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A land of forbidden magic.
A book of ancient maps.
And a story of courage and sisterly love.
Magic is banned in Stolitsa. Any girl showing signs of being magical is whisked away to Bleak Steppe—to a life, so the stories go, of unspeakable horror.
So when strange things begin to happen to Olga, she knows she has a dangerous secret, one she must guard with great care.
But then the birds take the thing most precious to her, and Olga knows she must summon all her courage to go into the Republic of Birds to get it back.
It’s an impossible task—unless she can find a way to unlock her hidden magic.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
Leanne Hall, Readings
Readings: Leanne Hall: My five favourite reads of 2020
‘I loved this spicy fantasy with its unusual Russian influences and its clever, cartographer heroine.’
‘This book has so many things I love: maps, strange magic, living folklore, talking animals, history books, impossible challenges and a redoubtable heroine who mistakenly regards herself as untalented and unlovely, when she is quite the opposite. I couldn’t have enjoyed reading this more, it’s an absolute joy. Make a note for March next year: read The Republic of Birds.’
‘Oh my goodness, I would have gobbled this up as a kid. The story is just brilliant…I was completely in love from start to finish. What a feast! The world and its moving magical parts was simply wonderful. I loved everything. EVERYTHING.’
‘I loved this strange, magical and captivating story.’
‘A lonely girl, a creepy house, spirit presences and long-ago mysteries—I’m completely in love with this novel.’
‘Readers will be absorbed by Elizabeth and Zenobia’s conversations, the complex and chilling plot.’
‘By the time I reached the end of the book my heart was racing and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough…a simple, good-old-fashioned scary manor mystery.’
‘A truly spellbinding tale…This latest offering from a magnificently talented author is sure to delight any reader who loves getting lost in magical landscapes full of wonder, adventure and enchantment.’
‘This atmospheric middle grade fantasy contains many of my favourite things: folk tales, sentient animals, maps, unmastered magical powers, challenging family members and a slightly surly child heroine.’
‘This middle-grade fantasy ultimately grips readers with its evocative world building, memorable cast of magic-wielders and mysterious creatures, and well-paced episodic adventure. Hints of Labyrinth and Howl’s Moving Castle, alongside allusions to Russian mythology, give it a familiar feel without masking its original elements. Olga’s frustration with herself and the limits of her society, jealousy of her sister, and determination to save her combine to make a relatable heroine, and readers will be pleased to see her discover her confidence.’
‘The Republic of Birds 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.’
‘Miller crafts a Russian folklore-infused tale, augmented by excerpts from mythical history books…The theme—“If you feel you don’t fit somewhere, change it until it fits you”—is movingly portrayed.’