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All the Birds in the Sky
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2017 TOB -The Books > All the Birds in the Sky

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AmberBug com* | 444 comments I'm in the middle of this one and I can't understand what the heck the creepy teacher is all about. Is he psychotic? What kind of group does he belong to? Maybe I'm missing something because I'm audiobooking this one (I'm not great at audio - my attention doesn't hold the same as physically reading).


Michelle | 155 comments AmberBug wrote: "I'm in the middle of this one and I can't understand what the heck the creepy teacher is all about. Is he psychotic? What kind of group does he belong to? Maybe I'm missing something because I'm au..."

He was introduced earlier in the book. Do you remember the scene at the mall in the food court where they were trying to identify people's job title by the shoes they were wearing?


AmberBug com* | 444 comments Michelle wrote: "AmberBug wrote: "I'm in the middle of this one and I can't understand what the heck the creepy teacher is all about. Is he psychotic? What kind of group does he belong to? Maybe I'm missing somethi..."


Yeah, I do. I think that's when they mentioned (view spoiler)

I just don't understand his placement inside the story yet. Maybe it will come together for me or maybe I need to give the book a second listen/read.


Trish | 33 comments He's a prominent character; he has somehow (view spoiler)


AmberBug com* | 444 comments Trish wrote: "He's a prominent character; he has somehow [spoilers removed]"

Aha! That makes so much more sense now. Thanks! Sometimes I think I should just give up on Audio because I miss so much by picking that format. I was hoping this one would be a good, easy, light audio to pick since it's been described as more YA, but apparently it's got depths I missed while listening.

Thanks again Trish. :)


Ellen H | 701 comments I'm almost finished with it -- about 4/5 of the way done. Does anyone else find it startlingly unoriginal? In fact, to me so much of it seems directly derivative of Lev Grossman's The Magicians series that I'm having trouble seeing its individual merits at all. And -- is it YA? It sure reads like YA.


Deborah (brandiec) | 113 comments Ellen wrote: "is it YA? It sure reads like YA."

That was my reaction, too, Ellen. I even looked it up on a few different sites to see if anyone had classified it that way, but it appears that (officially, at least) it is meant to be for adults.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments Ellen wrote: "...is it YA? It sure reads like YA...."

I sure thought it was.

I loved this book, although I can't pinpoint why. It wasn't exceptionally well written, the plot was interesting, but not brilliant and there wasn't any new ground broken, literarily-speaking. But it was a satisfying read that hit me in all the right places. I'm not sure it's going to last long in competition, but I'm glad it's in play, because I would not have read it otherwise.


message 10: by Jenny (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenny (puddleduck) | 2 comments It read like YA for me too, mostly---though about halfway through it took a turn towards the "adult" (or tried to?). Honestly, I really, really disliked this book. The premise was interesting, but the execution... not so much. To me, it felt unoriginal, not particularly well-written at all, and stylistically (tonally? something) all over the place. Glad other people seem to like it, though! It just wasn't For Me, I guess.


Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I liked this all right when I was reading it, but most of the details have already faded from my mind. I did see the connection to Grossman's The Magicians -- I assumed it was deliberate homage, and that Anders was trying to comment on his books in some way, but I'm not certain I really got much from it. There were a lot of interesting ideas scattered through the book but the characters never came into tight focus for me, so even when things got very fraught and dramatic I didn't find myself particularly engaged.


Ellen H | 701 comments Jenny, I'm with you, although I wouldn't say I dislike it, exactly -- I just found it unoriginal and sort of...puerile. Trite.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments I can't entirely argue against the 'trite' judgment, but I did enjoy this. The middle school stuff went on way too long, and having this adult derail his life to obsess over a couple of kids was...weird. But I enjoyed the madcapness and humanity and justifiably different worldviews that didn't stop them rekindling their friendship when Patricia & Laurence met again as adults.


message 14: by Gaby (new) - rated it 2 stars

Gaby | 28 comments How this book made it to the short list is a mystery to me. I really enjoy weird books that make you think, but found this very dull.


Gretchen (gretchena) | 7 comments Just finished this one. I agree that the middle school piece went on way too long. But I liked that Laurence and Patricia were united in their "otherness" and that this connection carried through into adulthood.

I enjoyed it more once we got to adulthood, but felt that a lot ideas got dropped along the way. And as the major plot points hit near the end, I had to wonder if this has been optioned - it plays out a little too close to a superhero movie's big battle scene.

Overall, I found it enjoyable. Not sure how much discussion it's going to generate in the Tournament.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Ellen wrote: "I'm almost finished with it -- about 4/5 of the way done. Does anyone else find it startlingly unoriginal? In fact, to me so much of it seems directly derivative of Lev Grossman's [book:The Magicia..."

I agree, Ellen. It read like YA to me, which would have been okay if it wasn't so similar to Grossman's Magicians trilogy. I wasn't a big fan of The Magicians, but I liked it much more than All the Birds...


Ellen H | 701 comments My sentiments exactly, Tina.


Christy Santos | 5 comments Gaby wrote: "How this book made it to the short list is a mystery to me. I really enjoy weird books that make you think, but found this very dull."

I agree, Gaby. I'm having a hard time getting through it. It's the 14th book I've read in 2017 and it's taking me the longest to get through. It's not a hard read. It's just boring.


Ellen H | 701 comments And it's not even weird -- it's ho-hum, nothing new, a retread of lots of well-covered ground -- like I said, so derivative of The Magicians that I kept thinking it might be going somewhere new or interesting, but I'm 9/10 of the way through and, clearly, it's not.


