The Bird of the River

The Bird of the River

by Kage Baker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429943031
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 07/20/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,222,363
File size: 359 KB

About the Author

Kage Baker was an artist, actor, and director at the Living History Centre and taught Elizabethan English as a Second Language. Born in 1952 in Hollywood, she lived in Pismo Beach, California, the Clam Capital of the World. She died on January 31, 2010.


Kage Baker was an artist, actor, and director at the Living History Centre and taught Elizabethan English as a Second Language. Her books include In the Garden of Iden, Sky Coyote, and Mendoza in Hollywood, among many others. Born in 1952 in Hollywood, she lived in Pismo Beach, California, the Clam Capital of the World. She died on January 31, 2010.

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Bird of the River 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
clews-reviews on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Girl finds her place in a colourful world; place is job, family, romance (that's order of importance, not chronology).
selfnoise on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A coming of age story set in Baker's usually lighthearted fantasy world. There are some good characters here and it's an enjoyable read, but it feels like it covers fairly well trodden ground for the most part.
meow9th on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is the third book set in the Children of the Sun world. I really love the world and all the previous books (with the second one, The House of the Stag, I re-read my favourite bits 2-3 times before finally giving the book back to the library), and I think the first one, The Anvil of the World, is perfectly hilarious.I've come to expect comedy and lightheartedness from the characters, even if their enemies are terrible and the racial tensions are grimly realistic. Kage Baker makes you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. When the earth-shattering events come to pass, they sneak up on you because you've been too busy laughing at the antics of the characters to notice that, gosh, there is something serious going on.The Bird of the River differs from this model. It's much more plebian, restricting itself to just Children of the Sun and Yendri (no demons ... or is there?). There are no earth-shattering events (just life-shattering). It's still got funny bits and serious bits and I still laughed and cried, but more inside than out. I also felt that it was darker, a little less humorous in tone, the characters not so lighthearted (or comedic in their gravity).That's okay. I still love this book, I just loved the other books more because they made me laugh and smile so much more.
bluewoad on LibraryThing 10 months ago
From raygunreviews.wordpress.comThere is a bit of sadness here: Kage Baker is one of my favorite authors, yet with her death this past winter, there are not going to be many new books coming from her. The Bird of the River may be one of her very last new books. Up until now, her fantasy world of the Children of the Sun was enjoyable, but it paled next to her science-fictional Company stories. However, with The Bird of the River, I think she just might have, with her final novel, shown the great potential that that world always promised, but never fully delivered.This time out we follow the adventures of teenager Eliss whose drug-addicted mother has brought up Eliss and her half-breed brother, Alder, in poverty. Eliss has often had to take control of the family in order to keep them from starving. Eliss's latest adventure is to return her mother to her roots as a river diver. They become a part of the crew of The Bird of the River, a barge that goes up and down the river, removing snagged trees and harvesting its lumber. However, on her first dive, Eliss's mother encounters a corpse and dies from what appears to be a heart attack.Eliss and Alder are left alone on The Bird. The crew takes them in and gives them jobs on the barge. Soon, Krelan, a young noble on the run from a family vendetta, joins them and he and Eliss strike up a friendship, even though there is more to Krelan than meets the eye.The storyline for the novel is mostly about the origin of the body that Eliss's mother finds, but thematically, the book is about growing beyond one's upbringing, whether it's growing beyond poverty and despair, as with Eliss, or growing beyond familial obligation, as Krelan must do. As is to be expected with a Kage Baker novel, the characters are all well-drawn and very fleshed out. As was evident from her first novel to this, her last, Ms Baker is able with just a few words to create believable and sophisticated characters. As I have done with all of Ms Baker's books, I first read this one aloud to my wife in the evening. And, as with all of her novels, we ripped through it at a much faster pace than other books, wanting to rush to the end, but being disappointed when we got there, knowing we'd have to wait for the next novel to come out. Sadly, there won't be any more 'next novels.' Still, Ms Baker left quite an opus in the short time she was writing, so there's still a lot to return to re-read over and over again.You're already missed, Kage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read this book about 6 years ago and enjoyed it a lot then. Rereading it was almost like a sense of deja vu or slipping into an old familiar dream. I love a good fantasy that doesn't always have a quest by the prince at it's heart. This is a tale of the smaller people who make up Kage Barker's world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
This is a melancholy book, both because of its subject matter and because it is likely the last Kage Baker book I will ever see published, given her death last January. The speculative fiction field is lessened by her loss, and this book is a reminder of exactly why. I suspect I will be in the minority in holding this opinion. It's a slight book, both in length and in that it is one in which not a whole lot happens. The heavy-duty world-building went on in the previous two novels, and this one is essentially nothing more than a gentle coming-of-age travelogue and romance. It has a likeable young protagonist, some light adventure, some not-very-dark secrets, and a happy ending. All of that is usually enough for a young adult audience, which is why I think it will work best when aimed at that reading level. But that's just the gloss, the stuff the publisher sees (based on the jacket description which, as always with Baker's novels, spoils some things better left unspoiled and gets other things completely wrong). At its core this novel is just as subversive as the two that came before in this gloriously zany fantasy world -- unlike 95% of fantasy written today, it is a novel about the commonplace events that make up the lives of the vast majority of people inhabiting any world, real or imagined. It very gently paints a portrait of the lower classes, the working (and non-working) poor, whose lives are counted so negligibly by the characters portrayed in most fantasy novels. It's about the everyday tragedies of a hard life, and the way small lives get swallowed up by large ones, and the difference that creates in perception. There is a beautiful passage between Eliss and Krelan where they talk about the way they see the universe. Krelan, living amongst the nobility his entire life, waxes on about how ordered the world is, the strict hierarchies keeping everyone in balance, in their place. And Eliss, whose idea of luxury is eating at a Red House (an establishment Krelan thinks terribly declasse) breaks in to say "But there isn't any balance. That's just made up. A Diamondcut can end up dead in the river mud, and a demon can fall in love with a goddess. Things just happen. Sometimes they're even good things." That viewpoint is exactly the viewpoint so often missing from fantasy worlds. This loosely related trilogy, no matter its outer trappings, has always been about the value in seeking happiness, in forming families, in striving to be true to individuals rather than principles, and in enjoying life today, because it is a fragile thing. And that message, when delivered in such a gently beguiling way, is one I hope resonates with everyone who reads it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In spite of her pledge to her two offspring to lay off the drug, Falena could not resist smoking Yellow that has them wandering from town to town seeking either a diving gig or an uncle; though the latter has become infrequent as her looks have faded. Making her mom feel guilty, teen Eliss persuades Falena to dive so they can pay their bills although her mother insists she is too weak. Falena dies diving leaving Eliss filled with remorse and regret as well as caring for her ten year old half-brother Alder. Eliss keeps them fed and somewhat sheltered by doing odd jobs on the river that took their mom. Eventually the Bird's crew begins to realize she is an asset as she warns them of potentially danger spots in the river like tree snags and pirates. Krelan, a minor assassin family's son her age, teaches her to read people who use masks and ruses to conceal their agendas. She assists him as he investigates the murder of a wealthy client starting with claiming the head. Set in the world of The House of the Stag and The Anvil of the World, The Bird of The River is a great epic fantasy starring a wonderful heroine supported by the men in her life. The story line is filled with the activities of the long river as Eliss and her entourage meanders along while working on the mystery of the severed head, who the pirates are and what the captain is. Kage Baker, who died a few months ago, will please her myriad of devoted readers with this strong tribute to her talent. Harriet Klausner