AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • In a dazzling new fantasy world full of whispered secrets and political intrigue, the magic of women is outlawed but four girls with unusual powers have the chance to change it all.
Magic is illegal in Simta, but for the right price, the wealthy can always partake. They need only procure a visit with a Nightbird, girls who can gift their rare powers with a kiss. Usually a tight-knit group, this Season’s Nightbirds couldn’t be more different. Matilde, the group’s veteran, relishes the feeling of power and freedom she thinks her Nightbird status affords, but rebels against her family’s growing expectation that she finally choose a suitor and pass her magic on to the next generation; fiery orphan Sayer, resigned to this life as a means to support herself, resents each transaction and the world Matilde so reveres; and novice Æsa, fears her own magic and thinks her very existence is a sin.
But when the Nightbirds find themselves at the heart of a deadly political scheme that shakes the world as they know it, they must put their differences aside and band together to fend off those who would exploit them. In doing so, they discover their magic is more powerful than they could have ever imagined, and they see the Nightbirds system for what it is: a gilded cage. United, they are a potent force that could upend the patriarchal system that would hunt them as witches. But wielding their power could cost them more than they are prepared to lose. They must make a choice: to remain kept birds or take control, remaking the city that dared to clip their wings.
Fiercely feminist and set in a thrilling, intoxicating world evoking the Jazz Age—full of speakeasies with magic cocktails, sharp-edged, duplicitous glamour, and handsome rogue alchemists—Nightbirds is an exciting debut fantasy that dazzles as powerful girls emerge from the shadows to determine their own fates.
Kate J. Armstrong has always had a fondness for adventure. After graduating college, she left her home state of Virginia and has never really looked back. She’s explored many places and vocations, working as a high school English teacher and a nonfiction writer and editor for publishers such as National Geographic. In 2018 she started The Exploress
, a women’s history podcast with a cult following and over half a million downloads. She is also the co-host of Pub Dates
, a podcast that takes readers backstage to join her on the journey to publication for the book you’re holding in your hands right now. When she’s not writing or recording, you will find Kate hiking mountains, trying out cocktails, finding excuses to dress up in historical attire, or reading way past her bedtime. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and their noble greyhound, Galahad.
Praise for Nightbirds:A 2024 Rise: Feminist Book Project YA Pick!
An Amazon Best Book of the Month – March 2023
“In this sumptuous fantasy
, the magic wielded by girls is outlawed, but the “Nightbirds” share it secretly—through kissing. A lush adventure
★ “Lush settings
, careful worldbuilding
, and taut exposition
[make for] . . . an electrifying, high-stakes
series opener grounded in feminist themes.” —Kirkus Reviews
, starred review
★ “In this dazzling, fiercely feminist novel
. . . debut author Armstrong uses lush, seamlessly incorporated worldbuilding
, kaleidoscopic third-person-present narration told via realistically rendered characters, and fraught queer and straight romantic subplots to explore issues of classism and misogyny. With a pace that never flags and a harrowing, high-stakes plot
, this distinguished read boasts texture, heft, and heart.
" —Publishers Weekly
, starred review
★ “Armstrong’s intricate debut novel . . . is packed with memorable characters
. . . [and a] riveting plot
, starred review
"The plot is full of secrets, betrayals, and twists
that will make readers reluctant to set the book down for any length of time. The characters are all believable and relatable, with strengths and weaknesses to boot, and the story is laced with just enough romance
. With refreshingly original
characters and lush language
, this debut fantasy will leave readers clamoring for the sequel.” —School Library Journal
“This richly developed world
with Prohibition-era flair and a fast-paced, character-driven narrative
make for a strong showing from debut author Armstrong, and the layered plot
offers readers plenty of action, intrigues, romance, and betrayal
. . . Give this book to readers who enjoy Leigh Bardugo or Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s The Mermaid, the Witch, & the Sea
” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“A luscious, sumptuously woven, and totally addictive fantasy. It’s like Gatsby
with magic and sky-high stakes, layer upon layer of incredible worldbuilding peeling back as we slowly uncover the spider’s web of stories and secrets our characters are hoarding. From the gritty docks to the glitzy ballrooms to the magical speakeasy through the back of a wardrobe, I’d kill to have written this myself.” —Amie Kaufman
, New York Times
bestselling author of Illuminae
and Aurora Rising
"A glamour-soaked, glittering jewel of a book. Nightbirds will whirl you through a world full of dark secrets, forbidden magics and fierce girls, leaving you giddy and breathless.” —Lili Wilkinson
, author of A Hunger of Thorns
“With writing as beautiful as its magic and a story that packs as much of a punch as its intrepid heroines, Nightbirds
is a soaring debut you won’t want to miss!” —Ryan Graudin
, award winning author of Wolf by Wolf