Wendig does it again! You know, it says a great deal about how well his stock is doing at pagesofjulia when I pick up his new book immediately upon its release – this, in a world where my TBR shelves are three and the stacks on the desk are… many. He’s right up there with Tana French.
We left off with Blackbirds, you will recall. Miriam Black, that foulmouthed psychic badass bad girl, had decided to try to settle down with Louis and ignore her (dubious) “gift.” We meet here again here in Mockingbird, and the informed reader will not be surprised to learn that things don’t go so smoothly for her as she’d hoped. In the opening scene, she foresees a bloody death in the immediate future and intervenes… and her life with Louis, rocky at best, comes apart. The lesson Miriam learned in the last book was how to interfere with fate for the cause of Good. Which raises a question: can murder ever be righteous, virtuous, redeemed? The question this book raises is, does the same answer apply when the roles are switched around?
I don’t want to say anything more about plot here (and hopefully I’ve been vague enough), but I will say that this continues in the gritty, grainy badass vein established by Blackbirds. Miriam is her old self, and I love her for it. Louis is rather his old self too, and he was pretty charming. A new and likeable character is born in a certain schoolteacher undaunted by mortality; and we meet a … there’s a villain. And the villain is interesting, too. And there are little girls.
The strengths of Blackbirds are all present: pacing, characterization, and loads and loads of atmosphere. I am crazy for Miriam’s brand of crazy. She undergoes a change here, something that feels alarmingly like altruism; she almost seems to be capable of forming bonds. And like Blackbirds, it ends with a twist. I’m afraid I can’t say much more about the book without feeling like I’m giving something away… the plot really needs to be revealed in your reading. What I can say is about style. Wendig is almost Hemingwayesque (what? roll with it), but even punchier, and harsher. Come to think of it, maybe I could say the same about Miriam.
Forgive my brief review; but please be impressed by the fact that I will, again, pick up the next book as soon as it’s released. Apparently that will be Cormorant. Get with it, Wendig.