I found NOS4A2 to be absorbing and disturbing, all at the same time. Joe Hill's descriptive writing style painted the story easily in my mind's eye while building up the anticipation on what will happen next all the way up to it's final climax then it left me thinking of the "What ifs."
NOS4A2 spans through many years, from the time Vic McQueen is a child discovering her own, very real roads through her imagination while interchangingly delving into Charles Manx' twisted and horrific version of Christmas along with other supporting characters that make this story even more creepy and sometimes sad. During these years, many disturbing acts occur that lends an air of impossibility of triumph for Vic while other acts are heartwarming and sad. With the wide mix of scenery within NOS4A2, I experienced many reactions while reading NOS4A2 from horrified to sad to mirth and sometimes wistful.
I thought the characters were easy to relate to, Vic McQueen, or easily disliked and fear, Charles Manx, because they were created with such real to life attributes especially Vic. Because of the real to life characteristics of the characters, the story seemed more realistic which makes the horror aspect stand out terrifically within this book.
I'd recommend NOS4A2 to anyone who loves a good, well told horror story. You can't miss with NOS4A2 nor will you be sorry about the time spent reading this novel.
Kate Mulgrew's performance for the most part was right on the money. Kate can read the male, female and children parts very well and with various ranges of emotion, except there were several places when she was reading Vic, her voice came across as too gruff and harsh, almost like a heavy smoker's voice which I feel didn't fit Vic and this would throw me out of the scene, bringing to mind something out of place.
Let me ask the producers a question; why this reader?
I believe such a fate awaits me in hell, so I'm going all in for Jesus... In a word, no.
Kate Mulgrew makes every character sound like a 60 year old, washed up, drunk lounge singer. Something of the drunk Mrs. Krabappel.
The best!..... by a country mile!
She absolutely nailed it! I immediately did a search to see what other books featured her extensive talent for voices. Her inflections and intonations has made her my favorite narrator.
I have listened to over 2 dozen books over the past year .... lots of King, Koontz, McCammon, Simmons and Due.... so Mr. Hill is in very good company... I have never written a review.. for anything!... however, I felt compelled to do so 4 NOS4A2! If you like any of the aforementioned authors you should purchase this audio book now!... no really... put whatever you're listening to now on hold and start this book! Kate Mulgrew "sleighed" the narration.
I LIKED THIS BOOK. IT WAS SCARY, SUSPENSEFUL, WEIRD, CRAZY, AND MACABRE. I PRIMARILY LOVE HORROR AND THRILLER SO THIS WAS RIGHT UP MY ALLY. I WILL SAY I DO NOT LIKE ALL JOE HILL BOOKS BUT HE SCORED HIGH ON MY LIST WITH HIS SPOOKY "VAMPIRE" VILLAIN AND HIS SIDE-KICK. FEMALE LEAD WAS AWESOME AND COULD RELATE A LOT WITH HER. HE DOES WRITE LIKE HIS DAY, VERY IN DEPTH CHARACTERS AND STORY LINE.
Love thought provoking and well written mystery or suspense novels.
I bought this book even without knowing it was Stephen King's son who was the author. I wish I could say he was even half as good as his dad but I cannot. I thought this book was all over the place. Some things were just too outrageous and not believable. Had trouble following some areas and had to reread (relisten) to be sure I even had it right. I think he might be better suited to straight crime mystery without the "weirdness". Its just too "out there". Wish I could have gotten my money back on this one.
A shorter version...it was to long in the middle, I personally did not like the profanity, dysfunctional families, pedophile suggestions, and the rape by Bing was gross. I struggled to get through this audible book...several times I was going to fast forward just to be done because, the story dragged on and on.
No. I am a fan of S.King have listened or read all of his books. I like this genre just couldn't wrap my head around where J. Hill was going with this story. In some parts holes were left in the story and in other parts holes were filled in to the point that it was overflowing and unnecessary.
Tone and diction were fine...but for me the male and female character voices were blurred Vic sounded masculine and Lou and Max were high pitched.
The redeeming qualities were seeing the results of bad parenting and dysfunctional families can lead to another generation of bad parenting and dysfunctional family.
Vic was clearly the hero, it was good to listen to her redeem herself at the end after years of a tortured life with drugs, sex, and demons. She admits to her part of over-reacting to her parents behavior towards her and that she wasn't a good mother when she abandoned her son (Bruce Wayne). This was my first Joe Hill book...I may try again.
I was going to give the over all story 1 star but after listening to the author at the end explain his rationale for writing the story I moved up to 2 stars. The preview I listen to sounded okay. Reading the comments...most were positive and only a few were negative so I made my purchase because the positive comments out-weighted the negative comments. However in this case the negative comments were on target with my thoughts on this audible book.
Joe Hill himself calls NOS4A2 his "senior thesis on horror fiction", and notes that in some ways that makes it a senior thesis on Stephen King. This is a very accurate description of Hill's latest novel, as he expertly applies the formula his father made famous and crafts a truly chilling story. While I don't think NOS4A2 is as good as King's best work, it's certainly a respectful addition to the genre, and well worth your time if scary books are your thing.
