Friday, March 27, 2015

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman.

Title- Nightbird.
Author- Alice Hoffman.
Publish date- March, 2015.
Publisher- Simon and Schuster.
RRP- $16.99 (AUD)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
There's a certain magic that abounds in the town of Sidwell, from the pink apples that grow there and nowhere else, to the monster that the townspeople claim live in the forests. The monster, they say, that is becoming dangerous and needs to be captured.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this review copy!
Image Source: Simon and Schuster.

What I thought:

Nightbird was a middle grade read I could’ve read as a younger person, when I was eight or nine, and it would have engaged me and amazed me and I would always have looked on it fondly. It would have been one of those favourite childhood reads that you pass on and treasure the memory of, and I hope for at least one child who reads it they find that book. But I also think that if it had been one of those favourite childhood books, it would also have been one I’d read again, older, and feel disappointed by. It has magic and wonder and so much potential, Nightbird, but I feel like it kept it simple, too simple for me to really get into and feel like I could be there, or for me to cherish; it’s a wonderful story and premise and idea, and I think it would be an excellent book to give with the intention of helping a middle grade reader enjoy reading and feel impassioned by stories, but as a reader personally I would have liked to see the magic embellished and heightened, the beauty of the forest and the town of Sidwell strengthened, the chapters more full of detail and less the quick passing of time and few happenings that they were.

I’m not sure how I felt about the characters, on the whole. I did feel for Twig and the way of life her mother had forced her into, didn’t get the mother’s reasoning as being practical or likely, was a bit frustrated by the way Twig thought Julia, the girl who moves in next door and who is very sweet, wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore because she had got other friends at school now (she shared her mother’s shaky reasoning, here), and my eyebrow quirked at the whole dynamic of the romance between two other characters, which was very much made of insta-live and thou must take the high moral standing because thou knowest best.
It was a book of big things that were taken on my young characters who didn’t always seem to have that means of background proof they thought they did. Throw caution to the wind! We can do it, kind of thing. These were characters who seemed to think they knew best, despite a lack of evidence to that case, those elements you sometimes find in books you grew up loving and later become a touch suspicious of.
Yet I did enjoy it. For the magic. (Though I wish there’d been more!)

Rating: Hmm...
I wish it had had more magicality and more reasonable characters, but this was a neat, enjoyable, good basis for further reading.


  1. I read another iffy review of this book on another blog as well - this is probably not for me because MG reads aren't really capturing my imagination as much as it did when I was younger. This seems like a good book to recommend to any kids I know though! And it's great that you did enjoy some parts of it!

    1. I love the fact that there are always SOME MG books that reach across ages, but I agree- I'm always disappointed when they *don't* capture me. I have so much hope for loving all the books! xx

  2. It is kind of sad that these books aren't able to really connect with us anymore, isn't it? I've had the same experience with other MG books and it is really a shame. I wish I had read more when I was younger.

    1. It is. It really is. Kind of sobering. Though there's always the ones that extend across everything and are brilliant, no matter what your age. The classics often are those, for me, but also HP (the earlier ones were MG, I believe), and The Giver. Perhaps time for some old time MG rereads! xx

    2. I completely agree, I was actually thinking of Harry Potter when I wrote the comment, I reread it every year and definitely would say it appeals to all ages. I only recently read The Giver and loved it, so I'm with you on that as well!

  3. I have this one for review and am really looking forward to it. I love the size of it because I've read some big books lately. I'm hoping I can still enjoy it, even with the age it's aimed at. There are plenty of MG books I've loved, despite them being for children, and that's the mark of a great story I think. I was hoping this one will be the same. I guess we'll see. Great review.

    1. Oh, I hope you enjoy it! It is nice to have small books, sometimes. I'm reading a massive one at the moment, and it's enjoyable to have that transition from big to small. I love how many small books you can get through in a matter of days!
      Oh, I really agree with that! Here's hoping it works for you. xx

  4. I know what you mean about being disappointed by books you used to enjoy. I still read YA (and occasionally middle grade), but my reading tastes HAVE changed a little. I'm a much more critical reader than I used to be, and sometimes that hinders my enjoyment of a book I used to like. I firmly believe that good books can be enjoyed by all ages, but there are still books that I was able to enjoy more at a younger age. I'm glad that you still found some good things in this book though!

    1. Oh yes, my reading tastes have changed so much since I started blogging, too, but it's nice... finding new genres and types of books to enjoy. Sad when you stop enjoying others you've loved, but I suppose there'll always be those books you never stop adoring.
      Fabulous comment, Vlora! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! xx


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