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The Bird King

Narrated by: Elmira Rahim
Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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Publisher's 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 to Christian 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.

©2019 G. Willow Wilson (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Epigraph translation © Richard Davis and Afkham Darbandi, from The Conference of the Birds by Attar

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good enough to suffer through the poor narration

The Bird King is an exciting adventure with undercurrents of social commentary and maybe even a dash of "feminist anthem" for extra flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed the story line and the characters. G. Willow Wilson did a great job of creating whole people - imperfect and complicated, but each one valid in their own right. The blend between the real world and the realm of jinni and sorcery is beautifully done, and I found it easy to gloss over the small handful of events that probably could've used a little more explanation.

Having said all that - I almost returned the book after the first 20 minutes. I'm sure Elmira Rahim is a fine actress, and I could tell that she really put forth effort in keeping the characters distinct...but her bizarre emphasis and random mid-sentence pauses were painful to listen to. I can't imagine why she was chosen to narrate this audio book. The narration was so poor that I can't actually recommend listening to The Bird King on Audible - but instead, go pick up the hard copy book and read it to yourself.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Increase narration speed for best enjoyment.

Terrific story! Speed up the near ration and it is beautifully narrated. Really engaging Storey story and a great read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor Narration killed the book for me

I love audio books for my long commute, but the narration was hard to bear. Her intonation made the characters sound haughty and condescending, slow pace gave it a tedious edge and at times I couldn’t focus on the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful