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The bird king
2019
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Summary

From award-winning author G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King is an epic journey set during the reign of the last sultan in the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition.

G. Willow Wilson's debut novel Alif the Unseen was an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and it established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. Now she delivers The Bird King , a stunning new novel that tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan 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 befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan's gift as sorcery and a threat toChristian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
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. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist 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 Copyright 2019 Booklist
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