Happy book birthday today to Nightbirds! I got an early finished copy through Bookish First and enjoyed it more than any YA I’ve read in recent memory. I wish all YA fantasy was like this!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Nightbirds
- Series: Nightbirds #1
- Author: Kate J Armstrong
- Publisher & Release: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2/28/23
- Length: 480 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fans of YA fantasy and strong women!
Here’s the synopsis from Am*zon:
In a dazzling new fantasy world full of whispered secrets and political intrigue, the magic of women is outlawed but four girls with unusual powers have the chance to change it all.
The Nightbirds are Simta’s best-kept secret: Girls with a unique and powerful magic they can gift with just a kiss. Some would kill to possess them; the church would kill them outright. But protected by the Great Houses, the Nightbirds are well-guarded treasures.
As this Season’s Nightbirds, Matilde, Æsa, and Sayer will spend their nights bestowing their gifts to well-paying clients. Once their season is through, they’re each expected to marry a Great House lord and become mothers to the next generation of Nightbirds before their powers fade away. But as they find themselves at the heart of a political scheme that threatens not only their secrets, but their very lives, their future suddenly becomes uncertain.
When they discover that there are other girls like them and that their magic is far more than they were told, they see the Nightbird system for what it is: a gilded cage. Now they must make a choice—to remain kept birds or take control, remaking the city that dared to clip their wings.
First off the overall presentation is stunning. We get two lovely detailed maps and some internal artwork, and as an added bonus the font is a bit bigger and we’ll spaced (typical of YA) but my poor eyes loved reading it.
The magic is lush (reminds me of Roshani Chokshi but toned down). It paints the scene whether it’s small, pretty tricks or earth shaking feats of magic. The characters all have unique abilities based off what element they are attracted to. Bowing dragons made of fire, plant magic, it’s nothing terribly unique but I liked it.
Plus the writing moves constantly forward. There is none of that repetitive inner monologue crap that YA has gotten so notoriously bad about. It’s just so refreshing to read a book that’s always moving forward. Another thing that I really dislike about YA these days is that ever book tends to feature “romance”, and Nightbirds is blessedly light on any of that content! There are a few crushes and kisses but NO PINING, it’s just, oh, I wish they were all like this.
Take a hint publishers, editors, authors: keep the smut in adult books!
There’s enough political plotting to keep it interesting too without boring anyone with deep dive details into any of the government structure. It’s not too hard to figure out who’s in charge and there’s enough betrayal to keep it fresh.
Lastly there are the types of epigraphs that I love reading. Those which add little extras to the culture of the world. Some were tied into the story and some were just there to add flavor but I liked them.
Overall? It’s not perfect but I’ve got no content issues, was never bored, and flew through this book. I can’t wait for the sequel. If all YA was like this I’d read a lot more of it!
Thanks for checking out my book review of Nightbirds by Kate J Armstrong. I claimed my early finished copy through Bookish First and as always, all opinions are my own ♥️