Patricia is a witch who can talk to birds. Laurence is an engineering genius with a supercomputer in his closet. As teenagers they form an odd friendship to survive the horrors of middle school but they drift apart as their lives take different paths. When they meet again as adults, both are trying to save the world in their own way; Patricia secretly repairs the world's wrongs with magic while Laurence is desperately trying to help humanity colonise the stars. Despite their different backgrounds, the witch and the mad scientist realise that they have to work together to save our future.
All the Birds in the Sky is a quirky read that is very difficult to classify. With a blend of witches, mad scientists, environmental catastrophes, romance, and a demented assassin, All the Birds in the Sky is neither fantasy, romance or science fiction but a crazy brew of all three. There is a lot going on for a short book; there's a magic school, a prophecy, inter-dimensional travel, talking animals, and the end of the world just for starters. However, and I found this very frustrating, these were painted in broad strokes and very much part of the background. I also felt like the main plot was sometimes buried under all the other stuff which was going on.
That being said, I did end up enjoying this book. The two protagonists were wonderfully well drawn with rich inner lives and their romance was very sweet and utterly charming. I also enjoyed the way this book was written. It was somehow whimsical and matter-of-fact at the same time and something about the way it's written is very reminiscent of children's fantasy. I also sort of liked the sheer demented inventiveness of the book as you never knew what the hell was going to happen next.
At its heart, All the Birds in the Sky is a romance in with a setting which combines magical realism with science fiction. It's utterly bonkers, charming, often hilarious, and always surprising.
Recommended For: People looking for something a bit different.
Read On: If you like the blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements, try The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin.