All The Birds In The Sky, Charlie Jane Anders

Here’s a book that I’ve been looking forward to for a long while, ever since it was first announced a couple of years ago: Charlie Jane Anders’ All The Birds In The Sky. It’s a stunning debut novel, one of the best that I’ve ever read.

If Charlie Jane’s name seems familiar, it’s probably because it is: she’s the editor of io9, and is my boss. So, take that as you will. I can’t say that my view on the book is completely unbiased, but I really enjoyed this novel.

The story is a fun mashup of fantasy and science fiction. There’s Patricia, who learns to talk to birds when she’s a young girl, and Laurence, who invents a time machine that takes him two minutes into the future. Their paths diverge in childhood, but converge back when the world is ending.

What I love about this book is CJA’s voice. It’s light, snarky, entertaining and sinks right in. I blew through this book in a handful of sittings, and I think that’s a testament to just how accessible it is. This isn’t a clunky genre book designed for hardcore genre readers, although there’s a lot to love for them as well.

I’ve been trying to think of comparable books that I’ve read, and the only thing that I can come up with is Lev Grossman’s The Magicians or Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, but with a bit more weirdness. This is a strange book, but it’s the type of strange that you get when you’re writing and editing a site like io9. There’s a ton of genre love here, but also for a really great story of two characters, when you break everything right down.

So, go read it. It’s a wonderful book.

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