The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
Series: Mookie Pearl #1
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult
The Blue Blazes draws together the criminal, gangster underworld and supernatural happenings to give a rather unique take on an urban-fantasy novel. There may be creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, but the key feature of the novel surrounds drugs. The ‘blue blazes’ that provide supernatural strength, endurance and enhanced senses is the drug everyone wants to have on their side in battle. However it isn’t that only drug that everyone is searching for, as the main character Mookie uncovers.
Mookie Pearl is a man involved in both the supernatural and gangster underworld, but his family life also crosses over between the two and the novel follows him, and his spats with his daughter that adds yet another dynamic to this urban-fantasy novel.
Chuck Wendig is an author that not everyone will appreciate, but I read the first two books in his Miriam Black series and enjoyed them, I was curious to test out another series by him. However, like with the Miriam Black series he does not shy away from the violence and brutality, harsh language and rather grumpy, sometimes dislikeable characters that characterised the Miriam Black series. Nevertheless, he has a fantastic imagination, and if you don’t mind those sorts of things, delving into The Blue Blazes is an exciting, unique journey that served to keep my interest!
The Blue Blazes is not to me the typical urban-fantasy novel, which I think sets it head and shoulders apart from its genre. Wendig takes on something a little more adventurous and more applicable to modern day and succeeds with flying colours to craft it into a believable, exciting and scary fantasy world. After all, we have drugs in our world, why can’t there be ones that bring about supernatural changes?
Mookie Pearl admittedly is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t make the best life choices and his conflict with his daughter and seeming ignorance of her life makes him seem like a poor father figure. Throughout the novel he doesn’t really seem to make real attempts to mend the broken relationship and whilst his daughter and her wild attempts on her father’s life when she opposes his gang seem to make such things difficult, he still seems to be a rather harsh character. However, he does undergo some character development in terms of sorting out his family relations that redeems him in my eyes. He’s also not the typical main character that usually stares in the books I read and I enjoyed exiting from my comfort zone. Especially since he has a strong sense of identity developed and he is a hard-man with a lot of gruff, ready-to-roll style.
The Blue Blazes has a lot to offer in terms of fantasy and criminal underground dynamics that makes it unusual. It’s exciting, tense and it has tonnes of potential for the future series. I am definitely intrigued to know more about the origins of the drugs, what will happen with them all and especially the gang dynamics after things collapse a little at the end of The Blue Blazes. One thing this novel was not, was predictable and I will definitely be looking out to get my hands on the second instalment of the Mookie Pearl series. This might not be your usual type of book, but definitely take a leap of faith and try The Blue Blazes, as I think any fantasy fan can appreciate Wendig’s innovative slant on the criminal underground!
Historical Survival Chances
I have been contemplating for a short time now, how I rate books, and whilst I might give this book a solid 4.5 stars, will it last into the future? Will people in 20-30 maybe even 100 years time be reading Chuck Wendig like we read Mary Shelley or Dickens?
Wendig is innovative and creative enough that I think in the genre of urban-fantasy, he might stand a strong chance of being read well into the future. So I will be applying a survival chance percentage and an expiration date to the novel when I think people might no longer hold interest in these types of things.
Survival Chance: 65%
Expiration Date: 2064
“The Blazes are like that: the blue stuff doesn’t merely tear aside the facade to reveal the monsters, but when on it, the whole of the Underworld pulses with a different kind of energy.”
“The saying goes that there is more below the streets of New York City than there is above them. An exaggeration by those who say it, perhaps, but they don’t known just how accurate that statement truly is. Hell’s heart, as it turns out, has many chambers.”
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website
9 responses to “The Blue Blazes”
I’m not 100% sure that this is the book for me (and I appreciate the warning), but I do really want to try out something of Chuck Wendig’s sometime just to see. As long as I could get past the violence and other stuff, I’m pretty sure I would appreciate the same kinds of things about his writing that you have. Thanks for this review – you make me really want to read this series!
I think he’s done another series that is YA which might be more toned down, that would work for you in terms of style which I believe is fantasy, Under the Empyrean Sky. Although not having read it, I cannot vouch for the quality of the book. But if you do read the series, let me know what you think!
Drugs that bring out the supernatural does seem plausible to me. Nice to hear you enjoyed this stand out UF, Livvy! Great review! 🙂
I think today there are many more things we think are plausible! aha. Thanks, Rachel.
I certainly don’t mind brutality and harsh language, especially when they serve a purpose, and as a huge fan of urban fantasy, I want to see this somewhat different addition to the genre. Plus, I love a good anti-hero, doesn’t everyone?
I think in this context of the gangster, rough and ready anti-hero, they definitely serve a purpose. If you get around to reading this Maja, I hope you enjoy!
I don’t know if I’ve read a book with a criminal MC. I’m not sure if I’d like this book since it doesn’t seem to have romance but I definitely love fantasy, UFs and paranormal. We’ll see I guess. 😛 Great review!
It probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially since it does lack romance, but its still a good read. It’s a unique book to say the least!
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