Blurb:

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.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

The Vanished Birds will be released on Amazon and other major retailers January 14th, 2020! Preorder now!

Quote:

Nia gave her a funny look while she drank. “He’s a guest on our ship. I’m entertaining him.”
“You know you can’t keep him.”
Nia put her cup down beside Nurse’s. “No one said I was going to.”
“No one needed to. It’s obvious you’ve become attached.”
“Why are you talking about this?”
“You know exactly why,” she said. “The moment we reach Pelican Station, Umbai is going to take their cargo. That includes the boy. He trespassed on their property. They have first rights.

Review:

Well then. The Vanished Birds left me feeling utterly and completely blindsided. This book and its ending was not what I expected, and I can’t say whether I’m happy or sad about that. But I can say I enjoyed the ride by the end.

The story of The Vanished Birds starts of weirdly enough. It was a series of short stories that you could tell were in the same universe, but not of the same story. Which was interesting but made it a little hard to get into. Then it settled out into the story of a very extraordinary boy.

Something that you don’t get from the blurb but you learn very early on: this is a story about rampant Capitalism. The company that finally managed to thrust humanity into the stars owns and controls everything. This idea follows every single step of the journey. Simon Jimenez shows the effects Capitalism has had on the lives of every single person we interact with. It was really well done.

The characters were the strongest part of the book. This ragtag collection of people from all walks of life are just chugging along in a capitalistic society trying to figure out how to do what they want and need to do against the strictures society places on them. There is triumph occasionally, but often there is guilt, too. I loved the characters. I loved how they reacted to the hardships put in front of them.

Then there is the whole “protect the magic boy from the evil corporation who is just going to use him” aspect of the story. Which is exactly something I wanted to read after just coming off of Anne McCaffrey’s The Talent/The Tower and the Hive series. This was done absolutely perfectly, and I loved it. I loved following the boy’s journey, even before I knew he had something special about him. I’m a sucker for broken characters.

However, the book never quite went where I wanted it to go. I struggled against it quite a bit, trying to break out of the confines of the story. It is a great story, very well written, well put together, everything. I just wanted it to do things in a different way than what was going on the entire time. Yet I’m glad the story went the way it did by the end. Everything went the way it went to set up for what happened, and I’m so glad I read this.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Simon Jimenez, Random House Publishing Group/Del Rey, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!