that makes you think and search for whatever answers may exist has completed its job and more. And we shouldn't forget that even the darkest times were washed away when people acted in unison, free of any prejudices and retained hope against all odds. Perhaps, we should remember this from time to time....

And just out of curiosity, what would you be? A Trickster or a Healer?

Also, Kit Harington for Lawrence's part (if the book ever becomes a film) because of reasons.
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Reading Progress

July 14, 2016 – Shelved
July 14, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 12, 2017 – Started Reading
August 15, 2017 –
page 157
50.0%
August 20, 2017 –
page 157
50.0% "Another set of five stars...Soon..."
August 20, 2017 –
page 250
79.62%
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: american-literature
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: dystopia
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: magical-realism
August 29, 2017 – Shelved as: usa
August 29, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

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message 1: by Annet (new) - added it

Annet First impressions? I've had this book in my shelves for some time now... Reviews mixed?


Amalia Gavea Annet wrote: "First impressions? I've had this book in my shelves for some time now... Reviews mixed?"

I really like it so far. I'm about to start the part of the story where the two main characters are young adults and it's bound to become more interesting. I think the descriptions of the forest are really, really good and I like the chemistry between our protagonists. So far, so good. I often find that when a book has mixed reviews, chances are that I will like it, so fingers crossed:)


message 3: by Annet (new) - added it

Annet Good, good! I'll keep my fingers crossed and the book closeby ;)
Enjoy the read.


Amalia Gavea Annet wrote: "Good, good! I'll keep my fingers crossed and the book closeby ;)
Enjoy the read."


Thank you so much, Annet!


Amalia Gavea Annet wrote: "Good, good! I'll keep my fingers crossed and the book closeby ;)
Enjoy the read."


Thank you so much, Annet!


message 6: by Jaline (new)

Jaline What a fabulous review, Amalia! (I, too, am getting tired of stories where parents are blamed for everything. Free will develops at a very early age - what has to be taught is responsibility - taking ownership of one's life rather than flinging blame around. /rant) I really enjoyed your entire review, Amalia, and have added this. :)


Amalia Gavea Jaline wrote: "What a fabulous review, Amalia! (I, too, am getting tired of stories where parents are blamed for everything. Free will develops at a very early age - what has to be taught is responsibility - taki..."

Thank you so much, Jaline. Yes, there are certain elements that keep appearing across different genres that can really become frustrating in the hands of a less capable author. Fortunately, Anders is a very good writer and she created a wonderful modern fairytale.


message 8: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Brilliant review Amalia.


Amalia Gavea Maureen wrote: "Brilliant review Amalia."

Thank you so much, Maureen.


message 10: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books Excellent review Amalia!


Amalia Gavea Manju wrote: "Excellent review Amalia!"

Thank you so much, Manju!


message 12: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie Terrific review, Amalia. I'm intrigued.


Amalia Gavea Katie wrote: "Terrific review, Amalia. I'm intrigued."

Thank you so much, Katie! I definitely recommend this one:)


message 14: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Wonderful review, Amalia. Re your quote " To begin with, I need to say that I am really, really tired of the latest trend of parents being horrible. I am actually positively fed up seeing fathers and mothers being cruel and heartless because they don't understand how special their children are." I heard a little saying yesterday: "God made little kids beautiful so we don't murder them."


Amalia Gavea B the BookAddict wrote: "Wonderful review, Amalia. Re your quote " To begin with, I need to say that I am really, really tired of the latest trend of parents being horrible. I am actually positively fed up seeing fathers ..."

Thank you so much, B! I definitely agree with you. Even if it seems cynic, almost tragic, sometimes parents can do the greatest harm. I don't like this current fashion of dismissive and cruel parents. More often than not, it adds nothing to a story but unecessary drama.


message 16: by Hannah Grace || (new)

Hannah Grace || BookNerdNative This one has been on my TBR for almost 2 years. Seeing this review makes me want to finally pick
It up!


Amalia Gavea Hannah Grace || wrote: "This one has been on my TBR for almost 2 years. Seeing this review makes me want to finally pick
It up!"


Thank you so much, Hannah! I didn't expect to love it so much. Let me know your thoughts once you read it:)


Lindsay - Traveling Sister Wonderful review Amalia! 😊


message 19: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Ullerich Wow! This is high praise for this novel! "To put it clearly and shout it for the world to hear, Lawrence and Patricia are one of the most beautiful, wonderful, well-matched and every positive adjective you can imagine couples we'll ever meet in a book." Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing.


Amalia Gavea Lindsay wrote: "Wonderful review Amalia! 😊"

Thank you so much, Lindsay!


Amalia Gavea Jackie wrote: "Wow! This is high praise for this novel! "To put it clearly and shout it for the world to hear, Lawrence and Patricia are one of the most beautiful, wonderful, well-matched and every positive adjec..."

Thank you so much, Jackie! Those two had one of the most beautiful relationships I've ever found in a novel.


Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters Wow.... wonderful and I've gone back and forth about this book.... THANK YOU.... you made the difference... I'd love to read it!!!
GREAT review


Amalia Gavea Elyse wrote: "Wow.... wonderful and I've gone back and forth about this book.... THANK YOU.... you made the difference... I'd love to read it!!!
GREAT review"


Thank you so much, Elyse!! The reviews are a bit all over the place for this one, so I wasn't expecting to love it so much. It mesmerized me:) I can't wait to know your thoughts once you read it!


message 24: by PorshaJo (new) - added it

PorshaJo Wonderful review Amalia! I've had this one on my list but saw such mixed reviews. Nice to see such a glowing review. And I work in the cyber field so this my just be a perfect read for me.


Amalia Gavea PorshaJo wrote: "Wonderful review Amalia! I've had this one on my list but saw such mixed reviews. Nice to see such a glowing review. And I work in the cyber field so this my just be a perfect read for me."

Thank you so much, PorshaJo! I hope you'll enjoy it!


message 26: by Susanne (new)

Susanne  Strong Amazing review Amalia! Sounds truly incredible! So glad you loved it. :)


Amalia Gavea Susanne wrote: "Amazing review Amalia! Sounds truly incredible! So glad you loved it. :)"

Thank you so much, Susanne!


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol Another flawless review, Amalia!


Amalia Gavea Carol wrote: "Another flawless review, Amalia!"

Thank you so much, Carol! You are so kind:)


message 30: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol A fine review as always. My co-Carol above couldn't have said it better.


message 31: by Amalia (last edited Sep 01, 2017 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amalia Gavea Carol wrote: "A fine review as always. My co-Carol above couldn't have said it better."

Thank you so much, Carol! You are both so kind and warm:)


Gelisvb I am so happy that someone else loved this as much as I am loving it.


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