Thursday, May 03, 2012

Review: Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds (Miriam Black, #1)

(Miriam Black #1)

Angry Robot


My Review:

First line: Car lights strobe through busted motel blinds.

Last line: "It is what it is."

Favorite quote: "Why, Paul, what do you think of me? I am the very model of chastity." He isn't buying it. She lights the cigarette and waves him off. "Dude, I discarded the key to my virginity belt long ago – just up and tossed it into a river, I did. That being said – no, Paul, I did not bang your uncle."

Once in a while I like to do this thing. That is, I see a book, fall in love with the cover and force myself to read it, regardless of the content. Sometimes, I do the opposite. I go for the blurb, without really caring for the cover. But this particular review is a case of the former.

This time, obviously, it was cover love at first sight.

Blackbirds was one of the most intense, most intriguing and, yeah, sort of the most disgustingly graphic book I've read in a while. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. It was exciting. It was surprising. It was crass and to-the-point and felt like a slap of reality to the face. It was glorious. And I couldn't put it down.

Sure, I enjoy my journeys to fantasy worlds, along with romantic escapades, almost-perfect heroes and even more perfect endings as much as the next girl... but once in a while, crude reality does it for me.

Miriam is damaged goods. She had a traumatic childhood and youth... and she can tell how and and when you'll die as soon as her skin brushes yours. She keeps a notebook with info of some of the people she's touched and have dies, and keeps notes on when others will die. Why? Because a girl needs to eat and dead people don't need their money anymore.

One night, after grabbing a few bucks from a woman beater who died from an epileptic attack after giving her a pretty shiner, she's out in the highway, looking for a ride. A ride to anywhere, as long as it's far away from where she is.

After a brief encounter with a couple of idiot frat boys (who really regretted messing with her, I must add), she jumps in Louis' truck. The interior of his truck is so clean and shiny, and he's so nice that Miriam quickly assumes that this Frankenstein, I mean, Louis is a rapist/murderer/ and/or psycho. Surprisingly enough, he isn't. However, what is even more surprising is what she sees when she touches him. He will die, like we all will. But not from old age or an accident or even suicide. No. He will be murdered. And he'll call her name right before he dies. 

Miriam freaks out and can't jump off his truck fats enough, not accepting his pity and offer of monetary help, but she does listen to him when he tells her there's a bar and motel just a few minutes ahead. Really could use a drink. Or ten. In the bar, she meets pretty boy Ashley, with his feminine name and big smile. But in no time she'll regret ever meeting him.

She knows that it's useless to try and change the future. She's tried before. Countless times. To no avail. And, once again, fate is laughing at her. The more she tries to run from Louis and try to avoid his death, the closer she gets to him. And the date of his death. Which will be her fault. Can she make it in time? Can she stop it? Can she, for once in her life, do something good and useful?

Oh, man. Miriam talks. A lot. Most of it nonsense and usually at the wrong time. And hell if I didn't love her for that. That girl just loved to hear herself talking. She was also a heavy smoker and constant liar. She ate like a lumberjack. And she drank like the world was going to end in the blink of an eye. But she had a hard life (and that's putting it mildly), and those actions fit her perfectly. She was a broken girl with no hope for life or her future, and I loved her. I just wanted her to find some kind of happiness somehow. There was so much wrongness within her, and still I cheered for her.

The entire book was roller coaster ride. That's the only way I can describe it. It kept me on edge the whole time. 'What's going to happen next?', 'Show me more of her past!', 'How is he/she going to die?', 'Will she make it?'. Just... wow. The only thing that still bugs me a bit is that it wasn't very clear how she got that ability. Maybe after that very traumatic episode with the red shovel? Not sure... but I still loved the characters and the story. Sad and bittersweet, as it was. We'll probably find out more about all that in the next book. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel, Mockingbird. :)

If you like intense books that ensnare you, leaving you unblinking and attentive until the ride is over, and then stick with you even after you're done with it, then run and grab yourself a copy of this crazy good tale.

* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*


  1. I love the cover too!! It's brilliant.
    And it sounds like an awesome book.
    episode with the red shovel??
    I'm intrigued

  2. That was such a great review! This is the first review of your that I have read, but won't be the last! I have wondered about this book, but man, I don't wonder anymore, you obviously thought it was the bomb! Your enthusiasm for it shows through ever word in your review! That is an excellent review!


  3. Definitely cover love. But after reading your review, also book love :) It sounds amazing, and it reminds me a little of Poppy Z. Brite's books (I've read Lost Souls and Drawing Blood). I think I need exactly the type of crass roughness and graphicness right now that this book promises. I want a story with a character who has nothing left and hitches rides with various people and hangs out in bars. Thanks so much for your review, I have a much clearer idea of what this book is about now :)

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I would love to read what you have to say. :)