The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know.
Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life...until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an ‘aviarist’: capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best friend is hit by a car, only Alice can find and save her nightjar.
With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden, magical alternate London to hone her newfound talents. But a faction intent on annihilating magic users will stop at nothing to destroy the new aviarist. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything to save her best friend—and uncover the strange truth about herself.
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In Hewitt's superb, darkly charming debut, Londoner Alice Wyndham receives a mysterious gift and discovers that she is an exceedingly rare aviarist who can see each person's invisible nightjar, a bird that is a mirror of the soul that it guards. She can even hone the talent to perceive a person's emotions and memories. A man named Crowley tells Alice she's in danger, and an attempted kidnapping causes an accident that puts Alice's best friend, Jen, in a coma. To save her, Alice must reunite Jen with her nightjar, which fled in confusion when Jen was injured. Crowley offers to help Alice control her magic and whisks her off to the Rookery, an alternate "sister-city" of London, but they're threatened by the powerful Judicium, who want to destroy people like Alice, and the leader of a death cult. Hewitt makes it easy to picture the 1930s-infused Rookery, where magic comes as naturally as breathing, and readers will be fascinated by the story's magic, largely based in Finnish lore. It's a delight to explore the Rookery alongside Alice as she discovers her unusual powers and races to save her friend. The wildly imaginative Hewitt is a writer to watch.