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American Gods meets The Chronicles of Narnia in this adult fantasy about the Biblical Adam recovering the lost pieces of the Garden of Eden. Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth - exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was dec American Gods meets The Chronicles of Narnia in this adult fantasy about the Biblical Adam recovering the lost pieces of the Garden of Eden. Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth - exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was deconstructed, its pieces scattered across the world and its inhabitants condemned to live out immortal lives, hiding in plain sight from generations of mankind. But now pieces of the Garden are turning up on the Earth. After centuries of loneliness, Adam, haunted by the golden time at the beginning of Creation, is determined to save the pieces of his long lost home. With the help of Eden's undying exiles, he must stop Eden becoming the plaything of mankind. Adam journeys across America and the British Isles with Magpie, Owl, and other animals, gathering the scattered pieces of Paradise. As the country floods once more, Adam must risk it all to rescue his friends and his home - because rebuilding the Garden might be the key to rebuilding his life.


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American Gods meets The Chronicles of Narnia in this adult fantasy about the Biblical Adam recovering the lost pieces of the Garden of Eden. Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth - exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was dec American Gods meets The Chronicles of Narnia in this adult fantasy about the Biblical Adam recovering the lost pieces of the Garden of Eden. Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth - exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was deconstructed, its pieces scattered across the world and its inhabitants condemned to live out immortal lives, hiding in plain sight from generations of mankind. But now pieces of the Garden are turning up on the Earth. After centuries of loneliness, Adam, haunted by the golden time at the beginning of Creation, is determined to save the pieces of his long lost home. With the help of Eden's undying exiles, he must stop Eden becoming the plaything of mankind. Adam journeys across America and the British Isles with Magpie, Owl, and other animals, gathering the scattered pieces of Paradise. As the country floods once more, Adam must risk it all to rescue his friends and his home - because rebuilding the Garden might be the key to rebuilding his life.

30 review for Birds of Paradise

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sunyi Dean

    I requested this book mostly on the basis of the cover, which I thought was gorgeous, and the fact that I quite liked Metronome (a previous Langmead book.) I wasn't sure how I'd find it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Adam is the ancient, world-weary version of the First Man, who wanders the earth aimlessly and a bit hopelessly, doing various things and leading various lives. His memory doesn't work well, partly because he has just been alive so long. The Adam/Eve retelling has bene done a l I requested this book mostly on the basis of the cover, which I thought was gorgeous, and the fact that I quite liked Metronome (a previous Langmead book.) I wasn't sure how I'd find it, but I ended up really enjoying it. Adam is the ancient, world-weary version of the First Man, who wanders the earth aimlessly and a bit hopelessly, doing various things and leading various lives. His memory doesn't work well, partly because he has just been alive so long. The Adam/Eve retelling has bene done a lot, but I always welcome a fresh interpretation, and enjoyed this one--perhaps because, for once, it focused more on the animal figures and their sense of family with Adam. The whole book is extremely sad. It is about loss, grief, decay, the passage of time, the futility of morality; it is about rebuilding hope and life from the ashes, again and again and again. Biblical myth and other myths are gently interwoven into the characters and their story, and there's an echo of Noah's arc in Adam's quest to rebuild paradise for his animal 'family'. The abscene of God (who does get a mention) is stark, somewhere between damning and just sad. Interestingly, Adam is a passive MC (reactive, not a driving force in the plot; that role belongs more to magpic). That works better than it sounds, and passive MCs are fairly rare. Last time I read a trad pub novel with a notably passive MC was China Mievill's "Embassytown". But it still works and is a good example of how to do it well. Adam is simply trying to survive, endure, and find happiness in his day to day, for much of the book, although of course many more serious events spring out of those efforts. Some reviews have compared this to American Gods and I think that's accurate. It medidates on some of the same issues and has the same long, wandering journey feel, but through a distinctly British landscape rather than an American one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gabbey (gabriellelovesbooks)

    “What’s a pond compared to the open sea?” This is a glorious, beautiful, dark gem of a book. Although there is a plot, in my opinion, it is character driven and, with characters like these, the result is superb! I love that it was mainly told from the perspective of Adam and the birds. The personification is clever and detailed. There is certainly a whiff of the Orwellian brilliance of Animal Farm. This is no children’s biblical tale. There is certainly an aura of darkness, death and despair. In “What’s a pond compared to the open sea?” This is a glorious, beautiful, dark gem of a book. Although there is a plot, in my opinion, it is character driven and, with characters like these, the result is superb! I love that it was mainly told from the perspective of Adam and the birds. The personification is clever and detailed. There is certainly a whiff of the Orwellian brilliance of Animal Farm. This is no children’s biblical tale. There is certainly an aura of darkness, death and despair. In the ultimate ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ we as the reader ponder the implications of retaining morality during an immortal lifespan. Did Adam corrupt his children, or did his children corrupt Adam? Can the ‘Found Family,’ troupe even be referred to as such when Adam is the adopted father of living beings? It did give those vibes though! Adam nurtured his animals and he and Eve named them. He speaks of carrying on for their sake, but they look after him too. In a time when Adam can no longer be their protector, Rook takes over and Adam becomes Rook’s protectee too. My only critique would be that the flood (Which we knew was coming from the synopsis and, under the circumstances of the synopsis, we believed to be of biblical reference) was sprung upon us. There was no build up or description of the rains or waters rising. Adam was unconscious, he awoke, and the flood was already higher than buildings! Despite this, I highly recommend this book and think it will become a ‘must-read.’ Get ready for the twist at the end! “ I can’t sleep. If I sleep, I’ll die, and I’ll wake up dead.”- Crow Thank you to Titan Books via NetGalley for a free copy of this ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Madalena