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments As someone who, other than The Magicians, has read very little fantasy of this kind, and having never read any urban fantasy and who reads very little YA, I didn't find it derivative at all. Utter ignorance of the tropes worked for me in this case.

It didn't feel ground-breaking in its vision of the future, like Version Control, or brilliantly written, but it was fun.


Sherri (sherribark) | 357 comments AmberBug wrote: "Michelle wrote: "AmberBug wrote: "I'm in the middle of this one and I can't understand what the heck the creepy teacher is all about. Is he psychotic? What kind of group does he belong to? Maybe I'..."

Amber, I've finished the book and I still don't really get why this character was written in.

There were many parts of this book that I absolutely loved, and then there were long stretches where my mind wandered and I just wanted it to be over. I said in my review that I gave it 4 stars for the good parts, and for how clear it was that the author loved writing it. Oh, and I loved the acknowledgments page.


Deborah (brandiec) | 113 comments Sherri wrote: "I loved the acknowledgments page."

I did, too, Sherri; in fact, it was the only part I loved. Maybe TOB can have a literary equivalent to the "Most Personable" award at a beauty pageant?


message 23: by C (new) - rated it 2 stars

C | 448 comments Aw man, I keep hearing about this acknowledgments page and my copy doesn't even have it!


Teresa (teresakayep) | 17 comments I'm so torn about this book. I really loved the concept of it and the world the author builds. But there's just too much going on and a lot of it doesn't pay off adequately. I kept wishing it had been two separate books, one about their childhood and one about their adulthood.


Gayla Bassham (sophronisba) | 156 comments I'm not sure I can totally defend this book, but I really enjoyed it while I was reading and thought it was -- if you can use this word to describe a novel about an impending apocalypse -- fun. Once I finished it I could sort of see all the ways it didn't hang together, but the reading experience was delightful and sometimes that is enough for me.

It helped that I liked both of the main characters quite a bit.


message 26: by Jim (last edited Feb 20, 2017 01:15PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim Taone (dustyfloors) | 6 comments Glad I checked in here. I was ready to give up during Book Two but the chance of it getting better when we're out of middle school will help me slog through for now.


Daniel Sevitt | 80 comments I really wanted to like this book. I didn't terribly much. It was all very pat and unexciting. The world building was kinda meh and the story played out without twists or anything particularly interesting happening.

I think the only reason this got as much attention as it did is because of its pedigree. It's an inside book, reviewed and revered by insiders waiting for their shot at publishing. Charlie Jane Anders was the founder and editor of io9. I think the book was over-kindly reviewed by her peers. I don't think it's particularly well constructed. It was positioned from the start as a bit of genre fiction that was going to break out into the mainstream, exactly like Lev Grossman's The Magicians. I think it fills a certain need on the tables in book stores. I'm fine with that. It's probably the only reason I read it as I would have ignored it if it had been marketed as tech/magic version of Romeo and Juliet.

Still, I had high hopes because if something crosses over successfully it leads you back to the genre it came from. This was so disappointing, it'll be a while before I voluntarily pick up another bit of genre fiction. Shame.


message 28: by Drew (new) - rated it 5 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments I fall into the "loved it" camp. I loved the way Patricia and Laurence personified the natural world vs. hard science conflict. I loved the way they both found out that other people's perceptions of their individual actions were very different from their own. It was a bit derivative of The Magicians which was itself quite derivative of other books. And - dare I say it? - it was very readable.

It was a bit surreal to read this after Black Wave. I kept expecting Michelle to stumble out of a bar and barf on Patricia and Laurence.


Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I also read this as natural world vs. hard science, but now that I am reading Version Control, I'm starting to think everything in this book was actually magic, just magic in different forms. I have no idea if Anders had this in mind, but while I was happy to accept Laurence's wristwatch time machine as hand-waved super high tech, I think I like the book more if they are *both* doing magic and just can't recognise it as such because wrist watches are obviously science.


Katie | 127 comments I really enjoyed this book. I actually liked that it wasn't full of world building. I didn't need to know every which way she learned magic or the name of every spell or the build of every machine because that didn't feel like the point. I do love books with a world (Magicians etc) but I didn't acutely feel the lack of it here. It reminded me a bit of Magicians meets Gaiman but still authentic enough to stand on its own merits.

From the TOB books it was a bit Wave meets Version Control. Granted I have been reading these books consecutively and All The Birds was dealing less with time a la Version but the trio all kind of deal with reality, the world, how we as individuals interact and interplay.

I just liked reading this book. I liked being with the characters and their world. It was interesting and thoughtful but fast and compelling. I will keep the author on my list of writers to watch for books from.


message 31: by Dominique (last edited Mar 10, 2017 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dominique (domdee) | 1 comments I quite liked this book, and I read lots of fantasy and some scifi or speculative fiction. I look the story line with a grain of salt since it was marketed as YA. I wasn't expecting Oryx and Crake, but rather something lighter and fun (Vivian Apple-esque).

I'm hoping someone can explain the ending to me. Did
(view spoiler)

I could have missed the point near the end as I was falling asleep in bed at that point...Thanks :)


Ruthiella | 329 comments Dominique wrote: "I quite liked this book, and I read lots of fantasy and some scifi or speculative fiction. I look the story line with a grain of salt since it was marketed as YA. I wasn't expecting Oryx and Crake,..."

I think the end is purposely left open with the idea that neither science nor magic is key to saving the world; but a merging of the two might prove to be the solution like with the merger of the AI and the tree.


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