Category Archives: Chuck Wendig

The Blue Blazes

TheBlueBlazes-144dpiThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #1

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult

The Plot
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.

The Review

 

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

Favourite Quotes

“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

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Adventure, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Uncategorized

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Series: Miriam Black #2

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Published: August 28th 2012 by Angry Robot

The Plot.

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.

My Review.

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.

3.5 books

Extra Nerdy

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. terrible minds

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3.5 Books, Adult, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Blackbirds

BlackbirdsTitle: Blackbirds

Author: Chuck Wendig

Series: Miriam Black #1

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Thriller

Published: April 24th 2012 by Angry Robot

Plot: Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.
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.

Review: After seeing some very positive reviews I was determined to like this book, for the first quarter of the book I hated the language, the violence, but I stuck with it. I’m so glad I did because once I finished this book I really enjoyed it.

Miriam is one of the strongest female leads I’ve seen in a while. She stuck to her character traits. She was sarcastic, full of bad habits (smoking, drinking, swearing), didn’t care about people (in general) and was the ‘lowlife’ of society and yet I still managed to love her! Her character came a full cycle around from start to end and I really saw the journey. The story is told through her, but it’s in a third person narrative which worked really well! This enabled Wendig to take us out into the tales of the other characters and develop the secondary characters.

Louis was not a character I really expected to swoon over. He latched onto me and didn’t let go! For me, he was the ultimate strong, caring man who was tormented by his past, but believed in the good of people. He was the ‘swoony’ male of the story for me and his character despite the horror, gore and action of the story brought an essence of romance that I really wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t overly in your face and soppy, it worked naturally into the flow of the book.

There were some things I strongly disliked about this book however:

  • The explicit language became too much for me at times in particular reference to certain words that I find offensive. However it was part of the character’s traits and I learned to get along with it.
  • The gore. Some of it made me shudder, but it was definitely part of the book.

They were a core essence to the book and despite how they turned me off the book at times, it didn’t take away from the thrilling journey the book could give you!

This book really has an effective mixture of fantasy and reality, because it has some brutal scenes that reflected the harsh reality and then we were thrown into dream spaces and visions that really heightened the fantasy side. It was an enjoyable mixture that worked really well.

I can defiantly say I’m excited for the future of Miriam Black and the series that Chuck Wendig will be taking her on. Nothing about this book is predictable and the ending was simplistic and effective. It undermined every great ‘plan’ I expected and worked fantastically well!

This book hasn’t been out long and I did receive it as an ARC from Netgalley but never managed to get around to reading it until after the date. However, I would urge you all to go flock and buy this now! If you enjoy a horror/fantasy story, this one is really for you! It’s got a kick-ass female lead all the way until the end.

*This was provided to be by the publisher via NetGalley*

Rating:

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Thriller