    I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley for an honest review. I absolutely loved the reading experience and would like to thank the author and publisher for the opportunity. Immortal individuals or groups, making their way through different lifetimes, faking identities in the process are often encountered in fantasy. The genre likes to ask what would happen if an individual, human or not, went on living through different eras, rather than dying. Birds of Paradise, attempts to answer eve I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley for an honest review. I absolutely loved the reading experience and would like to thank the author and publisher for the opportunity. Immortal individuals or groups, making their way through different lifetimes, faking identities in the process are often encountered in fantasy. The genre likes to ask what would happen if an individual, human or not, went on living through different eras, rather than dying. Birds of Paradise, attempts to answer even harder questions: what if the first man never died? What would living not through some, but through all eras would look like? As you might have guessed from my rating, I really enjoyed finding out the answers. In Birds of Paradise we follow Adam, the first man, still living. He works as a security guard but overall he lacks purpose. Living since the beginning of time, losing many loved ones - even ones he knew since his time in Eden - and become increasingly disenchanted with the choices of his descendants, he's a shadow of his former self. His memories have become blurry and unreliable, and while he's immortal, his condition is something less than living. But Adam isn't completely alone in his exile. Fellow residents from the Garden of Eden, such as Rook, Owl, Butterfly and other animals he named also live in the contemporary world, hiding in human form. Some are relatively content while other struggle after so many years. Each has a vibrant, unique personality with mannerisms and traits inspired from their animal form without being stereotypical. Their backstories and quirks make the reader care and root for them. Crow, Rook and Magpie were my personal favourites. In their interactions with Adam, there is humor and banter of people who have literally known each other forever, but also bitterness and nostalgia for the long lost paradise. The full review will become available on my blog ladyofbooklot.wordpress.com.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Another beautifully written, carefully crafted tale from Oliver K. Langmead, Birds of Paradise is an imaginative glimpse into what became of the Garden of Eden. Oliver Langmead is such an underrated author and he needs a wider audience. Every time I read one of his books I’m reminded of how talented he is, and I’m so happy I have another opportunity to rave about him! I’ll have to admit I was a bit hesitant about Birds of Paradise when I heard it was about Adam and Eve, since I’ The nitty-gritty: Another beautifully written, carefully crafted tale from Oliver K. Langmead, Birds of Paradise is an imaginative glimpse into what became of the Garden of Eden. Oliver Langmead is such an underrated author and he needs a wider audience. Every time I read one of his books I’m reminded of how talented he is, and I’m so happy I have another opportunity to rave about him! I’ll have to admit I was a bit hesitant about Birds of Paradise when I heard it was about Adam and Eve, since I’m not that keen on religious themes and stories. But if you’re like me, don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Langmead does use some Biblical imagery at times, but mostly this is a poignant and heartwarming story about friendship and loyalty, beautifully written. The story revolves around Adam—yes, the first man—and his very long life after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the present day, Adam finds himself reluctantly pulled into a quest to find and gather pieces of the original Garden, scattered all over the world and hiding in plain sight. After running into his old friend Rook—who runs a law firm with his brother Magpie called Corvid & Corvid—Adam agrees to Rook’s odd request: to locate Magpie and find out why he’s spending so much money. Adam’s journey to Edinburgh, Magpie’s last known location, leads him to a miraculous discovery. Magpie has been scouring the earth, looking for scattered bits of the Garden of Eden, and buying or stealing them to rebuild the Garden, now located in an abandoned sports arena in Manchester. But Magpie’s latest target—a beautiful rose that never dies—sets off a series of events that could threaten their carefully preserved existence. The rose in question is being held by a man named Frank Sinclair and his wife Ada in their large complex, tucked away in an impenetrable greenhouse, and that’s not the only piece of the Garden that Frank has acquired. Along with their loyal friends—Crow, Butterfly, Pig, Owl and Crab—Adam and Magpie find themselves embroiled in a war to save the last miraculous pieces of the Garden. Adam is such an interesting character, although I’ll admit it took me some time to warm up to him. His character comes across as apathetic and uninterested in everything that’s going on around him, but little by little the reader comes to understand that Adam is much more complex than that. The story is told from his point of view, and Langmead dips back into the past to show various points in his past, how he fought in wars and survived, how he moved from continent to continent, always searching for something and trying to remember what happened to Eve. And in fact, Eve’s existence is an ongoing mystery. She’s not part of this story, but Adam is forever tied to her, since they exchanged hearts many years ago before the Garden was destroyed (and I mean they literally exchanged hearts!) Adam has many such hurts and mysteries that he’s trying to figure out, and he describes each one as a thorn burrowing into his skull. These “thorns” are part of the reason Adam seems so bitter and sad, and I longed for those times when he would break out of his grief, even if only for a moment. And then there are the “birds of Paradise” from the title, Crow and Magpie and the other birds and animals, who added so much to this story. Each animal can change to a human form and back again, and in this way the animals have been able to lead interesting lives by integrating themselves into society. But they've only survived so long because they keep their true identities a secret. The relationships between them were so wonderful and sweet, and each one wormed their way into my heart for different reasons. Magpie is the jolly one, always upbeat and funny and positive. I absolutely loved his personality! Crow has a sad backstory and only one leg, and I loved her as well. Then there is Butterfly, who is just what you would expect: colorful, flighty and delicate. Butterfly and Pig have a wonderful relationship, and I loved her devotion to Pig, especially when things get tense later in the story. But not all of Eden’s creatures are still alive, as we find out. Adam is shocked to see Ada Sinclair wearing Fox’s fur around her neck like a scarf—which is the trigger for much of what happens in this story—and we learn of other animals who met their own fates throughout time (more thorns in Adam’s painful “crown”). I do want to address the Biblical themes in the story, which were beautifully done. I am not religious at all, and I have never read the Bible all the way through, but of course I recognized many of the stories. Langmead infuses Birds of Paradise with such gorgeous imagery, like Adam’s metaphorical crown of thorns. There’s another scene in the story that evoked the tale of Noah’s Ark, but my favorite recurring theme was that of the garden, and how Adam is the original gardener, having been created inside a garden, after all. Throughout his life, Adam creates many gardens, collects seeds and is always trying to make things grow. He reminisces about past events that had an impact on him, like the time he first met Pig because of a peach tree and why the Garden’s cherry tree is so special. Adam imagines that all the seeds he’s collected will be spread across the land by birds, as as way to keep his Garden alive and continuously growing. But despite these themes, the story itself isn’t religious, so please don’t be turned off by any of the things I’ve mentioned. Adam has become jaded over the years, and he sees God as nothing more than an absentee father of sorts. Ironically, it’s Frank Sinclair who turns out to be the religious zealot, while Adam has seen how awful the world can be and merely wants to live a quiet life among his trees and animal friends. The story is full of quiet, introspective moments, as Adam delves back into his memories and tries to make sense of his life. This made the beginning very slow to take off, and it wasn’t until about a third of the way in when Adam meets up with Magpie to start the quest that I really became invested. Langmead throws the reader into the deep end without much explanation of what’s going on, but I’m so glad I stuck with the story because the payoff was so good. Adam appears to be a mild mannered man, but he’s also full of rage and unexpected violence, and I was not prepared for some of the scenes in this story! By the end I could really appreciate how well Langmead balanced those quiet moments with bursts of exciting action. The ending was both emotional and heartwarming, just the kind of ending I love. Langmead wraps up all his loose ends, and yet there is a sense that there are many pieces of the Garden still out there, just waiting to be found. An unending quest, I guess, that brought a smile to my face. That sense of wonder in a book is such a rare delight, and I’m not surprised at all that Oliver Langmead captured it perfectly. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ollie

