* Book Review: Monsters by Dan Wells
* Books I Plan to Read in 2017
Charlie Jane Anders
Tom Doherty Associates
Adult Science Fiction
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 every-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.
I picked up this book in my favorite genre book store, Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA. Each year I visit this store looking for the most recent, deserving spec fiction books to read. I read the first chapter in-store and thought this might be it.
Well, yes and no. All the Birds in the Sky is definitely different. The author, former editor-in-chief of io9.com, has intentionally blended science fiction and fantasy into a single story, something that you don't see every day. Laurence is a computer/science geek. Patricia is a witch with magic. Their story is essentially a love story, but it is also an examination of our current society and the dire circumstances in which we might find ourselves if something doesn't change--and fast.
Overall, I'd say Anders book is bold and quirky. An experiment of sorts. It's main weakness, I felt, was that the story felt a little too cerebral for my tastes. It took too much thinking for me to actually enjoy the book. I plowed through it more so in the hopes that something really magnificent was coming than because I felt compelled to turn pages. I actually didn't feel compelled, but instead did so out of commitment and sheer determination to finish what I had started.
But don't misunderstand me. Just because this wasn't my favorite book of the year doesn't mean it might not be yours. There is definitely something about All the Birds in the Sky that is striking and ingenious. And I honestly believe many readers will absolutely love it. It might be you.