Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
Series: Miriam Black #2
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Published: August 28th 2012 by Angry Robot
Miriam is trying. Really, she is.
But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.
It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.
Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.
Chuck Wendig’s sequel to Blackbirds in the Miriam Black series took to a different direction than I expected in Mockingbird and I didn’t quite connect with it as much which is unfortunate to say. Blackbirds unexpectedly surprised me and I was looking forward to starting Mockingbird however it was a little more dark and twisted than I expected and maybe could stomach. Miriam seemed to kick up the violence, language and lonely solo act in this novel and I didn’t appreciate the move away from the romance that kindled in the previous novel which I think represented a light of hope in the novel. However, I felt things were really strained in this novel and they took a lot darker approach in the aspect that the characters really looked inside themselves.
I think my main problem came with Mockingbird in that I didn’t actually like Miriam’s character as much. Before she was bad-ass problematic woman who was a little eccentric. However, Miriam pushed everybody away in this novel, she seemed to be hating on the entire world and she took a trip into the past. I think I’ll be more intrigued to witness the resolving off the issues that Miriam has in the next instalment because we’ll finally be getting to the core of her issues. I just felt like as a character she didn’t make a lot of progress in this novel, she seemed to bounce of walls and fire insults at everybody. She did make some character connections with new people, but these were all underlying with foreboding and death which makes my stomach churn at the thought in nervous anticipation. I can appreciate that Wendig does not creep around the idea of death and destruction and he shows this through Miriam pretty brutally which is why I didn’t like her character for this novel because she became a little harder and colder. However, he has to be applauded for stepping where other authors tend to shy away from.
“Each song of an album, each page of a book, every panel of every comic, they’re all doorways, little escape hatches where Miriam can flee the sad shadows of this life.”
Louis is a character that seemed to make some development in this novel with uncovering some of his issues with Miriam. However again, we’re still not at the bottom of his problems and I hope he returns to resolve these because just like Miriam his life is full of problems. Wendig certainly doesn’t sprinkle fairy dust over people and Louis has lots of demons I feel still left to fight, so I hope we haven’t seen the back of him.
Nevertheless what I did love was the return of the crass humour and eccentric behaviour that occurred in Mockingbird that so reminded me of Blackbirds which was a new venture for me into a book I probably wouldn’t usually read. Mockingbird is not for the faint-hearted and if you are a little queasy or put off my bad language, death and lots of violence I would suggest avoiding this series all-together. However if you want something that delves into the darkness of humanity, something crazy with talking-birds, visions, death warnings and all kinds of crazed happenings then Mockingbird and Blackbirds are the perfect book for you. I think Wendig manages to develop his very own genre with these two books that isn’t alike anything I’ve read and this unique nature that he brings is a reason that I still manage to enjoy this book.
One thing I did love about Mockingbird were the chapter titles. They always manage to make me chuckle and I think Wendig has something very new and encapsulated Miriam’s character perfectly who is our protagonist and narrator and I think this engages your attention before the chapter even begins to keep reading and explore further into the mind of Miriam Black.
“Lords of Google, Hear my Plaintive Cries.”
Despite not enjoying Mockingbird as much as the first novel in the Miriam Black series, I will be continuing with it and looking out for what exciting adventure comes next because dark and gritty this series is and I think it still manages to be innovative and exploring into the dark nature that lays latent in so many books.
*quotes taken from an uncorrected arc copy so may change on the original version provided through NetGalley from Angry Robot.
Chuck Wendig has a rather awesome blog that runs under the name terribleminds and there are lots of cool features over there with short stories he has free and all about his other work in the world of gaming, writing novels and short stories and screenplays. A very cool guy. He also has lots of interesting, awesome pictures on his blog too.