    Long ago cast out of the Garden of Eden, Adam wanders the Earth, having lived hundreds of lifetimes amongst his innumerable children. Occasionally, he is accompanied on his long journey through existence by the creatures of Eden, who are able to take human form, their presence comforting but tinged with the sadness of what they have all lost. When Adam is tasked by Rook to track down his brother, Magpie, he discovers a piece of Eden, and with it a possible path to recovering some of what he has Long ago cast out of the Garden of Eden, Adam wanders the Earth, having lived hundreds of lifetimes amongst his innumerable children. Occasionally, he is accompanied on his long journey through existence by the creatures of Eden, who are able to take human form, their presence comforting but tinged with the sadness of what they have all lost. When Adam is tasked by Rook to track down his brother, Magpie, he discovers a piece of Eden, and with it a possible path to recovering some of what he has lost. Before he can find any peace, however, Adam’s quest will take him from the United States and up the length of the UK, and it’s clear early on that this will be a journey to remember. Langmead’s prose is clear and direct almost to the point of starkness, not a word wasted as he steers the reader between moments that stun with their poignancy, vibrancy and beauty - often all at once. Everything is granted a kind of mythic resonance through his economy of prose, whether it be people, events or settings. One early scene, for example, in which Adam is transported in a prison truck and briefly regaled by his guard with the man’s life story, is particularly affecting, Adam feeling his own self almost subsumed by the guard’s and believing momentarily that he has become him. It’s an early demonstration of Adam’s complex relationship with humanity too, as he “feels for them” in both the sense that he appreciates their struggles and also, it seems, feels on their behalf. Adam is many things to humanity; father or primogenitor of course, but also so much more. There’s a very doomed, tragic feeling that seems to cling to Adam, his inability to die whilst those around him wither and fall undoubtedly a curse rather than a blessing. He is tormented by grief and loss, usually until the actions of his children stir him from his dispassionate numbness and inspire him to acts of bloody fury and vengeance. He is larger than life in every sense, superhuman strength and resilience casting him as some kind of unforgiving force of nature. His moments of violence are bleak acts of blind rage that are shocking without being gratuitous, meted out as utterly uncomplicated and highly concentrated biblical-style wrath against those who wrong him or his friends. Make no mistake, Adam is not in the business of handing out moral lessons or wisdom to humanity, but that’s not to say there aren’t moments of hope and joy for him to experience as he goes about his quest. Serving as a counterpoint to Adam’s more morose attitude is an eclectic collection of shapeshifters; the original menagerie of the Garden of Eden, which Adam was given authority to name, they add much charm to the story. Whether it’s the stalwart figures of Pig and Crab, or the eager and affectionate Butterfly, the supporting cast are varied and loveable, the virtues we whimsically impart to their animal incarnations resulting in personifications that feel distinct from one another but never sink into caricature. The birds of paradise themselves - Crow, Rook, Magpie and Owl - each have their own personalities when they are in their human form too, personalities which are likewise wrapped up in their true, animal forms. Magpie, for instance, is a little bit of a rascal, obsessively collecting expensive items more for the love of acquisition than anything. They frequently have their own stories too, perhaps about incidents in their past, which are delivered as fleeting, fable-like glimpses into lives well lived. It’s difficult to overstate just how good Birds of Paradise is. There is a poetry to not just the prose but the plot itself, the events which unfold memorably potent and incredibly moving. It is immensely readable yet packed with subtlety and sharply defined imagery, a mesmerising work of sorrowful beauty and uplifting joy. Adam’s words are imbued with power; so too are those of Oliver K. Langmead. A stunning achievement.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Doomscribe

    Summary: Birds of Paradise stars Adam, the first man, as he joins with the animals he helped name to recover pieces of the garden of Eden in the present day. It is a beautiful exploration of death, grief and immortality, and probably the best book I’ve read so far this year. -Recommended for those who enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods -Not recommended if you want an upbeat read -Recommended if you like books with a strong emotional core -Not recommended if you cannot read books that include violen Summary: Birds of Paradise stars Adam, the first man, as he joins with the animals he helped name to recover pieces of the garden of Eden in the present day. It is a beautiful exploration of death, grief and immortality, and probably the best book I’ve read so far this year. -Recommended for those who enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods -Not recommended if you want an upbeat read -Recommended if you like books with a strong emotional core -Not recommended if you cannot read books that include violence against animals Birds of Paradise opens with a strong one-two punch. First, Adam and Eve exchange their own beating hearts in the garden of Eden. Then cut to the present, where Adam, working as a bodyguard, brutally murders someone harassing his starlet client. From there, Adam is saved from prison by his friend Raven, who acts as a lawyer and fixer for the remaining refugees from the garden of Eden (in this novel, all the animals from the garden of Eden can move from animal to human form, as well as a form that is a mix of both). Along with haunted Crow and bestial Owl, he is sent to the UK to find Magpie, who’s been spending a fair amount of Corvid and Corvid’s (a law firm ran by Raven) funds. Adam is a broken, weary man. Many of his memories are hidden behind thorns of grief, brought on by the deaths of his friends, the original animals in the garden of Eden. Since they are all immortal, they can only be killed through violence, inevitably by Adam’s own descendants, the men and women that walk the earth. He spends much of the book in a haze, occasionally recalling some distant memory. I found it hard to connect with Adam at first – for the early sections of the book, he is merely going through the motions. Once I started to understand the motivations behind his grief and rage things clicked into place. When he finds that Magpie is collecting pieces of the garden of Eden, he becomes more driven – although he never truly shakes off the haze of sorrow. Given his experiences, it would have felt cheap for him to do so. The supporting characters are where this book shines – Magpie is an absolute delight, mercurial and whimsical, yet deeply driven underneath. Raven, Crow and Owl are all well realised too, coming in and out of the story as things progress. Some of the animals we meet later are also firm favourites of mine. It’s especially impressive that with each character you feel the impact of the millennia upon them, and each is affected in different ways by the time. They’ve all had to live many, many different lives to avoid being noticed as immortals (facilitated by Corvid and Corvid). The antagonists in this story, are of course, the people. Specifically a group of older rich people lead by a couple called Mr and Mrs Sinclair. These people covet the pieces of Eden, and believe strongly in the idea of man’s dominion over beast. They are resourceful and ruthless, and Adam has to find himself defending both the pieces of Eden and the creatures of Eden from them. There’s something about the tone of the book that really drew me in – this perfect interweaving of mythic and mundane. At times the story feels biblical, in the way that the old testament stories might be interpreted today, all wrath, and pain and sacrifice. The only thing missing is God, which the book neatly sidesteps, although the implication is given that God left the beings of earth to their own devices once the apple was eaten. I’m not sure if I’ve done this book justice in my review, but as one of my final thoughts, I’ll say this – I was drawn in emotionally to the characters on a very visceral level, which happens rarely for me. In particular the final chapters brought tears to my eyes, with a catharsis that, if not revelatory, was perfectly framed to impact me in just the right way. I absolutely loved Birds of Paradise, only let down in that the beginning that was slower to grab me than I would have liked. It’s at different times thoughtful, visceral, touching and whimsical, effortlessly shifting and mixing in a result that resonated with me strongly. I would recommend Birds of Paradise to pretty much anyone. Rating: 9/10 Thanks to Netgalley and Titan Books for providing me with an e-arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. For reviews like this and more visit my blog

