Review: @ChuckWendig’s “Blackbirds”
BLACKBIRDS will kick you in the caint (which is exactly what you think it is) from the very first page. In honor of the sequel to BLACKBIRDS, appropriately titled MOCKBIRD, releasing later this month, I’ve decided to write a review of the heart-hacking novel.
And how bad ass is that cover?
Miriam Black knows when you will die. Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
Amazon Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
There are so fucking many different facets of this work that I could discuss, but probably my favorite thing about the work is its craftsmanship. So, we’ll focus there.
Wendig uses powerful images to paint a vivid picture of the inside of his protagonist, Miriam “Fucked Up Psyche” Black’s, head, as well as smooth, lyrical prose from the very first to the very last sentence. Wendig is a certified wordsmith with the precision of a surgeon. His quick-witted quips of dialogue and narration keep you trapped in this story, like a parasite on the roof of a rotting corpse’s mouth. (I’ll leave that there for you to imagine, for just a sec.)
The story is narrated by Miriam, and avoids that “coming and going” play-by-play feeling that a lot of first person narratives assume. Instead, BLACKBIRDS more heavily resembles a choreographed dance with its interspersion of action, character development/reveal and plot-progressing dialogue.
I had to review this story as both a reader and a writer. As a reader, I knew (definitively) at chapter 10 that Miriam Black was my spirit animal and fell in love with the idea of her and Louis immediately. As a writer, I had to sit back after finishing it and breathe the word Shit on an exhale, which was followed by my worship of the seriously admirable plotting, planning and just over-all WORK it must’ve taken to pen a work of this caliber. A work that has definitely thrust its way onto my Favorite Books list.
My recommendation to you all, Peace Lovers, is to PICK. THIS. BOOK. UP! Whether you read it for its haunting language or the dark (and often deliciously gruesome) imagery, you’ll enjoy what has been like a balm to my black, black soul.
Pre-Order MOCKINGBIRD here.
And check out Wendig’s fucking awesome blog here.
Wendig, I look very much forward to the next installment (in much the same way that addicts probably look forward to their next hit: Wondering if they’ll come out of it alive).