By Alison L. R. Davies

Reviewed by Garry Charles

I have had the pleasure of listening to Alison whilst she story tells. Storytelling is her first love and when she recalls the tales that are locked in her mind she fills the room with her presence, bringing with her a sense of uncertain dread and the feeling that everything is no longer safe in the world.

Taking this into account I turned to the first page of King of the Birds with trepidation, hoping that the written word held the same passion she portrays in her vocal work.

And boy was I impressed. Alison L. R .Davies cannot be described as a rising star because she burns too brightly. She is a shooting star of immense power, talent and beauty in both the worlds of the written and spoken word.

King of the Birds is set in Alison's home of Nottingham and she writes about the city with a mixture of love for its history and sadness at what it has become with the onset of modern advances. I feel that she would be happier back in medieval times; a travelling vendor of tales, moving from village to village and spreading her amazing stories.

No sooner has she introduced us to the city than she populates it with a variety of characters that may or may not be human. And they all want to either help or kill Billy after he is talked into stealing an antique plate that holds the key to a war that is raging away right under the noses of the city's inhabitants. Within the next hundred pages the reader is bombarded with shape-shifting crows and magpies that have been in battle for generation after generation. And just as you get to grips with this world Alison throws in another world of exiles and bizarre creatures that live outside our rules.

Alison is skilled enough to create this new world with ease and I found myself accepting everything that unfolded without question. If I had one complaint it would be that it was too short and left me salivating for more. I could have sat for hours and read a full history of the crows and magpies and I did feel that the pigeon's were sadly ignored.

King of the Birds is a truly amazing experience and Alison's first novella has a feel that reminded me of Neil Gaiman's work and that can't be a bad thing. This is one lady that you should keep an eye on because she is going to soar above the birds that she writes about.

King of the Birds by Alison L. R. Davies. Tpb, 118pp, £7.99. Published by Bluechrome.

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