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    3/27/2021 Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 3/30/2021 A gorgeous, almost dream-like meditation on dissociation, love, belonging and grief, punctuated by flashes of violence and pain, Birds Of Paradise follows the first man, Adam, as he's making his way through modern life. When a Hollywood security gig goes awry, he's hustled out of the country by Rook, who along with several other of the first birds have formed the legal company Corvid & Corvid to secure the interests of the original 3/27/2021 Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 3/30/2021 A gorgeous, almost dream-like meditation on dissociation, love, belonging and grief, punctuated by flashes of violence and pain, Birds Of Paradise follows the first man, Adam, as he's making his way through modern life. When a Hollywood security gig goes awry, he's hustled out of the country by Rook, who along with several other of the first birds have formed the legal company Corvid & Corvid to secure the interests of the original inhabitants of Eden. The first animals can all switch seamlessly to human form and, like Adam, are undying. Rook needs a favor from Adam, whose many millennia of existence have trained him in all manner of skills including fighting and survival. While each of the Corvids are individually wealthy, Magpie has started spending more of his brother's money than usual, and has proven difficult for the busy Rook to track down. With Crow, Adam is sent to Edinburgh to find Magpie and find out what's going on. But Scotland is also where Eve is, and Adam doesn't know if he's ready to face her again. As Adam traverses the British isles, he discovers both wondrous news and a grave threat to the scattered inhabitants of Eden. How far is he willing to go to get to the bottom of it all, and how much of his own long and painful past is he willing to face? For being about an immortal -- hardly the most immediately relatable situation -- this book is such a mood. Adam is the ultimate survivor, and it's taken an extraordinary toll on him, one that he wears like a buffering suit against the world. He is often baffled by modern life and modern people, so far removed from the simplicity of the original garden, when his life was one of tending to his charges and living in harmony with them and with his beloved. While Eve through the ages chose to study the human pursuits of medicine and architecture, Adam was content to garden and provide what necessary labor, for fighting or building, that their situation required. While Eve chose to actively engage with her descendants, Adam preferred books and to live at a remove. So the scenes where Adam is forced to interact with great numbers of his children should feel weird but instead come across as almost magical, whether it's at a Pride parade in London or with a group of football-playing kids in Manchester. Positive social contact, especially for someone as singular and alone as Adam, is depicted as a gift, a reason for Adam to keep choosing to stay amidst humanity despite the horrifically negative contact he'll occasionally encounter. I don't really want to say too much about the rest of the book for fear of giving the plot away, but I must say that the entire concept of dominion was really, really well handled here. Oliver K Langmead pulls no punches in his critique of certain aspects of Christian society -- the kind that think that being white and wealthy conveys an innate superiority over everything else -- so the clash between modern evil and a timeless, necessary violence feels cathartic to those of us unwilling to submit to an oligarchy that views the out-group as being lesser or even less than human. BoP is a bold fable rooted deep in religious mythology that holds up a mirror to modern society for all our good and evil, touching on climate change and inclusion, and urging stewardship over dominion, all wrapped up in a beautiful, sad parable for the ages. We've been given the opportunity to interview Mr Langmead, so look out for that April 9th! Birds Of Paradise by Oliver K. Langmead publishes today March 30th 2021 by Titan Books and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop! Want it now? For the Kindle version, click here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

    What a book! I’m not quite sure what words to use to describe it. It’s certainly something new and unexpected. And look at that beautiful cover art! When I read the blurb, I just had to read it, and was very excited when my request for an eARC was approved. I was not disappointed. Birds of Paradise opens with a hauntingly beautiful prologue in which Adam and Eve, still in the Garden, pull out their beating hearts and exchange them, before the story skips forward to modern times, when Adam is work What a book! I’m not quite sure what words to use to describe it. It’s certainly something new and unexpected. And look at that beautiful cover art! When I read the blurb, I just had to read it, and was very excited when my request for an eARC was approved. I was not disappointed. Birds of Paradise opens with a hauntingly beautiful prologue in which Adam and Eve, still in the Garden, pull out their beating hearts and exchange them, before the story skips forward to modern times, when Adam is working as a bodyguard for a famous actress. The action then starts quite quickly after that, which took me a little by surprise, but I enjoyed being launched straight into the story. Now, I find this book hard to summarise, because the basic plot is quite simple (which is not a negative comment), and I don’t want to give too many things away. What I will say is that one of my favourite things about it was the fact that, as well as Adam and Eve being immortal, all the first creatures of Eden still live, wandering the earth, living life after life, because they existed before death. They can also take on human form, which is how Rook – the first one we meet – is both a bird and a partner in the law firm Corvid & Corvid along with his brother Magpie. Other recurring characters are Crow, Owl, Pig, Butterfly, and Crab, and I absolutely loved the interactions between Adam and his creatures. There is so much tenderness and respect there, which leads me to talk about Adam himself. I’ve seen a plot summary of Birds of Paradise that describes it as “American Gods meets The Chronicles of Narnia,” and while I suppose the talking animals do recall C.S. Lewis’ work, I felt that Adam definitely reminded me of American Gods and it’s main character Shadow. Adam is described multiple times as being a very large man: tall, very muscular, intimidating, and very hard to buy clothes for. And like Shadow, he isn’t always as tough as he looks. Though he’s now worn down by his thousands of years on the earth, and has no scruples being violent when it’s needed, Adam is also very nurturing, and a lot of his inner thinking and his memories are about the many gardens he has tended to throughout his life, starting with the first Garden, and the love he has for Eve. He thinks in terms of gardening, and I loved the little habit he has of collecting seeds from whatever fruit he has eaten, carefully sifting through them to find any that might take and grow. This book made me feel a lot of things, and I really enjoyed the way Langmead wove the action and the quiet moments, the present and the past, and the natural world with the cities. Birds of Paradise is full of beautiful descriptions, and I think I’ll need to read it again soon to fully appreciate them, but one of the things that stood out the most were the descriptions of cities: the story takes place mostly in the UK, with Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Manchester being the main cities featured, and Langmead definitely captured their essences perfectly. All in all, a magnificent feat of storytelling, and a beautiful interpretation of what could be argued is the first tale. In some ways I wish it had gone on longer, because I didn’t want to leave the pages, but the ending was also perfect, closing the chapter of Adam’s life that we got to witness and leaving the door ajar for the next one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    M. K. French

