The Bird King eARC Review

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads: 

– …Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret—he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

So you all just saw this yesterday, but, surprise! I’m waiting until Saturday to review Descendant of the Crane and I have another review already scheduled for tomorrow, so here we go, two days in a row of The Bird King.

I really couldn’t explain why I liked this book as much as I did, I mean other than because in my opinion it was a really good book but if I were to give out a list of reasons, I’m not sure what would go on those. Wilson has a flowery sort of prose that’s really lovely to read, so that’s one, but I think the main reason would be because her characters are so beautifully human (the ones that are human!).

They are beautiful, selfish, ugly, kind, pious and sinning, and they are wonderfully flawed each and every one.

Think about it, a protagonist who is selfish but yet selfless and it isn’t grating on your nerves or made to feel fake. That said, I think it’s great because Wilson has decided to give you a protagonist that you can choose to love or hate but that will still make the story powerful.

The antagonist is frightening because of just how real they are and I always find those always make the best ‘villains’ the ones that are too plausible.

Fatima’s best friend Hassan is gay, and in the 1400s, well, it was the sort of thing the Inquisition could ‘get you’ for. But more than that, as I don’t want to spoil anything I’ll not say more about Hassan, there is this great feeling of fluidity when it comes to the sexuality of the characters.  I would say Fatima herself is maybe even more pansexual than anything? [Think Jack Harkness, she likes what she likes, but this isn’t really a romance novel]

^ Speaking on that last []^ It was a freakin’ BLESSING for me to read a story that didn’t try to force a romance down my throat, I mean with Descendant of the Crane that book was amazing, start to finish, and did its romance right as well but I’ve had this slump with people trying to force romances [I’m looking at you Ready Player One] and this was great for me. You are getting to know a different sort of love. A love of a friendship that just made my heart swell.

Wilson writes a fanciful historical fiction set during the Inquisition, the Spaniards, Granada, a Jinn (or more possibly? No spoilers), monsters human and not, adventure, loss, and the price of freedom with the worth of freedom as well. Poignant and with such a feel of humanity for better or worse, this book was well worth the read.

I would say that you have to be ready for this book, to go on this journey because I think if you’re not ready for it, it might be the reason it’ll drag for you.

I know some complained about pacing but I think because I like this sort of pacing in novel it wasn’t an issue for me, I didn’t think it went slowly but you do go from a sort of ‘frantic’ part to I guess could be seen as a lull but to me it was still on the edge of my seat type of thing. The Bird King is beautifully written and it was another great read for me, so, it’s been a nice group of great books.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

**Content Warning:** Death, violence, and the chance the book will rip your heart out and stomp on it. But you know, no biggie. 

The Spitfire Girls ARC Review

First off, guys, I’m wheezing because I accidentally wrote Spitefire and I feel like that was my subconscious talking.

ratingiconratingiconratingicon|
Blurb: At the height of World War II, the British Air Transport Auxiliary need help. A group of young women volunteer for action, but the perils of their new job don’t end on the tarmac. Things are tough in the air, but on the ground, their abilities as pilots are constantly questioned.

There is friction from the start, between the new recruits. Spirited American Lizzie turns heads with her audacity, but few can deny her flying skills. She couldn’t be more different from shy, petite Ruby, who is far from diminutive in the sky. It falls to pragmatic pilot May to bring the women together and create a formidable team capable of bringing the aircraft home.

As these very different women fight to prove themselves up to the task at hand, they are faced with challenges and tragedies at every turn. They must fight for equal pay and respect while handling aircraft that are dangerously ill-equipped; meanwhile, lives continue to be lost in the tumult of war.

Determined to assist the war effort doing what they love, can May, Lizzie and Ruby put aside their differences to overcome adversity, and will they find love in the skies?

[^ Let me tell you if I read that last little line/rhetorical question, I may not have jumped so eagerly to read it.]

Pros:
-Freakin WWII Women Pilots, I mean, seriously, how awesome is that?!
-Women Pilots
-Women Pilots flying huge bomber planes
-Are we seeing my pattern here yet?
-It’s sweet and fluffy and a book you can pick up and read while waiting for an appointment without getting too consumed.

Cons:
-Cringe-worthy stereotypical characters: You have the brash rude and horrible American, the demure, sweet, insecure small girl, the stoic ‘I can’t show emotions’ Commander.
-Honestly, the American in the first chapter is just shown as headstrong but then suddenly when we see her next she’s a spoiled little princess, or at least that’s what Lane wants you to think and I ended up just liking her more because she was competitive, ambitious, and went after what she wanted.
-The rivalry between the American and little Ms. Perfect was vomit inducing, of course, the sweet quiet one is the favored one, who wouldn’t want an insecure pilot flying a bomber plane?
-Of course, we have to have the overly confident one go through a personality change -ugh-.
-She switches between three characters and it just feels like they have no depth and their love stories are mushy gushy, so if you like that [the mushy gushy], throw it up in the pros!

Really I’m just not a sweet and fluffy person but I can tell you one thing, had this been a movie, I would have probably thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, I wanted to give this 2.5 but I realized, why should I rate a book so low just because I’m an unbelievable cynic? I hate sweet fluff with no depth, but, you know what, sometimes it’s nice to read that and not have to deal with a book that will emotionally drain you, plus it’s nice that she chose to focus on these women in history. I just feel that others have and will do better with this time in history. I intend to look into more books about our female WWII pilots.

This book comes out on February 26, I read this in exchange for an honest review and received it via NetGalley.