On the Horizon – the vanished birds (Simon Jimenez)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

the vanished birds (Simon Jimenez)

Title: the vanished birds

Author: Simon Jimenez

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Del Ray

Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0593128985

Source: NetGalley

The Vanished Birds

This is certainly an excellent debut novel even if the third part of the book didn’t work for me.  The book follows three people – a ship’s Captain (Nia), a scientist (Fumiko), and a mute boy who falls from the sky.  Eventually the lives of all three of these people intersect and changes the world.

This really was a hard novel to classify so if any of this sounds interesting give it a shot.  Though the three characters are the overall focus, the plot is not a straightforward one.  In fact, the beginning of the novel showcases a minor trading planet and the life of one of its residents.  How this section unfolds is beautifully written but the true significance of the setting doesn’t manifest until much later in the novel.  This novel is not full of action and battles like a lot of sci-fi.  Instead it deals with large ideas, interpersonal relationships, and the consequences of choices interacting with the passage of time.

Part one features the introduction of all three characters.  Ye have Nia who be a ship’s captain (Arrr!) who runs an interstellar shipping route.  The main problem is that time for her be relativistic.  A trip that takes months for her is years or decades for the rest of the world.  Consequently she is rather closed off and focuses on the moment.  Fumiko is a brilliant designer baby whose talents literally open up the stars.  However the choices she makes in terms of her career have long term impacts both professionally and personally.  The boy is rescued from a crash as a sole survivor.  He ends up being the linchpin between Nia and Fumiko.  This section introduces the history of Earth, the pasts of Nia and Fumiko, and sets up the mystery of the boy.  It was spellbinding.

Part two deals with the boy at the center.  This section primarily takes place on Nia’s ship and the worlds she is trading with.  This part deals the most with interpersonal relationships and the ideas of found family.  The ship’s mission is fascinating and witnessing this time period is lovely.  It feels quiet and contemplative but was never boring.  Ye get answers to the mystery of the boy and watch him grow and mature.  His very presence changes everyone around him for the better.  I grew to love both him and the other ship’s occupants.

Part three is where this book started to fail me because the plot took an abrupt left turn.  Up until then I would have given this book five stars.  In this section, the boy becomes a political and monetary weapon.  I felt that the entire book was believable and beautifully executed until part three’s very first sentence.  Then the confusion began.  Corporation politics is the focus and the choices they make regarding the boy were absolutely mind-boggling and strange.  The events that happen to Nia and Fumiko were equally perplexing.  There were good things in this section but overall the tone shifted and realism seemed to dissipate.

This book is compelling in that I continue to think about ramifications of the plot and writing long after completing the novel.  In fact, the review took over a week and a half to write because I was pondering how I felt about the reading experience.  Ultimately the last 10% was unsatisfying and the conclusion was horrible and I hated it.  However, up until that third section, I was completely engrossed and loving it.  I do believe that the author is one to watch and I will certainly be picking up whatever he writes next because I loved the first two parts.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Random House!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Simon Jimenez – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the vanished birds – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

24 thoughts on “On the Horizon – the vanished birds (Simon Jimenez)

  1. Hmm. This is next up for me… now I’m not sure what to think. I really hate books with bad endings- especially if the rest of it was good. I think I’ll have to read it and come back to this post. I appreciate the heads up though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a unique concept for a novel. I will definitely read it– even if part III didn’t work out for you. It’s good to go in with appropriate expectations. You didn’t like the ending? Sigh. Good to know for the future.

    I love books which stay with you long after you finish reading them. What is it which stuck with you the longest?

    Like

  3. What a fabulous review, Cap. Though I think such a poor ending is something of a dealbreaker for me and I have a stack of wonderful books to get through at the moment, so I don’t think I’ll bite. Shame on the editor for allowing the book to take such a random direction!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the ending is supposed to be mind-blowing in the possibilities of space travel but just doesn’t work. I think skipping this one be just fine. I hope his next book improves because he does have talent. I do wonder what the editor was thinking!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m regularly very disappointed at the general standard of editing, these days. Which is a shame, because it leaves inexperienced authors very exposed in a way that didn’t happen, even only seven or eight years ago…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see a lot of newer authors hiring their own editors and I think it be a smart move. I mean it sucks that they have to spend their own money but the poorly edited books stand out. Though I guess folks can peer edit their stuff. I just wish editing wasn’t so tied to how much money they might get in return.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s an ongoing issue for both indie and traditionally published authors, Cap. Especially as it seems to be an area where traditional publishers are pennypinching, these days…

        Like

    1. I am still thinking about this book and characters. I kinda decided to try and throw the part I didn’t like out of me noggin. I particularly keep thinking about how amazing the set-up was. I can’t increase me rating based on the bad ending but I do think it be fantastic debut on many levels. It’s one of the weird books that I can’t recommend but wish many people would read it so I can talk about it more.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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