    Adam, the first Man of Creation, still walks the earth millennia after the fall of Eden. He'd lived countless lives, as had the other nearly immortal creatures of Eden he once named. Other pieces remain as well, scattered across the globe. Adam isn't the only one collecting them to create a new garden, and he must save the pieces of Eden to keep them from being playthings of mankind. The concept behind Birds of Paradise is fascinating. As creatures that existed before death, Adam, Eve, and all th Adam, the first Man of Creation, still walks the earth millennia after the fall of Eden. He'd lived countless lives, as had the other nearly immortal creatures of Eden he once named. Other pieces remain as well, scattered across the globe. Adam isn't the only one collecting them to create a new garden, and he must save the pieces of Eden to keep them from being playthings of mankind. The concept behind Birds of Paradise is fascinating. As creatures that existed before death, Adam, Eve, and all the original animals remain alive. The animals can shapeshift, so that they have their animal forms and human forms, and they are astoundingly resilient. Adam himself, after fighting in countless wars throughout millennia, carries shrapnel in his skin and a network of scars from the injuries he inexplicably healed from. His memories after untold centuries are a muddle, so that he flashes back to aspects of his lifetimes with reminders, and can dive into books and experience those lives as if they were his own. Rook and several other birds banded together to form the Corvid and Corvid law firm, taking care of paperwork, property, and legal concerns for all the immortals. These world-building concerns really drew me in, as well as how empty Adam was in the beginning. He felt nothing if not gardening; he comes alive most often when working with the earth or tending to plant life. Gradually, interacting with his fellow immortals draws him out of that complacency. The "bad guy" of the story falls into place gradually. It's likely because at first Adam's memories shift and are like thorns, so he avoids delving deep into them. He does have fond memories of Eden, of Eve, and of the animals as he used to know them. Though he has lived in the modern age and taken on jobs and identities, he still prefers an older time and is emotionally separate from the people around him. Adam has incredible strength and is able to kill with his bare hands, let alone with weapons, but feels absolutely nothing when he does it. While he initially is sent by Rook to find Magpie, the web of connections spreads out further when he does find Magpie. Ultimately, the memories all come together when Adam has time to shift back into the kind of man he once was. It's a melancholy kind of ending, because there is grief and memory, love and loss, and hope for the future bringing more. This is a beautifully lyrical book, with a perfect final line.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth ~~Just One More Chapter I Swear~~

    A modern day take on the ole Immortals Living In A Mortal World Trying Not To Be Discovered... or impacted too greatly by said Mortal World... with a Biblical flavor. This was an interesting look into a possible outcome for the occupants of The Garden Of Eden, both Flora & Fauna... in modern time. First off I have to say that I loved loved loved the book's characters... especially the Edenites. Adam's confusion, pain, empathy in certain situations and indifference in others were such raw... visce A modern day take on the ole Immortals Living In A Mortal World Trying Not To Be Discovered... or impacted too greatly by said Mortal World... with a Biblical flavor. This was an interesting look into a possible outcome for the occupants of The Garden Of Eden, both Flora & Fauna... in modern time. First off I have to say that I loved loved loved the book's characters... especially the Edenites. Adam's confusion, pain, empathy in certain situations and indifference in others were such raw... visceral emotions... I just wanted to reach into the story and hug him. Then there were the Birds. Each and every one of them was awesome in their own way. Rook was a Bad Ass Don't Piss Me Off Or I'll Own Your Who Family By Midnight. Owl was a Bad Ass I'll Tear You To Itsy Pieces And Nibble On Your Face For A While. Magpie was Shifty but in a totally Cool and even insightful way. Crow was Bad Ass, I Can Hunt You Down No Matter Where You Hide kind of way. There were also non-bird species like beautiful, colorful, sweet, tender Butterfly and her galliant protector Boar. The other characters were equally emotive and just as deliciously gray. If you're looking for a simple, good, clean, wholesome read that is good for all ages then you should skip this one because it can be B.R.U.T.A.L! Can there be a sequel? I say yes but it's a yes with a caveat. If there were to be a part 2 then it would be done with some key players notably absent... and when I say absent I mean absent in a Never To Return For A Cameo (or Lead Again)... ever! Even for immortals there are ways... I really enjoyed this one and as long as you're not looking for some kind of whitewashed, scripture touting, Bible-centric read then I think you'll like it too. *** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Birds of Paradise follows Adam. Yes, this Adam. The first man. Created before Death, Adam has lived countless lives. When his last job ends in a disaster, he takes on a new identity. This time, however, things get more complicated than usual. After meeting with The Rook, Adam starts a quest to recover scattered elements from the Garden of Eden. The narrative moves smoothly between meditative and explosive. Adam is a HUGE man who loves gardening and peace but has no issues with a brutal fight. Exh Birds of Paradise follows Adam. Yes, this Adam. The first man. Created before Death, Adam has lived countless lives. When his last job ends in a disaster, he takes on a new identity. This time, however, things get more complicated than usual. After meeting with The Rook, Adam starts a quest to recover scattered elements from the Garden of Eden. The narrative moves smoothly between meditative and explosive. Adam is a HUGE man who loves gardening and peace but has no issues with a brutal fight. Exhausted by the endless death and destruction (of the Earth, of his past lives amongst humans), he misses Eve and his long-lost home. Besides Adam, the story features his friends - Edenic creatures able to transform into humans at will. Most of them lead successful lives. Some, like Butterfly, Crab, or Pig prefer freedom and arts. No one should underestimate any of them. Those who do, suffer. Or die. Owl or Pig’s ferocity and ruthlessness in the fight result in a high body count. The Rook destroys his enemies through his lawyers. As a Senior Partner in Corvid & Corvid law office, he’ll own your life and wealth in a blink of an eye, having you on your knees begging for mercy. The story focuses on the characters and their longing for Paradise. As the country floods once more, they cooperate to rebuild the Garden and stop bad people from doing bad things. In Birds of Paradise, antagonists are arrogant people positioning themselves above the rest of the creation. I loved how the story connected mythology with everyday life and sorrows. While strongly influenced by Christian mythology, the book doesn’t feature god. It uses elements of fantasy, thriller, drama, and magical realism to tell an emotionally engaging and unique story. Highly recommended for readers looking for something fresh. ARC through NetGalley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My goodness I really enjoyed this one. We follow Adam, the first man, who has been alive all this time living many many different lives all over the world. His weary, indifferent view on the world and humanity actually makes him a wonderful character to follow. All of humanity are his children, but instead of being overly protective Adam is indifferent to them, and will kill without mercy or regret when he needs to. However, if its I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My goodness I really enjoyed this one. We follow Adam, the first man, who has been alive all this time living many many different lives all over the world. His weary, indifferent view on the world and humanity actually makes him a wonderful character to follow. All of humanity are his children, but instead of being overly protective Adam is indifferent to them, and will kill without mercy or regret when he needs to. However, if its an animal Adam is protective and this is where his emotion really shines through. The surrounding characters are animals who were also in Eden and have been around as long as Adam have, including creatures like Butterfly, Pig and Magpie, they're all animals in human form. Adam deeply cares for these characters and they really are shining stars of this show. I was absolutely pulled in by Birds of Paradise and I really struggled to put it down. This isn't a religious book, of course Langmead is taking ideas from Christianity, with Adam and Eve and Eden, but he crafts a whole other mythology around it, and at no point is this preaching anything. The mythology feels wonderfully original and it is wholly enthralling. The plot takes us on the hunt for pieces of Eden, and as we travel Adam gives some insight into how his history intertwines with various places, and I LOVED this. Reading about his many lives and how he integrated into each place was just such a great addition to the story. Adam is a pretty passive main character, he's dragged along by the plot and Magpie is more the driving force here. Adam just tends to go where he's told and do what he's told to do, he generally isn't privvy to any plans and it fits his character extremely well. Having a passive main character that works this well is incredibly rare and its what really makes this book shine.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paperbacks

