All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

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“When the whole world turns chaotic, we must be the better part of chaos.”

Title: All the Birds in the Sky
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Why you should read this book: Because there is magic and there is science and there is an apocalypse. You know you’re curious!

Summary Goodreads:

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together—to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the Apocalypse.

Society is the choice between freedom on someone else’s terms and slavery on yours.

You know the feeling when something looks really weird and different but it makes totally sense to you and it makes you feel good? Well, that’s how I feel about this book. It has very unusual things in it but overall it works perfectly fine. It can shake you a little because of “surprise flash-forwards” with later on the flashback explanation for what happened.

It really is different, it’s an adventure you live with the characters. You will find yourself trying to figure out whom to side with: magic or science. Nature or technology? It’s a tough decision but maybe it’s a decision we don’t have to make. I had a side, then change it, then change it again, then I simply decided to side with the two main characters, not matter what side they were in.

“A society that has to burn witches to hold itself together is a society that has already failed, and just doesn’t know it yet.”

Patricia has magic in her, she knew since she was a little girl. Talking to a bird was her first act of magic, then for years, nothing. Laurence is a tech genius and he wants to become a revolutionary scientist. These two opposite young people are alone; they only have each other as friends to help them get on with the weirdness that is their lives. How are they going to become functioning adults if the adults present in their lives can’t understand them and aren’t willing to give it a try? Patricia’s parents don’t believe her, ever. They always listen only to her big sister and they lock her in her room for days. That is so very wrong and I really hated them for it. You can’t punish your child without listening to her side of the story and opening your mind and try believing her.

Laurence from his side has parents who don’t want him to have ambitions. He wants to transfer to a science oriented school but no, they don’t think that’s what best for him. Your kid took a serious decision for his young age and you don’t take it into consideration not even for a minute. That’s not how parents are supposed to be. The first part of the book had me angry at these adult figures ruining Laurence and Patricia’s life just because they could, because they are adults and what they say is law. I was so mad you have no idea.

“Children,” said Theodolphus Rose, “are adults who haven’t yet learned to make fear their hand puppet.”

Flash-forward Laurence and Patricia are adults and each on one different side of the world’s story. Patricia is a full witch, trying to save the world from the people in it with simple magic and curses. Laurence, now a genius scientist, is trying to save the planet from the seemingly impendent apocalypse in a rather unconventional but typical “blockbuster movie” way.

But if you’re clever and lucky and work your butt off, then you get to be surrounded by people who expect you to be the person you wish you were.

Magic and technology are trying to do the same thing, save the world, in different ways. Are their solutions the only ones available? Why do they think they can play God and decide things all by themselves risking the lives of innocent people and animals?

It was frustrating when you were a child how adults pretended not to hear your opinions and dissed them as unimportant, but when you are an adult it seems you are not adult enough to be right and they still won’t listen to your side of the story; they keep saying you only want to be right but it’s not a wanting to be right, it’s just that you want to express your opinion and you want them to listen properly.

I liked Laurence and Patricia a lot, with their flaws and everything. I loved a side character that is similar to another side character from another book. It looks that I have a type and that type is a little different from the usual.
Reading this book was great, it got me thinking about life, magic, science, visiting other planets, love, friendship and family. It touches a little bit of everything and it does it just the way I like it.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it has everything I love.
Rate: 4/5

firmablog

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