16 May 2012

Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig

The Blurb: Miriam Black knows how you are going to die.
She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides. She merely needs to touch you — skin to skin contact — and she knows how and when you’ll die.
But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. 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

I’ve been following Chuck Wendig’s blog and twitter feed for some time now. He’s good on both, and his writing advice he regulary offers up on his blog is worth more than it’s weight in gold.  And he’s a funny bastard, which is one of the things that I like to see in an author. When he published Blackbirds, I grabbed it as soon as it was monetary possible for me.

First off, look at that cover. It’s beautiful, attention grabbing and unique. Just like a good cover should be.

As the blurb states, the main character is Miriam Black. She can see anyone’s time and method of death as soon as she touches them. This is a damn bleak idea to base a story on, but I must say, it makes for some real gripping reading and a real interesting story.  It would really suck as a superpower though.

Miriam has a real fatalistic outlook on life, which is understandable and done really well. If you had to see death on a daily basis, it would drive most of us totally insane. Miriam does what she has to do to cope with all this insanity, and that of course includes loads of alcohol and cigarettes. If I was in her shoes, my liver would have exploded years ago.  Since most of the book is from her viewpoint it stood a real chance to spiral deep into depression and self-loathing territory, but her sarcasm and some funny moments in the story made up for this and kept me turning the pages.  

The book does contain loads of swearing and violence, but come on; if you are shocked or bothered by this after reading the blurb then you are an idiot. It all adds to the story, keeping the tension and fear levels right up there.  Any character who can go through this story and not curse isn’t real enough, if that makes sense to  you.

Wendig keeps you in the story. I felt connected to the main characters, felt their pain and hope. I felt invested in the story, and that makes a damn good book in my world. Flashbacks are used liberally throughout the book, but these just reinforce the main storyline, adding extra motivation to actions and extra layers to the characters. It didn’t distract from the story at all.

Is this a book I’ll recommend to anyone? Not really. It’s too dark and murderous for some. Would I recommend it to my friends? I already did. It’s brilliant.

A super solid 9/10.

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