    What happens if you were born before death? This the premise behind the immortality in Birds of Paradise and it fits perfectly. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a religious book but other than the odd mention here or there, Birds of Paradise is a story of greed, revenge, megalomania and brutal violence. It was a book that took me by surprise from the very first page, the prologue very much setting the tone of what was to come with both beauty and pain poured across the page. Set mainly What happens if you were born before death? This the premise behind the immortality in Birds of Paradise and it fits perfectly. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a religious book but other than the odd mention here or there, Birds of Paradise is a story of greed, revenge, megalomania and brutal violence. It was a book that took me by surprise from the very first page, the prologue very much setting the tone of what was to come with both beauty and pain poured across the page. Set mainly in present day UK there was seemingly very little need to world built and having personally visited a few of the mentioned areas it helped me to visualise the scene, the story is descriptive when it needs to be which really enhanced the discovery of each piece of Eden. These parts shone as we really got to understand the simplicity of their beauty which stood out against the bleak backdrop of the flood. This is, however, very much Adam's story. A man of few words, he approaches everything with a weariness, a bone tiredness which is only undone when he is given the opportunity to help things grow, the reverence in which he holds a single seed is such a juxtapose to the hands which are so often used for violence. The villain is pure caricature but it works so well with the story as they need to be larger than life to overtake the morally grey fine line that Adam and the other exiles tread. The exiles also enhance the story, joining alongside Adam at opportune times helping him get to where he needs to be and finally to remember what he has shielded himself for so long. I found Birds of Paradise to be a surprising and compelling read, one which shocked me with its brutality but also left me in wonder in its creativity. Thank you to Titian Books for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Walker - Trans-Scribe Reviews

    Birds of Paradise introduces readers to Adam, the first human ever created, made long ago in the Garden of Eden. Having been alive for so long Adam is not the figure as depicted in the Bible, and seems to be coasting through life, living through one identity after another with no real aim or focus. This all changes, however, when Adam seems to snap one day and beats a film writer to death. Facing prison, Adam is approached by Raven, the first raven to ever exist; who like Adam was thrown out of Birds of Paradise introduces readers to Adam, the first human ever created, made long ago in the Garden of Eden. Having been alive for so long Adam is not the figure as depicted in the Bible, and seems to be coasting through life, living through one identity after another with no real aim or focus. This all changes, however, when Adam seems to snap one day and beats a film writer to death. Facing prison, Adam is approached by Raven, the first raven to ever exist; who like Adam was thrown out of Eden and now faces an immortal existence, able to change from animal to human at will. Raven is able to arrange for Adam to avoid prison, but in return Adam will have to travel across the Atlantic to Scotland to help track down Raven’s elusive brother, Magpie, who’s been spending millions of his brothers money. Adam has to find Magpie and discover what he’s been doing with Raven’s money. Along the way Adam will meet up with some of the other former inhabitants of Eden, and discover a secret that will change things for them all forever. The blurb on the back of Birds of Paradise compares the book to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and whilst I’ve yet to read it (I know, I really should) from what I know of the book it’s a really good comparison. The story feels strangely timeless, full of history and age, yet so steeped in the modern world. It feels like myth meeting everyday life, where the fantastical and wondrous can be hiding behind any corner, where any person could be something ancient and powerful. Whilst there have been a lot of Adam and Eve re-tellings or re-imaginings over the years this is one really stands out because it gives life to the entirety of Eden, not just the human inhabitants. The story is as much about the animals, the beings that have existed through all of time and become part of the human world. It’s them who really drive the story forward, who make things happen; Adam feels less of a protagonist, and more of a reactor, simply going along and seeing what happens. But this isn’t a bad thing, and certainly not a weakness for the book. Readers very quickly learn that Adam has lived so long, seen so much, loved and lost time and time again that he’s almost given up. Nothing much really surprises him any more. He hardly feels passion, he struggles to make connections with the humans that populate the world, and sees little reason to. The book is as much about Adam learning to recapture some of his old life, the things that gave him purpose and joy before, as much as it is about unravelling the mystery of what Magpie is up to. Birds of Paradise doesn’t take a kind view of immortality. It presents the idea of living forever as as much a curse as anything else. The inhabitants of Eden don’t age, they don’t get sick, but they can be killed. If someone hurts them enough, uses such brutal force, they can be killed. The only way for them to find an end to their long existence is to go through a brutal death. So we have characters who are seeking out little joys in life, things that can give them happiness, but it doesn’t always seem to work. There are characters who are barely holding on to their humanity, existing as almost feral creatures, because they just don’t know what else to do with themselves. Because of this the book has a kind of melencholy feel to it at times, it has such beauty and wonder, yet can leave you feeling like you’ve witnessed something awful and heartbreaking too. The characters in this book might be immortal, might be god-like to us, but they can hurt and suffer as much as anyone; and that, like them, can last forever. Birds of Paradise is a book that I was very interested in, but wasn’t expecting to grab me as much as this one did. It had so much depth to it, so much heart. Oliver K. Langmead talks about how the book took over a decade to write, and I can believe that, I can believe that a story this complex, layered, and beautiful took so long to create, and was such a passion project that he refused to give up on it for so long. A truly amazing piece of writing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Whisper19

