Fantasy Novels Fantasy Reviews

‘The Bird King’ Review: A Magical Race to Survive

The Bird King is an enchanting, beautifully passionate tale of love and perseverance against all odds. With jinns, magic, and last-minute saves aplenty, it’s a thrilling tale of hope in a time when war and zealotry threatens to destroy the world.

Fatima is a strong, powerful woman who runs from a life forced upon her and finds freedom by forging her own path. She doesn’t compromise her own beliefs, even when it would save her, and that determination and sheer will to survive is incredibly admirable. This isn’t a world that has given her much reason to hope for a better life on the horizon, but she refuses to believe that and powers through anyway. Her friendship with Hassan is steadfast and built on a deeper form of love than most relationships. Their fates are tied together early on and they continue to defy the odds with the help of Hassan’s abilities and a few jinn along the way. His is a magic that is hard to understand, yet it works, adding a sense of wonder to the proceedings as doors appear or places shimmer into existence. It’s impossible not to want Fatima and Hassan to make it and, at the last possible second, they always find a way. 

The novel’s relationship with magic is fascinating, giving us impossible things that don’t seem grandiose or mind blowing. The magic is an uncontested part of their world. Doors appear, jinn disguised as dogs or cats are just around, lending a helping hand when needed. This casual attitude makes this version of the world a truly magical place, creating an almost fairy tale feel to the narrative. The primary jinn, Vikram, is hilarious and incredibly sarcastic, always adding a touch of levity to a situation that would otherwise be terrifying.

Overall, The Bird King is a wonderful book filled with surprises and characters who are as layered as they are brave. It’s a work of art that’s a true joy to read. 

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

The Bird King

By G. Willow Wilson
Grove Press

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