The Resource The bird king, G. Willow Wilson

The bird king, G. Willow Wilson

Label
The bird king
Title
The bird king
Statement of responsibility
G. Willow Wilson
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Hassan, palace mapmaker in the royal court of Granada, has a secret: he can draw maps of places he's never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan's surrender, Fatima, a concubine in the court, befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan's gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? Traversing Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, what is the price of of their freedom? -- adapted from jacket
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
LibraryReads Favorites, 2019.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Wilson's (Alif the Unseen, 2012) newest novel is a historical fantasy set during the violence, bigotry, and hysteria of the Spanish Inquisition. Fatima is a young concubine in the court of the last Muslim sultan in Spain. She has lived a pampered life at the cost of her freedom. When her one true friend, Hassan, a royal mapmaker who can draw maps that bend reality, is set to be sacrificed by the sultan in order to satisfy the inquisitors, Fatima risks everything to escape with him. With the help of various jinn and other unlikely allies, Fatima and Hassan's journey tests their endurance and their faith. This is a novel that thoughtfully contemplates the meaning of love, power, religion, and freedom. But even while exploring all of these heavy issues, this is a fun, immersive adventure that moves at a brisk pace through lush settings, across dangerous terrain, and eventually out to the open sea. This ultimately life-affirming tale of a young woman who rejects her dismal fate and creates her own family will appeal to readers of S. A. Chakraborty’s City of Brass (2017), Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni (2013), and Naomi Novik's fairy tale-esque Uprooted (2015). -- Becky Spratford (Reviewed 1/1/2019) (Booklist, vol 115, number 9, p50)
  • Lush and wonderful language, characters, and worldbuilding make this an enjoyable read for fans of historical fantasy. The relationship between concubine Fatima and mapmaker Hassan is multifaceted and compelling. A good choice for readers who liked Uprooted and City of Brass. -- Nora Walsh, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ. (LibraryReads, March 2019)
  • Gr 10 Up—Although she lives a luxurious life in the sultan's harem, the only thing Fatima craves is freedom. With the help of Vikram, a jinn who fades from man to dog, Fatima and Hassan, her best friend and magical cartographer, flee the palace when Hassan becomes a target of the Spanish Inquisition. Wilson weaves Arabic, Islam, and Islamic traditions to create an adult novel brimming with YA appeal—one that questions the meaning of time and reality. --Staff (Reviewed 05/01/2019) (School Library Journal, vol 65, issue 4, p39)
  • Wilson (Alif the Unseen) sets her swashbuckling second novel amid an epic clash between cultures on the Iberian peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition. Fatima, the most beautiful girl at the court of Al Andalus in Granada, is Sultan Abu Abdullah’s favored concubine. But she loves only her friend Hassam, the palace mapmaker, who possesses an uncanny ability to conjure doors to whole new rooms—or even whole new worlds. When the Spanish send a delegation to demand the surrender of the Alhambra from the sultan, they bring with them the Baronesa Luz. Invited to the harem to be entertained, Luz gains the confidence of Fatima, but after Hassam’s gifts are carelessly revealed, Fatima discovers Luz is part of the Inquisition. When Luz condemns Hassam as a sorcerer, he and Fatima are forced to flee. They make one harrowing escape after another (and another) by land and sea, helped by the vampire-jinn Vikram (who takes the form of a dog); his fickle feline sister, Azalel; Gwennec the ill-fated monk; and various other fantastical entities. Fatima remains the hero throughout, her courage and loyalty the only attributes that can save them. Though marketed as literary fiction, this book is pure fantasy, and teen readers especially will relish suspending their disbelief as Fatima and Hassam careen from one violent fray to the next. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 12/10/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 50, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ After several years writing comic books, the author of World Fantasy Award-winning novel Alif the Unseen (2012) returns to long-form fiction with a lovely fable sent during the final days of the Reconquista. Restless, angry 17-year-old Fatima has had a relatively cosseted existence as a slave in the Alhambra palace harem, serving the sultan of Granada as his favorite concubine and his mother as her close companion. But as the sultan prepares to surrender his lands to Ferdinand and Isabella, rulers of the recently united Spain, all that is thrown into upheaval when Fatima inadvertently betrays her beloved friend Hassan to the Inquisition, which believes him to be a sorcerer. In fact, Hassan is a gay cartographer with a narrow but powerful magic: He can create new shortcuts between places with his maps as well as draw locations he has never seen, including some which don't become real until he draws them. Fatima and Hassan make a desperate escape, aided by capricious jinn, but the Inquisition seems always to be just behind them. Their only possible refuge might lie in the fragment of an old poem the two companions have pored over since childhood, about the mysterious island of Qaf, hidden refuge of the king of birds. The worldbuilding is well-constructed but is primarily a support for Wilson's chief focus on character, specifically on Fatima's growing understanding of the nature of freedom and responsibility. Wilson also delicately explores the nature of a love outside the physical through the complex and very genuine relationship shared by Fatima and Hassan. And she has some interesting things to imply about the nature of evil, particularly how it's personified through Luz, the Dominican lay sister who serves as an Inquisitor for the Holy Office. Partway through the story, Luz becomes possessed by a dark creature personified as a mote in her eye; it might be simpler to believe that it's the mote that goads her toward torment and murder, but she joined the Inquisition and carried with her the implements of torture long before the possession. She has the potential to become a better person, but future deeds can't really blot out her past ones. A thoughtful and beautiful balance between the real and the fantastic. (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2019)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10760056
Cataloging source
PUL
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1982-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wilson, G. Willow
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Cartographers
  • Inquisition
  • Voyages and travels
  • Spain
  • FICTION / Fantasy / Historical
  • Cartographers
  • Inquisition
  • Voyages and travels
  • Spain
Label
The bird king, G. Willow Wilson
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1042097921
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
  • First edition.
  • First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
Extent
403 pages
Isbn
9780802129031
Lccn
2018045952
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1042097921
Label
The bird king, G. Willow Wilson
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
on1042097921
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
  • First edition.
  • First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
Extent
403 pages
Isbn
9780802129031
Lccn
2018045952
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1042097921

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