Review of ‘The Vanished Birds’

By Cynthia Bujnicki

The Vanished Birds
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez
Del Rey Books
Image Credit: NetGalley

“A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.” —Goodreads

Published by Del Rey Books, The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez sci-fi tale of the human connection.

The Vanished Birds is a challenging novel that fails to capture the readers’ attention early on. That is not to say that it is a bad novel, but the transition, the chapters, they seem disjointed and do not seem to connect cohesively.

In some ways, this novel is reminiscent of Cloud Atlas. In contrast, the reader can tell that the story is about connection and that each segment relates a different time and different characters, this novel fails to be that cohesive for the first third of the book.

The novel starts in one way that seems to introduce an allegory on slavery. It is a very long first chapter, which makes it a bit daunting to follow up with and read. It follows a young man and the connections he is seeking with the people around him and the people that visit from space to collect the harvest. Then it snaps to another direction, what the synopsis is talking about, following Nia and her connection to the young man she has taken under her wing. Then the story snaps again to a different character and a different time, and at this point, it all seems disjointed. The story’s core conveys the human desire to connect with others, and it does get that across to the reader. Still, it is hard to reconcile the first three chapters having anything much to do with one another. Especially when chapter three does not seem to connect at all, it just discusses the life of the creator of the space stations. That is how she relates to the main character Nia who finally becomes the center of the story. Putting the reader in the position of not understanding the plot’s direction creates a barrier between the reader and the story, which contradicts the meaning of the story.

The novel requires a slow and measured reading for the reader to connect. The central theme of connection rings out, so the author does get their point across. However, the disconnect between the story and the reader remains. The characters lack personality, they read as static characters, and it takes a lot of time for the main character to develop her perspective. Perspective is critical here because, again, her voice lacks character; it lacks substance and personality to pull the reader in and connect to her. Overall, the characters are all bland. The author loses their voices in the story that, for the most part, seems disjointed. (★★☆☆☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

Page count: 400pp

Age Range: 18 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-5931-2898-5

Publisher: Del Rey

List Price: $27.00


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