So, today I wanted to bring you a book that kicked ass. I mean seriously. This book kicked ass.
Chuck Wendig's "Blackbirds"
I'm not kidding you. This book blew me away.Yes, I'm gonna tell you why, so be patient.
You guys have heard it time and time again from me. Books are about characters. They are about characters. You know? People? That means that I must care about the characters before I care about how intricate or original your plot is. Plot is important, but again...
Even plot is about people.
Now, some background.
I ran into Chuck Wendig's blog, "Terrible Minds" because he gives some extremely practical advice. He does not soften the hard angles of his advice and he doesn't soften his language either. Sometimes, I look at his advice like stepping in front of a bullet. I can't complain because I did it to myself. But, when I am done reading it, he has given me the lesson of my life. I spend a lot of time on his site. Some of the best things I ever learned about writing, I learned from his site.
Now to the review. It is such a great book!
Blackbirds is about a woman in her twenties named Miriam Black. She has a pretty dark ability. She can foresee the way that people are going to die. She has seen all sorts of unfortunate deaths. This ability and her life thus far have caused her to have a cynical and hard view of the world. One day she grabs a ride with a truck driver named Louis Darling and foresees that he will die a very heinous death while he cries out her name. Miriam has never been able to save anyone whose death she has seen, but when her life gets intertwined with Louis', she decides she has to try to save him.
There was a lot I liked about this book. A lot
Characters: Miriam Black is one of those complicated characters that I love. She is completely unlikeable, but funny, and a little rough, with a crappy attitude. But she also has something on the inside, that she doesn't let anyone see. Mr. Wendig pulled this off with genius. I love Miriam Black.
I also loved Louis Darling. The truck driver is a simple guy who gets mixed up with a complicated woman. You could literally feel these characters. I liked that I wanted to know as much as could know about them, and when the story was done, I wanted to know more.
Settings: The story is set in all sorts of places, but the main places end up being seedy bars and motels. I won't tell you where the last setting is, but I will say that it is appropriate and unusual. Mr. Wendig has a way of transporting you into a different place. The descriptions are visceral and you can feel the places in the book with your gut.
Themes: Theme is important in books. It makes the book about something. Something important without preaching to you. Mr. Wendig is a master at this. It makes you ask questions. If you had the power to see how people were going to die, would you use it for good or evil? Are things really preordained? Is our path really unchangeable? Can someone with this kind of power really know love? Could they really care about anyone? Bravo, Mr. Wendig!
Altogether, Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds is a great book and ripping good suspense thriller and mystery, with a supernatural twist. Warning: it is not YA. It is pure adult fiction with language and some sex scenes. If you can't hack it, I don't recommend it. If you can...Oh you should definitely get this book! I'm about to go over to Amazon and give it 5-stars!