All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. 4.5 stars right up to the final action, then 2 stars. So 3.5 overall, I guess?
The teaser from Goodreads:
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.
But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
This one is a toughie. It hooked me from word one, and by page 20, I wanted to start a file for quotable quotes. It’s weird, the strange and gloriously disjointed, evocative plot reads fast and easily, and the writing has so many chunks of prosey, roll-in-the-mouth word goodness–I should be falling over myself shouting about it. And yet I’mnot, because by the end, I wasn’t blown away. I felt let down. I’m glad I read it, but the resolution to all the promising beginnings left me saying meh– much the same way I felt after season 9 of X-Files. (That’s it? THAT’S IT?) The weave of this book’s plot had so much promise, so much fire, but it sailed into cliche waters, where it fizzled and then drifted into “not this again/same old conflict/really? REALLY?!” by the last chapter.
I do heartily recommend it for the style and presentation of characters alone, but your enjoyment may heavily depend on how much you like the story itself. And how much plot weighs into your enjoyment of books in general. And I…wanted more than this one gave me.