Title: Blackbirds (Miriam Black book 1)
Author: Chuck Wendig
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult, Fantasy.
Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Angry Robot
My rating: 4/5
*The publisher provided me with this book for review, via Netgalley.*
Blurb: 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.
Blackbirds has a fair amount of hype circulating around it. There is a lot of expectation here. The cover alone promises the reader multiple things and for the most part Blackbirds delivers. I was intrigued by this book long before I requested it for review but I was scared that it would just not do it for me but in the end I really, really liked it.
The best thing about this book for me is that it dares to be different. This book takes the Urban Fantasy genre and turns it on its head. If you took every urban fantasy book you have ever read mix it with some Sin City and add a splash of Tarantino, Blackbirds is what you would create. It is smart and engaging yet manages to be philosophical at the same time. Behind all the violence and swearing Blackbirds actually asks some pretty big questions about death and fate, about good and evil.
The characters in this are full of life (which is funny considering this book is essentially about death) and at the centre of it all you have Miriam. Miriam is a fighter, a survivor. I think as a reader you don’t exactly like Miriam. She is the type of person you wouldn’t associate with, a person you would look down your nose at. She is white trash, an alcoholic and a criminal. She is unlikable. But it doesn’t matter because in some way you admire her. She is strong and sassy. She can hold her own and there is something to appreciate in that. Yet, behind all the sarcasm, and nonchalant attitude you can see a glimpse of who she really is underneath all the layers of hurt and grief and you know that inside she is not a bad person.
Then there is Louis. He looks like a criminal he is a scarred hulk of a man. But really he is soft, caring and kind and he just might be the one to show Miriam that life doesn’t have to be as dark and dreary as she makes it. He is instantly likable, he is someone you can root for and to be honest I wish there was a little more of him in this book.
The other characters are great but are mostly dislikeable (apart from Frankie who, despite everything, turns out to be impossible to dislike) they are villains of the most disturbing kind.
I have heard a lot of fuss about how this book would have been better if it was written by a woman. I could not disagree more strongly. Some have said ‘don’t read this book unless you are a guy’ well, I am a girl and I really liked it. I have heard that this book is just to ‘man.’ Well, so what? There is nothing wrong with a male voice in fiction, and just because the story is about a girl it doesn’t mean that it has to be less gory or about love.
But I should warn you that this book is not for the faint hearted. It is grim and grimy (something I imagine you will hear a lot in reference to this book). It is violent and gory. There is sex (not the swoon worthy, erotic kind) and swearing. There is also a decent amount of characters (mostly male) that you want to drop kick. Be warned if that is not something you can handle then this book, unfortunately, is not for you.
But if you can handle that and you feel like you like could use a little darkness in your life then I strongly recommend this book.
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