Saturday 22 July 2023


Nightbirds written by Kate J Armstrong (Allen & Unwin) PB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9781760526900

Reviewed by Sarah Tegerdine

Nightbirds is a rich brand-new magical fantasy for young adults to immerse themselves into. Filled with opulence and beautifully woven intricacies, book one of a series, introduces us to a dazzling 1920’s inspired world. Think, The Great Gatsby infused with enchantment and witchery. A world of secret gangs, and illicit masquerade balls where the prohibition is on magic.

A group of girls known as the Nightbirds, are the custodians of a rare form of intrinsic magic passed down by family blood lines. They bestow their gifts with a simple kiss, but for a price.

However, the trick is to find them: the Nightbirds are Simta’s best kept secret. Their identities shielded behind masks and guarded for their protection by the great houses of superlative wealth and influence.

There are three main protagonists, Matilde, Sayer and Æsa. All are from completely diverse backgrounds with equally contrasting points of view but when a political conspiracy threatens to unmask them, it compromises their safety, so they come together take flight, and flee the city.

At first they appear ill-matched companions but as the story deepens they learn that much has been deliberately concealed from them including what they are truly capable of. It triggers them into questioning if the nightbird system is just an elaborate gilded cage.

Nightbirds is as enchanting as it is dangerous and gritty, a true feel of, if you peel back the layers, what bubbles beneath. It is a story about sisterhood, feminism and breaking down patriarchal systems.

If you are looking for your next witchy read, Nightbirds is it and is out now: the sequel will be Fyrebirds.









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