Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

I am a huge fan of Chuck Wendig. His creative cursing alone is a joy to read. I’ve enjoyed his short stories, his longer fiction and his writing advice. He is not to everybody’s taste. My nan would never have approved of all that swearing. In this book all the vile filth that spews from Miriam’s (the protagonist) mouth is exactly what you would expect from that kind of person. It is appropriate and witty.

I’ll start with the cover. The totally awesome cover that I could just stare at all day. I want that cover as a t-shirt. It is just perfect. Joey Hi-Fi strikes again. It sets the tone and quality for the  book. What a great start. The story covers some pretty grizzly subjects that would have the ‘Adult Themes’ slogan flashing on the TV. This is not a case of shocking for the sake of shocking, each event is important. Every scene leads you inextricably closer to the end. Even the interludes have purpose and direction. Have you ever seen Master Uyeshiba doing Aikido? With a tiny little shrug people seem to be repelled and launched across the Dojo. That’s how this book reads to me. No wasted words. A perfect example of this is a chapter called Harriet’s Story. I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but you will have a reaction to it.

This story is about Miriam Black. After a traumatic event in her youth she gains more than just a bad attitude. She develops a psychic power. When she makes skin to skin contact with somebody she can see how they die and know exactly when it is going to happen. This burden does not sit well with Miriam especially as all her attempts to prevent the events have proven fruitless. Miriam has problems, lots of problems. Most of them are in her head. She makes some of my ex-girlfriends seem balanced and sensible. She clearly has no care for her own safety or well being and this leads her in to a whole heap more trouble. Through all the bad stuff there is a very dry and dark wit that comes through and balances the story nicely.

I loved this book (you noticed that already, right). It is in my opinion much better than Double Dead by the same author so if you did not particularly enjoy that one you may well enjoy this one. If like me you are a Wendig fan, then you will be blown away. I’ll certainly be buying the second book and that is the highest praise I can give a book.

Being an Angry Robot book there are extras at the book. Not just an author bio, but other stuff. In this instance it is a Q&A with fellow author Adam Christopher. I found this section insightful and informative. Read it, you may learn something.


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