Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead are both misfits at school, and out of that they build a fragile friendship. Their interests are very different, though. Laurence is into all things science and technology; he even skips school and runs away to watch a rocket launch. Patricia is into nature. Really into nature. She discovers she can, quite literally, talk to animals, and once, when she was six, she attended the Parliament of Birds. When they part company on leaving high school, they never expect to see each other again.
They're living their lives on the same warming planet, though, and they each are trying to make things better in their very different ways. Patricia has become a powerful witch and healer. Laurence is a high-profile member of the 10% Project, aimed at getting at least 10% of Earth's population off the planet before a global catastrophe.
When they meet again, they're on a collision course.
This isn't a post-apocalyptic novel; this is a story of a world spiraling toward apocalypse, and people trying to make things right while maybe making terrible mistakes. Yet it isn't dark or hopeless, either. There are bits of humor all through it, and a humane vision of what humanity can be. Patricia and Laurence are both worth getting to know. Even more, the very difficult and demanding people around them, in their competing projects, are also worth getting to know.
And then, of course, there are the birds. You also need to get to know the birds!
Both science and magic play a big role, here, and Anders keeps us guessing right down to the end both what will happen, and what forces will be the deciding factor. I was completely absorbed by the story and the characters.
I bought this audiobook.