Review: Jessica Miller – The Republic of Birds

The Republic of Birds
Jessica Miller

Olga isn’t pretty or graceful like her sister Mira. Olga likes reading about maps and cartography and somewhat dreams of going to the unmapped blank to be the first female cartographer. Exiled from a comfortable life inthe capital, perhaps the icey wasteland holds something new for Olga.

I read this novel as a pdf on my laptop, and it’s unsurprising that I didn’t enjoy it perhaps as much as I might have. I’d received back in 2020 to review, but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I sped through it pretty quickly as it had very little substance and was quite predictable to boot.

I’m going to pop this book firmly into middle grade or very young teen fiction. The characters aren’t particularly nauanced, and despite getting some backstory on the parents, and an attempt at looking more into Olga’s powers, there’s not much substance to them. Far more could have been done with the magic/folk-lore side of things – I still feel uncertain what the main story was (besides the traditional gimmic that the siblings have to save oneanother).

And hey! It’s possible that you will learn something from it. For example, did you know that the side of the rocks that the moss grows on is dependent on where the sun rises? I feel like that’s something that might change with climate change.

I didn’t love the ending. It was pretty satisfying, but at the same time, it would have been pretty cool to be a yaga! Even just the tiniest hint that Olga would be able to overcome the restrictions of her gender would have been amazing. That perhaps could have pushed the book to 4 stars from me, but it wasn’t to be.

Text Publishing | March 2020 | AU$16.99 | eBook

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