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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
House of Sparrows is the first installment of Janice Mayo's fantasy series, The Hidden Aviaries. Spizella, tasked with procuring human souls for the House of Sparrows, finds herself conflicted when she sees a kindred spirit in her assigned soul William. Refusing to pass William's soul to Central Processing causes much distress to Spiz and William as they find themselves hunted by the Cardinals. When Poe, a Chickadee, unexpectedly shows up to rescue them, Spiz inadvertently embroils herself in a conspiracy involving the Cardinals led by Kamen, who was experimenting on Eagles, trying to convert them into Hybrid soldiers. With Queen Clara's help, Spiz and the Chickadees form a formidable resistance to Kamen's unrestrained ambition. But Spiz must learn to let go as William's soul gets increasingly consumed by revenge.
Author Janice Mayo weaves an intricate tale of romance, heartbreak, and rebellion in this entertaining fantasy odyssey featuring brave sparrows, tenacious chickadees, and haughty swans. The plot moves at a brisk pace, taking unexpected twists and turns that keep your eyes glued to the pages. There is a sense of unique authenticity to the premise that makes the story all the more compelling to read. The characters are easy to root for. They will make you laugh and, at times, even break your heart. Spizella is an immensely likable protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed her relationship dynamic with both William and Poe. The worldbuilding felt particularly impressive to me. If you're looking for a fantasy book with a unique premise, check out House of Sparrows from The Hidden Aviaries series.