This was such a good book! Historical fantasy is probably my favorite genre that I didn't know I loved until I read this book. I enjoyed reading "The Bird King" before bed because it influenced my dreams. It was such a great read--even though I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending.
Fatima, royal concubine in Granada, and her best friend/mapmaker Hassan are on the run from Spanish Inquisitors who've accused Hassan of being a sorcerer. While he's not a sorcerer, his ability to draw maps is special in that he can create maps of places he's never visited AND he can create doors and shortcuts into the Other. The story of their adventure is wrapped in history and mythology, is humorous and poignant, and tests readers' faith and boundaries in religion, friendship, and love.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone interested in mythology and history. While the historical bits are somewhat brief, I took away knowledge about the culture and history of Muslims in Spain during this time. The fantasy is light and is rooted (mostly) in mythology. Religion is another theme present in this book and it correlates with the themes of friendship & love in the story. These themes will sit heavily on readers as they consider Fatima's thoughts on these subjects.
This is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of the year.