    Cool idea but there were some problems. Full review to come. Full review from blog ARC provided by NetGalley and Titan Books. Thanks. The official blurb: „Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth – exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory.” After walking the Earth for millenia, Adam is almost a shadow of himself. He is still stronger than your average man, and yeah, he’s immortal, but mentally he Cool idea but there were some problems. Full review to come. Full review from blog ARC provided by NetGalley and Titan Books. Thanks. The official blurb: „Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth – exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory.” After walking the Earth for millenia, Adam is almost a shadow of himself. He is still stronger than your average man, and yeah, he’s immortal, but mentally he is almost ready to give up on everything. After a violent incident while in the employ of a Hollywood star, Adam is contacted by one of the birds from the Garden and he is given an assignment. The Animals from the Garden in this story are still here on Earth. They are representatives of their individual species, of course, but they can also take human form. While in human form they still keep some of the more characteristic traits of the animal they truly are. Adam is tasked with finding one of the animals who has been spending strange amounts of money. After a road trip across America and a flight to England, he finds his quarry, but he also finds something unexpected – a plant from the Garden. A rose. Adam and the Animals set out to find as many pieces of the Garden as possible. Of course, there are obstacles along the way. The idea behind this book is really interesting. The concept of searching for the pieces of the Garden is enough to make one go out and buy this book. I also loved the animal/human characters in the book. Despite the fact of them being butterflies, pigs and ravens they were real. At times more real than Adam himself. And there we come across a problem. Adam. Adam is basically a brute force that is just along for the ride at times. I hope that was the point. Some disguised commentary on the superiority of animals over humans (?) perhaps. He could have been shown as more of a person. Just as the animals kept their traits when in human form, and plants from the Garden were almost Platonic ideals of each species, Adam should have been the most human human to ever human. He sadly is not. There were moments where it seemed he could be, but then the plot took off in another direction and all was lost. While we are at the plot, there are issues there as well. Some of the lines of the blurb are misleading. There isn’t really a treasure hunt like element to the plot. Trying to gather two pieces of a Garden hardly a hunt makes. Last but not least – the digressions. There are times in this book where it was obvious that the author wanted to give more character, colour and emotion to our protagonist through flashbacks, but all it served here, in my opinion, was to distract from the main plot and to make the reader care less for poor Adam. If those flashbacks had been moments when Adam had been on the verge of seeing a piece of the Garden perhaps, then that would have been better. But, then that would have been a completely different book and not the one we have before us. I was sad that this did not live up to my expectations, but it was still a very intriguing read, for the idea if nothing else.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Birds of Paradise is one of those magical books where you just can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens next, but equally wish you could freeze the moment so the story doesn’t have to end! The story centres on the first man, Adam, as he is saved from a legal issue of his own making and takes on a new identity with the assistance of his friend, Rook, head of Corvid and Corvid legal firm (and one of the original animals from Eden). We journey with Adam as he initially heads off in search o Birds of Paradise is one of those magical books where you just can’t wait to turn the page and see what happens next, but equally wish you could freeze the moment so the story doesn’t have to end! The story centres on the first man, Adam, as he is saved from a legal issue of his own making and takes on a new identity with the assistance of his friend, Rook, head of Corvid and Corvid legal firm (and one of the original animals from Eden). We journey with Adam as he initially heads off in search of Rook’s missing troublemaker brother, Magpie, and eventually gets caught up in an adventure to gather the surviving pieces of Eden and to secure the survival of the original creatures. Warning note to some readers: It does have some quite brutal scenes! Adam faces challenges, not least of which is his own damaged memory, but is helped along the way by an array of vibrant and unique characters, including Butterfly and Pig, who are not only animals from Eden but also able to take on human form. The personalities of each of the animals were beautifully crafted – my favourites being Owl, Rook and Magpie. For a book on Adam, Eve and Eden, it was also pleasantly not overly religious but carefully mingled biblical themes with mythology, fantasy, magic and drama to create a gripping story in the same vein as American Gods. One of my favourite books of the year so far! I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melvyn

    An epic modern tale with biblical inspirations This is a story of Adam, the original man, as he lives his immortal life in hiding. He is accompanied by other original creatures from the Garden of Eden as they attempt to escape being discovered by mortal humans once again. I love a good story through time through the perspective of an immortal being. It reminded me a little of Wonder Woman or Hancock, with a biblical inspiration and without the super-powers. I enjoyed Adam’s perspective on life, th An epic modern tale with biblical inspirations This is a story of Adam, the original man, as he lives his immortal life in hiding. He is accompanied by other original creatures from the Garden of Eden as they attempt to escape being discovered by mortal humans once again. I love a good story through time through the perspective of an immortal being. It reminded me a little of Wonder Woman or Hancock, with a biblical inspiration and without the super-powers. I enjoyed Adam’s perspective on life, the way he experiences things and how he just wants to find peace. However, I did find him to be a little simple, dull and passive at times, which made other elements around him have to push the plot forward; if it weren’t for those elements, this book would probably be called “Adam’s Little Book of Gardening”. Even though I found myself asking more than once “where is this story going?”, and the lack of a clear overall plot, I still really enjoyed following the events scene after scene. Surprisingly, after a confusing section towards the last section of the novel, I felt it was concluded in a satisfying manner! Quick and fun read overall!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashling

    I was given an advanced copy from NetGalley for review purposes. This a beautiful book with a dark, twisted undertone that made the story feel eerier. I found that this book was heavily character-driven, and it's mostly from Adam's perspective, which I feel suited the story really well. I found Adam to be such a fascinating character. He was flawed and raw yet so well developed. The story went at a pace that felt like Adam, and it wonderful. The book is about immortals trying to escape discovery f I was given an advanced copy from NetGalley for review purposes. This a beautiful book with a dark, twisted undertone that made the story feel eerier. I found that this book was heavily character-driven, and it's mostly from Adam's perspective, which I feel suited the story really well. I found Adam to be such a fascinating character. He was flawed and raw yet so well developed. The story went at a pace that felt like Adam, and it wonderful. The book is about immortals trying to escape discovery from humans. The story takes us through time and tells us of Adam's life, although when we meet Adam, his memories are blurry and unreliable. I loved the aspect of Adam being a protector to those with him initially; I specifically love Magpie; his character was interesting to me, and I enjoyed following his and Adams adventure to find the missing pieces of Eden. That twist at the end really had me; I was not expecting it, which I suppose is a good thing. As a whole, I really enjoyed this book! I would recommend it to younger readers as there are a few darker subjects; however, it is a wonderfully twisted story that I can see becoming a must-read for many people.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Rennie

    The book takes a fascinating idea and uses it well. The biblical Adam is still alive and passes his time doing menial jobs. This isn't an entirely new idea as Steven Sherrill does something very similar in The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (also an excellent read), but here Langmead uses it very well to create a thoroughly enjoyable book. The plot is somewhat rambling but it doesn't really matter as the book is all about the characters. Alongside Adam various animals and plants from the Garden The book takes a fascinating idea and uses it well. The biblical Adam is still alive and passes his time doing menial jobs. This isn't an entirely new idea as Steven Sherrill does something very similar in The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (also an excellent read), but here Langmead uses it very well to create a thoroughly enjoyable book. The plot is somewhat rambling but it doesn't really matter as the book is all about the characters. Alongside Adam various animals and plants from the Garden of Eden are still around and doing their best to blend into the modern world, and the story is really just about these characters and how they interact. Adam himself has become a rather primal character prone to solve problems by hitting them with whatever comes to hand. This is an unusual book, and won't be to everyone's taste, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I strongly recommend it to every fan of fantasy and science fiction.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Vierra

