Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Fair warning: this review is a bit Adjective laden. I apologize right here and now...some things had to be expressed ... verbosely.
Well well well... This lucky find was a true work of art! It was a magnificently wrapped present that I didn't know I absolutely had to have in my life until I tore into it. It was a lot of things (mostly all sorts of awesome) but it was also somewhat tricky to whittle down to bite size pieces without giving away too much of what I believe to be spoiler material. Soooo I won't regale you with my regurgitated version of the synopsis, better writers than I have succinctly captured its essence. What I will say is that I categorically loved this read!! It beautifully showcased the literary genius that is Simon Jimenez's mind.
Let's start off with the basics. The story was primarily character driven and oh how I lost myself in their depths. The world building, on the other hand, was ethereal, resplendent, and quite impressive but the stars of the show were most definitely the Characters. The Characters were (at times) resilient, hopeful, brave, (at other times) bereft, defiant, and (always) adventurous pioneers... in other words, they were perfectly flawed human beings like the rest of us. The writing was skillful and seasoned without being pretentious. The prose, delicate and not overpowering. The way the characters and their situations were presented were both tasteful and seductive. There were interwoven vignettes that were equal parts gorgeous, traumatizing and oh so poignant. I absolutely adored each character's contribution to the finely woven tapestry, BUT I was a little confused towards the end. I'll have to revisit the last few pages to make sure I got exactly what was being intimated ... AHEM, Ahro's birth (birth mother??)--> Quiet Ship pickup... who the hell called those psychopaths onto the scene?? Anyway, I digress. The rest was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! It jumped around spotlighting seemingly unrelated people and illuminated their seemingly singular lives. Then, slowly, masterfully, the entwining threads of commonality amongst the group started to form a fully cohesive picture. We were constantly seeing through the different character's deliciously tinted shades of Reality and I was SO enamored with that/them/EVERYTHING!
The story was chock full of modern day societal hot topics and dilemmas such as: the dissipation of environmental resources, the ramifications of corporate greed, mass extinctions, genetic tinkering, society's toxic influence on body image, the future of tech and more. It also masterfully portrayed the splendor of Resonance, not only the instrumental kind but that of Familial harmony and the crescendo of carnal cadences as well. There was a plethora of musical accoutrements like the physical act of playing instruments and songs being sung (and internalized) but metaphors and similes and an all around reverence for its presence in the Universe as well. Jimenez colored the Cosmos with a veritable palette of music, light and emotion. It was surreal.
Another thing that made me swoon was the slew of strong female representation, it had me falling deeper in love with every turn of the page. Fummiko was scary brilliant and bucked the traditional views of what makes a Woman desireable and worthy. Nia was strong, smart, at times (reluctantly) affectionate, a loyal friend, and a kick ass Captain that never gave up on who and what she desired/needed. I even adored Dana's gossamer presence BUT I strongly recommend that you do not get too attached to the cast members, Jimenez showed no qualms about harming, mutilating or killing off his beloved characters...snuffed some right out... gone in a blink. So yes, there were times that I raged against the book and times when I coddled and cradled it in my lap. I'm not too proud to admit that there were tears shed too... tears of outrage and tears of profound happiness and best of all were the tears of personal connection. I was put through the gamut of Feels and I begged for more. The end was happy and sad and satisfying all at once (except for that one little hiccup of confusion) and ultimately, it was well worth every emotion wrung out of my storm battered heart.
This SciFi/Space Opera/Dystopian amalgamated gem will certainly appeal to lovers of those genres but I foretell this reaching the Snubbers as well. It's true, Science Fiction...Space Operas... and Dystopian novels aren't for everyone (especially smooshed into the same book) BUT If you're a little reticent and on the fence about picking up The Vanished Birds because you've been spurned in the past by any of those genres, I say go for it anyway because it is most definitely worth the time and emotional investment!
*** I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ***