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The Bird King: A Novel by [G. Willow Wilson]
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The Bird King: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 221 ratings

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Length: 424 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible book:
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up-Although she lives a luxurious life in the sultan's harem, the only thing Fatima craves is freedom. With the help of Vikram, a jinn who fades from man to dog, Fatima and Hassan, her best friend and magical cartographer, flee the palace when Hassan becomes a target of the Spanish Inquisition. Wilson weaves Arabic, Islam, and Islamic traditions to create an adult novel brimming with YA appeal-one that questions the meaning of time and reality.α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.


Praise for The Bird King

“I loved this book so much . . . The Bird King is ostensibly the story of a journey, of the limits to escape―but it is also a journey into story, and faith, and refuge, the family we choose and the friends we find. It’s deeply beautiful and wondrously sad, and I can't tell if it ended too quickly or if I just needed it not to―if I just wanted to dwell in a home built out of story for a little longer yet.”NPR

“I truly cannot remember the last time I read a book that made me feel the way The Bird King made me feel . . . No summary, no quotes, no analysis of this book can communicate the all-encompassing pleasure of reading it, paragraph after paragraph, page after page. Read it, and treasure it.”Arts Fuse

The Bird King is a compelling, beautifully paced, and beautifully written historical fantasy . . . Wilson skillfully navigates the dualities of love and hate, freedom and captivity, faith and doubt, choice and obligation, and finds all the shades of gray between them. I laughed, I cried, I bit my nails in terror, and I wanted nothing more than to continue spending time with Fatima, Hassan, and their merry band of misfits. An amazing new book from a genuine talent; and while I love her comics work, The Bird King makes me hope that we won’t have to wait another 7 years before her next novel.”Book Riot

“Steeped in magical realism . . . [and] enchanting otherworldly trappings, it is primarily a novel of ideas. [The Bird King] grapples with who we are, how we love, [and] why we worship . . . [with] prose so vivid and original that one can only read it with envy.”

The Bird King is marvelous in the deepest sense―a treasure-house of a novel, thrilling, tender, funny, and achingly gorgeous. I loved it.”―Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy

“A gorgeous, ambitious meditation on faith, platonic love, magic and even storytelling itself, with a trio of unforgettable personalities serving as its beating, endlessly vital heart. The Bird King is a triumph . . . Wilson has once again proven that she’s one of the best fantasy writers working today, with a book that’s just waiting for readers to get happily lost in its pages.”BookPage

“A fun, immersive adventure that moves at a brisk pace through lush settings, across dangerous terrain, and eventually out to the open sea . . . [The Bird King] will appeal to readers of S. A. Chakraborty’s City of Brass, Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni, and Naomi Novik’s fairy tale-esque Uprooted.”Booklist (starred review)

The Bird King takes a time period that’s passed into cliché and makes it new and strange again. In this novel, the real runs alongside the fantastic, one informing the other, G. Willow Wilson’s eye for detail and her titanic imagination pumping together like pistons. She’s incredible. The Bird King has big things to say about states and souls, and it’s going to take you on a rollicking ride while it says them. I was fascinated and riveted and, by the end, deeply moved.”―Robin Sloan, author of Sourdough

“A breathtaking historical fantasy . . . To say Wilson is a talented storyteller does not adequately capture the magnificent dimensions of her work . . . The Bird King [is] a more-than-worthy follow-up to Alif the Unseen. It’s not necessary to read one before the other, but only a fool would miss them both.”Shelf Awareness

“Teeming with secrets, violence, and magic, G. Willow Wilson’s characters come alive in a backdrop of 15th century Spain that is at once sinister and lush. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, the world held me captive and I’m haunted by it still.”―Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes

“A lovely fable set during the final days of the Reconquista . . . [The Bird King is] a thoughtful and beautiful balance between the real and the fantastic.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] swashbuckling second novel amid an epic clash between cultures.”Publishers Weekly


“G. Willow Wilson has a deft hand with myth and with magic, and the kind of smart, honest writing mind that knits together and bridges cultures and people. You should read what she writes.”―Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust and American Gods, on Alif the Unseen

“[G. Willow Wilson] works magic . . . Ms. Wilson has not set out to copy J.K. Rowling’s books or anyone else’s; she has her own fertile imagination and fanciful narrative style.”New York Times

“Wilson has a Dickensian gift for summoning a city and peopling it with memorable characters.”Washington Post

“Wilson seems to delight in establishing, then confounding, any expectations readers may have . . . For those who view American fiction as provincial, or dominated by competent but safe work, Wilson’s novel offers a resounding, heterodox alternative.”New York Times Book Review

“Alif the Unseen is one of those novels that has you rushing to find what else the author has written, and eagerly anticipating what she’ll do next.”―Matt Ruff, author of Fool on the Hill and The Mirage

Alif the Unseen richly rewards believers in the power of the written word.”Seattle Times

“Wilson refreshingly, and without condescension, uses Islamic folklore to tell a story of state oppression, resistance and hope.”Guardian (UK)

“Wilson’s voice is magical and effortless, blending real-world issues with the wonderment of Arabian fairy tales.”Philadelphia Inquirer

“A ferocious new voice in fiction.”BookPage

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Publication Date : March 12, 2019
  • File Size : 1177 KB
  • Print Length : 424 pages
  • Publisher : Grove Press (March 12, 2019)
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 221 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
221 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fantasy adventure with a believable heroine and genuine depth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed reading it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 23, 2019
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biking Sandra
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring narration
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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Ms. L. Bateman
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical realism in Moorish Spain
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2019
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H. Bashir
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful - strange, compelling.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 13, 2019
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