The first ingredient of every Stephen King-esque horror story is a flawed protagonist. Someone the reader can identify with as they start out normal but eventually delve deeper and deeper into the supernatural. As things build and build, our main character will need to overcome their own weaknesses to survive.
In NOS4A2 we follow Vic "Brat" McQueen, an average girl with the not-so-average ability to find things. How does she find things? She rides her bike through an abandoned covered bridge and across space in time, to the exact place she needs to be to find what she's looking for. I'm sure you can guess what happens next: eventually Vic goes looking for the wrong thing, and ends up in big trouble. This is where the story truly takes off.
Charles Manx is the main boogeyman lurking within the pages of NOS4A2. Manx is 150 years old, drives a strange 1930s Rolls Royce, and kidnaps innocent children away to a terrible realm known as Christmasland where the kids deteriorate over time, becoming twisted and evil pictures of lost innocence. At times Manx is a perfectly crafted, terrifying mixture of Hannibal Lecter and Pennywise the evil clown - but at times he wanders a bit too close to some sort of Christmas-themed Batman villain. Does a bad guy using gingerbread-scented smoke as a weapon sound goofy or scary to you? It can obviously go either way, and Hill is an excellent writer who manages to keep it on the creepy side throughout most of this novel. Every once in a while he drifts a bit, but for the most part he stays on the rails.
My main criticism of NOS4A2 is that it's just too long, and for what it's worth I've had a similar opinion of most of Stephen King's latest work (11-22-64, Duma Key, Under the Dome). Personally I'm hoping that Joe Hill's next book breaks away from dear old dad in this department and tightens things up considerably. I think that a tight, concentrated version of NOS4A2 at half the length could have been a 5 star book. It's especially disappointing that despite all of this length, we don't learn much of Manx's backstory. His methods are creative, but his motivation is lacking. He's just kind of generic evil. A writer as talented as Joe Hill should be able to give us more.
Kate Mulgrew does a fantastic job with the narration. Her Manx voice is especially creepy, and the performance is just excellent overall. My only criticism is that she pronounced Haverill as Hay-ver-hill which just sounds weird to this Massachusetts native. Everyone knows it's Hay-vrill! A very minor criticism of her otherwise awesome performance!
My taste vary. I love a good, blood stained horror, but also a well written kids story. Lots of Sci-Fi, but also Hist. Fiction. No boring!!!
I usually don't rush out to buy the newest hot book to come out. I let those I am following read first before I chance my money. Having loved Heart Shaped Box and Horns, I knew I did not need to wait on someone else to tell me this would be good. In my humble opinion this is the best Joe Hill has written yet.
I am sure JH gets tired of being compared to his dad, but having recently read "IT" by Stephen King I can not resist. I mentioned in that review that even though King throws a lot weird stuff and mean monsters at you, it's all just cover, to introduce you to some great flawed characters that you fall in love with. Hill has lots of weird things and mean scary monsters, but he mostly builds characters. You are scared, not because of the monsters, but because you don't want anything bad to happen to the people you have fallen in love with. All though I am not sure that I like the fact that in the book "It" you learn to hate clowns and then Hill ruins Christmas in this novel.
The bad guy is described as a bald Keith Richards with big blue veins covering his bald head. You learn in this book that: The blood of a red headed woman is three degrees colder then a normal woman. A cop does not want to pin a murder on the Gingerbread Man, cause word on the street is "You can't catch the gingerbread man".
Warning: The main difference between Hill and King, is that Hill uses very foul language, a lot worse then his dad would think of and if you read Heart-Shaped Box then you know that Hill is fixated on Blow J@@s. I hate to sound chauvinistic, but the stuff that comes out of the mouths of the women in this book made me cringe. I grew up around foul language and have worked around over the road truck drivers most of my life. If you were alright with Heart-Shaped box then you will be okay with this. Like I said I loved both books.
I hate nepotism, so I am in the position to dislike this author, but the talent of Joe Hill can not be denied. I have all his books in First Edition and plan on collecting everything he writes.
Now if you are not tired of me gushing like a little girl, let me remark on the narrator. I am in total awe of Kate Mulgrew. If you have read the hardback, you still want to get this audio. Nobody could have done a better job. She even does male voices better then some males. I am hoping like Muller and King were, so will be the team of Hill and Mulgrew. I don't know what they paid her but it was not enough.
Joe Hill has quite possibly destroyed my love of Christmas carols with this tale. there are at least tainted and I am glad I read this book in July. The idea that we all live in two worlds, our everyday world and the one inside our head resonates strongly and truly makes the supernatural events in NOS4A2 seem plausible. The characters are well created, so "everyday" human, that we are drawn in. The lead character seems to have special powers and yet we come to understand it isn't special but the power of creativity. The outcome could br good or evil as either can result from tampering with the human condition.
Kate Mulgrew gave a delightful reading!
I highly recommend this. audiobook.
I'm late to the game with Joe Hill, but I found myself devouring his work with the same appetite as I did his father's book when I discovered him. I like how he ties his world together with inscapes.
NOS4A2 is exciting, and the characters are easy to become invested in. I simply found the story enthralling. A large part of the pull was Kate Mulgrew's reading. I just loved everything about it. She made the characters and the story come alive. I have a whole new respect for her as a performer!