Liked very much

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alysa_h Avatar


I really liked this. The author beautifully evokes the fading world of al-Andalus, with memorable characters in good friends Fatima and Hassan, and the unusual villain Luz (and the rest!), good pacing, and just the right touch of the supernatural. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book.

The whole thing actually reminds me very much of Katherine Arden's Winternight books, as unlikely as that may sound given that Arden's books take place in Russia. The writing style, the fantastical elements, the protofeminist messaging -- To me, it's almost like Arden's story and Wilson's story could be taking place simultaneously, in different parts of the same imagined world.

This was almost a 5-star read for me, but for the last bit. Of a sudden, the tight plotting came undone in favor of some wibbly-wobbly stuff after one of the central mysteries of the story had been more or less resolved. It felt less like the author was intentionally meditating on What Comes Next after a quest is over, and more like she just flat out didn't know how to end her book in a fully satisfying way. But maybe that's just me, considering that this can all also be taken to say that there's no real end to spiritual/religious conflict, when all the different "sides" are essentially fighting for the same thing -- here sort of represented by the island of Qaf -- through different means.

I've read that this book has some character overlap with Wilson's previous novel, Alif the Unseen. I definitely want to read that, and more of Wilson's work. I was overall really impressed by The Bird King!

** I received a Review Copy of this book via NetGalley **