    I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley for an honest review. Birds Of Paradise will probable sit in my thoughts for a while, there was a lot of hope that was shadowed by grief that had me in my feels. Through Adam and the first animals we explore the darker side of living for centuries, the weight of loss, finding something worth living for, and the passing of time. At this point Adam is just a passenger in his own life, drifting though time doing mundane things, longing to be reunited I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGalley for an honest review. Birds Of Paradise will probable sit in my thoughts for a while, there was a lot of hope that was shadowed by grief that had me in my feels. Through Adam and the first animals we explore the darker side of living for centuries, the weight of loss, finding something worth living for, and the passing of time. At this point Adam is just a passenger in his own life, drifting though time doing mundane things, longing to be reunited with Eve, reminiscing on his past identities, gardening and reading. Unlike Magpie who is incredibly lively and quirky and seems to always have somewhere to be and puts his all into his schemes and he leads Adam in trying to get back what was lost. This beautiful story had my emotions running on high and rooting for our band of lovable characters.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yazmin

    e-Arc granted by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one is not straightforward. I was a bit conflicted about how I felt about the story, it reminded me to a passive version of American Gods, without the smart remarks of Odin, Adam's voice is contemplative and a bit dull at times, like you have to wade through a mudded pond that are his thoughts. The narrative felt thick but with a good pace, I deeply enjoyed a few of the action packed scenes because they were more dy e-Arc granted by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This one is not straightforward. I was a bit conflicted about how I felt about the story, it reminded me to a passive version of American Gods, without the smart remarks of Odin, Adam's voice is contemplative and a bit dull at times, like you have to wade through a mudded pond that are his thoughts. The narrative felt thick but with a good pace, I deeply enjoyed a few of the action packed scenes because they were more dynamic, but I understand why is is written like that in it's majority, allowing you to acknowledge the deep grief that invades each of Adam's thoughts, but I must be honest, I only discovered that in the very last page.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    Think Neil Gaiman's American Gods but Biblical rather than mythological. Adam (the original) is just getting by as sercurity to the famous, but is exhausted and weary of life. When he snaps and overreacts in procecting his latest client he has to be rescued by another original inhabitant of Eden, Rook. As he goes in search of Rook;s missing brother Magpie, he stumbles into a very human plan to track down the remaining pieces of the Garden of Eden. This is not a religous book hiding in fantasy bu Think Neil Gaiman's American Gods but Biblical rather than mythological. Adam (the original) is just getting by as sercurity to the famous, but is exhausted and weary of life. When he snaps and overreacts in procecting his latest client he has to be rescued by another original inhabitant of Eden, Rook. As he goes in search of Rook;s missing brother Magpie, he stumbles into a very human plan to track down the remaining pieces of the Garden of Eden. This is not a religous book hiding in fantasy but a novel that uses the religous setting to tell a wonderful story, filled with loss, and violence.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marita Arvaniti

    ARC provided by Netgalley in return for an honest review. Adam is the First Man, undying and aimlessly wandering around the world in search for meaning and a sense of peace. He lives many lives, essentially always alone, save from his brief encounters with other former residents of Eden: the animals that Adam named like Pig, Crow, Magpie, and Butterfly. During the course of Langmead's novel, Adam travels around Scotland to find more scattered pieces of his lost Eden, as well as recovering some of ARC provided by Netgalley in return for an honest review. Adam is the First Man, undying and aimlessly wandering around the world in search for meaning and a sense of peace. He lives many lives, essentially always alone, save from his brief encounters with other former residents of Eden: the animals that Adam named like Pig, Crow, Magpie, and Butterfly. During the course of Langmead's novel, Adam travels around Scotland to find more scattered pieces of his lost Eden, as well as recovering some of his lost memories and reconnecting with his past. Langmead's prose is evocative and beautiful and Adam is a narrator in the tradition of American Gods' Shadow, private and contemplative, hardly the action hero that his built and physicality might lead someone to expect. Langmead, I think, handles the character type better than Gaiman did. When Adam feels distant, it is only highlighting his isolation and loneliness, the grief of his continuous existence, the aimlessness of living through age after age of a changing world. I did not expect that this book would make me cry. It did. But it was also full of hope.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Craig Slater

    I liked this a lot more than i thought i would and that mostly comes down to it being very well written. Its rewarding reading a book that takes its time and explores that humanity of each situation, especially if its written beautifully. It's nice to have a scene or a sentence you can savor. You can take a breath and enjoy the subtle details of a small moment, riding on the back of the characters emotion. It's human and relatable and that makes the story all the more engrossing. I liked this a lot more than i thought i would and that mostly comes down to it being very well written. Its rewarding reading a book that takes its time and explores that humanity of each situation, especially if its written beautifully. It's nice to have a scene or a sentence you can savor. You can take a breath and enjoy the subtle details of a small moment, riding on the back of the characters emotion. It's human and relatable and that makes the story all the more engrossing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I cried, loved it, rooted for the characters and felt a lot of different emotions. I requested this arc because I'm a fan of Gaiman and I got more than I bargained because it's excellent and unique. A great and poignant story, excellent world building and character development. It's a book that I strongly recommend because it's so brilliant. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine I cried, loved it, rooted for the characters and felt a lot of different emotions. I requested this arc because I'm a fan of Gaiman and I got more than I bargained because it's excellent and unique. A great and poignant story, excellent world building and character development. It's a book that I strongly recommend because it's so brilliant. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rose Ann

    I received a digital ARC of this title through Edelweiss. Original, beautifully written, vivid characterizations. I was riveted from the first page. I think if you liked "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman, you will like "Birds of Paradise" as well. Highly recommended, even for folks who don't like "fantasy." I received a digital ARC of this title through Edelweiss. Original, beautifully written, vivid characterizations. I was riveted from the first page. I think if you liked "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman, you will like "Birds of Paradise" as well. Highly recommended, even for folks who don't like "fantasy."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Rundle

    BIRDS OF PARADISE had me at the beginning. The story centers around Adam, the first man in creation, who is still walking around in modern day. The emotional and mental journey of Adam is unlike anything I've read in an Adult Fantasy book in a long time. Twists. Turns. Smooth prose. Elegant plot. BIRDS OF PARADISE had me at the beginning. The story centers around Adam, the first man in creation, who is still walking around in modern day. The emotional and mental journey of Adam is unlike anything I've read in an Adult Fantasy book in a long time. Twists. Turns. Smooth prose. Elegant plot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ms Hob-Dumas Hob-Dumas

    Modern Adam This is a tight, perfectly written book. The characters, even those who not appear briefly, are full and complete. I don’t know what else to say without spoilers but I read in a weekend and enjoyed every minute.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Spoiler Rotten Reviews

    Review to come

  30. 5 out of 5

    Runalong

    An unusual but memorable road trip involving heists and immortals - fans of weirder fantasy will love this Full Review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl... An unusual but memorable road trip involving heists and immortals - fans of weirder fantasy will love this Full Review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...

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