I gave this witchy fantasy a 4.1/5 stars!
It has not one but TWO detailed maps before it starts gets me all excited.
In the prologue, Teneriffe is buying magic to disguise himself as his father so he can walk into a bank and take out as much money as needed to solve his gambling debt. There’s 3 Nightbird magics to choose from: The Goldfinch, The Ptarmigan, The Nightingale. He must pay entrance with a secret… And I can’t wait to see how everything enfolds. Who is the Goldfinch? Will his magic work? Will he be caught by his father?
Okay so chapter 1 was very long and had three different points of view, who I think are the three Nightbirds. Lo and behold the typical “forced into marriage” trope came up right away but Matilde doesn’t want to settle down. She seems to be the primary heroine, but it’s all written in third person from each point of view, so I’m unsure if they’ll all equally share the stage.
So, Matilde happened to break the number one rule back to back by telling two different people her real identity. Oops. But now she learns someone in government plans to steal all 3 of the Nightbirds. Why? When? Who can they trust?
The the 4th PoV is Levi. Who is this?
Crap now we jump to chapter 3 with the 5th PoV in Leta’s mind.
What’s secrets are the matriarchs keeping from the girls?
It has vibes that reminds me of both ‘Caraval’ and ‘Where Dreams Descend’
Chapter 5- how did Sayer use her magic on herself if it’s not possible?
At the end of Part 1 I’m interested in finding out if their magic is indeed an addictive poison and if so, why?
Why haven’t they been able to use their own magic on themselves before but they can now?
Right near the end of Part 2, the action really picked up. Those hunting the magic users feels a lot like “Serpent and Dove.”
At the halfway point I’m finally getting the hang of each individual’s past and family history line with sires/dames. It had been confusing for a while because of so much head hopping within chapters made it difficult to keep track of who was who and which girl has a crush on which character. All their points of view are third person so their voices are the same in exposition so they all blended together.
Aesa’s character is kind of annoying. Sorry.
When there’s a lot of characters in one scene such as in chapter 20, the sequence of events feels a bit choppy. Such as
Matilde did this.
Sayer does this.
Aesa moved that.
It’s like a list of stage directions.
When Matilde’s big scene starts at the beginning of chapter 29 I’m just confused because the rising climax is happening in 3 different locations so Im trying to track all of them separately and it had been several chapters since Matilde’s last portion. I had to turn back to remember where her part left off. Then after clarification, it still felt as if a big vital piece was left out.
I gave this YA fantasy a 4.1/5 stars. At the end, I’m satisfied with how Nightbirds wrapped up and am looking forward to Fyrebirds to complete the duology. Will the three romantic relationships find resolve? I care more about those than the witch politics. Overall, I felt the writing felt jumpy and jolty at times and wanted the story to flow more. It took me a lot longer to read this compared to other similar novels because of the “jumpiness” that wasn’t super pleasant.