Rating: 2 out of 5
I've been dreading writing this review as soon as I realized that this novel was not going to get any better. With all the hype surrounding Charlie Jane Anders' novel All the Birds in the Sky, I'm not surprised that it was nominated for my book club last month. I am surprised, however, by how many readers actually gave it a high rating.
I'm already three book reviews behind on this blog, so I'm not going to waste your time like this book did mine. Instead, let me sum up my thoughts in a simple literary recipe:
Take one hideously executed mashup of fantasy and sci-fi.
Add two boring, unlikeable love interests playing to stereotypical gender norms (He's the tech genius! She's the earthy pagan witch!).
Mix the genres and characters until so poorly combined that you can't tell if the story is meant to be romance, coming-of-age, apocalyptic, or a gross hodge podge of all three.
Set the plot in the heart of San Francisco, but describe the city with so much hipster pretension that even people who live and work there like myself want to vomit.
Finally, garnish with a big pinch of the absolute worst sex scene that I've ever read. Magical nipple-blowing...that's all I'm going to say.
In my humble opinion, the only reason that All the Birds in the Sky received so much hype is because the author happened to co-found and run io9, a well-known Gawker Media publication. I'm sure the marketing budget for this book went through the roof. Add the fact that Charlie Jane Anders is transgender, and you have all the makings of a unique, diverse, intriguing tale—except that it falls right on its face.
An utter disappointment, made even more annoying on audio, and quite possibly my least favorite book of 2016. Not recommended in the slightest.