Blackbirds - Xelly This review can be found at The Armchair Reader.

Rizki lives on Old Earth and every year he partakes in Endless Nights, a three day celebration during New Year where tourists come and visit. On this particular year, he meets Ethan but after a night of fun, he doesn’t see Ethan again. Until after all the ships taking the tourists back, there’s a man who was seriously injured, who turns out to be Ethan. Unfortunately, Ethan is now stuck on Old Earth for another year and it’s delegated to Rizki to take care of him. While they might have had one night of passion, the feelings they have for each other are still there and now they have a whole year together but will that year be too much for them to handle?

This is one of those stories that had a lot of potential but was hindered by the length of the story. I really enjoyed the world it was set in and I liked the characters. Rizki is more melancholy than anything else and he’s a loner while Ethan is spritely and fun. I liked how Ethan was stuck on Old Earth and how Rizki ended up taking Ethan home with him after Ethan healed. The brief scenes of their time together was sweet but Rizki seemed confused at where their relationship had ended up at times.

This was a good read but it felt more like an outline than anything else. There is not much depth so you don’t know much about the world, which left me with a lot of questions. More than that, while we get to know the characters somewhat, they aren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. For example, the problems with Ethan and his family left me more confused than anything because there wasn’t a lot of detail about it. You don’t really see this love they’ve developed but what you do see of it is very sweet. One of my favorite parts of the story, though, was how the author blended the nursery rhyme for blackbirds (or magpies as I know them) into the story and how it was played into their relationship. Although, this rhyme was a tad different from the one I’m used to but it goes like this:

“One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a wedding,
Four for death;
Five for silver,
Six for gold;
Seven for a secret,
Not to be told;
Eight for heaven,
Nine for hell
And ten for the devil’s own.”

Overall, this was a good story, although I think the short length of the book didn’t do the story justice. I liked the characters and I absolutely loved the world but the lack of depth to everything made me curious and slightly frustrated. Still, this was a short and sweet read, recommended for those looking for something quick and easy.