Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
Just finished reading Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig which was frankly outstanding and I quite literally couldn’t put it down. Now, I wasn’t really planning on reading this series and I have in fact not read the first book Blackbirds. Basically, I ordered this from the library – not realising I was picking up the second in this series. I did of course realise my mistake when I went to pick it up but I thought I’d just give it a few pages and see how things went. I confess that I’d read a few negative reviews for Blackbirds that made me hesitate to pick it up and starting off with Mockingbird I could relate a little to those comments I’d read but within a few chapters I was under the spell.
Mockingbird brings to us Miriam. Miriam, following a trauma in her early adult life, has been gifted with the strange ability to see how and when a person will die. Unfortunately, she has no control over this strange psychic ability and it therefore occurs whenever she has physical contact with another person, so shaking hands or exchanging items or any other of the many ways in which we have regular contact with others. It’s not a particularly endearing ability this – looking at people in their final throes of death – whether it be through disease, accident or any of the other many ways to die such as murder or suicide. At the start of this book Miriam is trying to live a regular existence with Louis, who she apparently met in book No.1. She has a job at a 9 to 5 and even a home of sorts. But, she’s getting itchy feet – or more to the point itchy hands. She’s been controlling her ability and it’s starting to build a tension inside that’s about to erupt. Everything is about to get turned on it’s head in a very dramatic fashion.
Basically put we have a horror story with a difference and there’s certainly a pretty horrid story involved here with rather grisly murders. I’m not going to deny that this book is harsh. Bad language and then some. Murders galore. It’s not a pretty thing. Miriam has led a hard life so far and this hasn’t given her any airs and graces. She’s a bit foul mouthed, she’d as soon insult people as make friends and yet in this story you can definitely see she’s not as tough as she acts. She does have a hard exterior but it’s starting to crack, just a little. But even with all her cussing and such like she can be pretty funny.
I really liked the story line in this and the eventual reveal. I enjoyed all the little appearances with talking blackbirds and visitations from dead people. I also liked the way the story was interspersed with interludes that were like small snippets from Miriam’s past. It seems that we’ve started to explore this ability of Miriam’s a little and we’ve also had an introduction into other elements.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t have any criticisms. At the beginning I struggled a bit to get on with Miriam and I think I know why that is. She does have a bit of a masculine voice although this improved after the first few chapters. Just sometimes it felt like the way she reacted or spoke was more masculine. Not really articulating that very well so will swiftly move on….
I will definitely read future books in this series – I think it has the potential to be really good and I could hardly put this down. I’m not sure that I’ll go back and read Blackbirds – from some of the reviews it seems that Miriam may have been a bit more subdued in this edition – and I think I might prefer this version of Miriam. Looking forward to the next instalment.
And, on a separate note – these book covers are really something else. Just really take a good look at Mockingbirds – it has so many extra little things that at first glance you don’t notice.