|Republic of Birds|
Author: Miller, Jessica
After her family is exiled from the capital of Tsaretsvo, Olga must use her wits, cunning, and forbidden magic to rescue her kidnapped sister, Mira, and return home from the Republic of Birds. Inspired by Russian folklore.
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/21)
School Library Journal (04/23/21)
Booklist (+) (04/15/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/04/21)
The Hornbook (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/23/2021 Gr 4–6—Olga Oblomova and her family have been exiled to a cold outpost of Tsaretsvo. Their new home is the Imperial Center for Avian Observation, which borders The Republic of Birds. In Olga's universe, The Republic of Birds has a lot of power, and relationships between humans and the birds are tense due to past civil war and political strife. Olga tries to make the best of her new life, but she's jealous of her younger sister Mira and her beautiful dancing abilities. Olga tries to connect to her sister and her stepmother, Anastasia. However, she feels pressure to hide her magical abilities as a yaga; magic is outlawed in her kingdom, and she fears being sent away to a boarding school from which no one has returned. But when Olga's sister Mira gets unexpectedly kidnapped by the birds, Olga has no choice but to tap into her magical abilities, despite the risks. What does being a yaga mean for Olga? Will she be able to bring Mira back safely? This suspenseful fantasy adventure has an engaging hero's journey plot and important messages related to female empowerment and mentorship. The world-building takes a while to develop at the start of the novel, but it's a worthwhile journey for patient young readers. Olga and her family are cued as white. VERDICT A wonderful addition to classroom or school libraries.—Margaret A. Robbins, The Mount Vernon Sch., Sandy Springs, GA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2021 *Starred Review* When the War in the Skies was waged over who should possess a firebird’s egg, it divided the previously friendly and much entwined Republic of Birds and human Tsardom, driving both birds and magic-wielding yagas from the latter. It is into this richly imagined world, a fantastic reshaping of Slavic folklore, that Miller (Elizabeth and Zenobia, 2017) invites readers to accompany Olga Oblomova, almost 13, as she and her family are transferred to the outskirts of the Tsardom for displeasing the tsarina. Their fall from grace becomes a true tragedy when Mira, Olga’s younger sister, is brazenly snatched from their new home by a bird. The girls’ father immediately commands searches of the Tsardom, but Olga knows that Mira will only be found in the Republic of Birds. So the older girl, who never considered herself special, strikes out with a gift from an exiled yaga, a book of maps, a touch of magic recently sparked within herself, and quite a bit of courage. Miller crafts a dangerous fantasy world, where birds are as legendary as bathhouse spirits and chicken-legged houses careen on society’s fringes, that doesn’t seek to villainize; rather, it shows the universal loss of beauty and magic when power is mishandled. And she does this through an unassuming heroine who spectacularly charts her own path. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.