Miriam Black knows when you will die.Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days he will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.
Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. No matter what she does, she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
©2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; 2012 Chuck Wendig
"Blackbirds is a story of loss and what it takes to make things right. It’s a story about fate and how sometimes, if we wrestle with it hard enough, maybe we can change it. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t let go even after you’ve put it down.” (Stephen Blackmoore)
I have been following Chuck Wendig for a few years now, and I have come to enjoy his writing style immensely. The story of Blackbirds is dark, following the story of a troubled young woman who can see when you die, and can't do anything to change it. The writing is fluid, the characters are interesting, and the plot is riveting.
My only critique is that the main character sounds much like Chuck, or at least sounds like the voice he presents during interviews and on his blog. This is not a bad thing, per say; but, it distracted me from remembering that the character was in fact a troubled woman, and not the middle aged self proclaimed pen monkey that entertains almost daily.
Blackbirds is the second Chuck Wendig book I have tried to read. The first was Blue Blazes but I abandoned it. Chuck Wendig, however, comes highly recommended from multiple sources I respect. Blackbirds is the story of a young woman who sees the way people die if she comes in skin to skin contact with them. She has tried to fight fate in the past to save people, but it has always knocked her down and put her in her place.The book is a paranormal thriller. What could you possibly not like…and what can you like?
Chuck is great at building a descriptive world. You can smell, see, hear, and unfortunately taste it. This world is one of dirty hotel rooms, dirtier dive bars, and hitchhiking a small town grimy America. You might not want to experience the taste that goes with that. The book hooks you and is action packed. You need to know what happens next.
That being said his characters are not lovable. They are psychopaths, sociopaths, con artists with attachment disorder, etc. I know a Miriam, she didn't see people’s deaths, but as I experienced Wendig’s crass scavenger that will do/did everything in her power to push people away, I cringed. I recognize I probably have some negative transference, but Miriam’s still hard to like. When I say she’s crass I don’t mean she uses some profanity, this isn't a common use of typical profanity. This is very creative thought out ignorant descriptions in an extremely ignorant and vulgar fashion. It, however, is purposeful and serves the storyline. But...this is not for children, or the faint of heart. It’s also rather violent.
Emily Beresford did not do a bad job, in fact, I think in many ways she may have captured Miriam's crass spirit a little to well. I had a literal negative physical reaction to the way she said some of Miriam's lines. Remember, Wendig created her this way. I did, however, end up getting this on whispersync and chose to read most of it.
I will again say it is a well written, good thriller. It has twists I didn't see and a luke warm uplifting ending. Maybe Wendig is saving that for a series finale but I just don’t quite think uplifting happy rainbows is his style. I haven’t decided if I’m reading the next book. I feel dirty. I think I will take a shower and decide later.
Miriam Black has the power (or curse) of knowing exactly when and how someone will die. The moment she touches someone, she sees a vision of their death and knows to the hour when it will happen. And she can't change it - she's tried. As with any story about time travel or precognition, the story comes around to the inevitable question of causality. Miriam knows, from past experience, that trying to interfere with someone's death just means she ends up playing a role in it. Then she meets someone whose death she really wants to prevent, and the question becomes, is fate actually immutable, and will she cheat it?
The most compelling aspect of Wendig's writing, and probably the most annoying, is Miriam's voice. She is a cynical, chain-smoking harlot with a deathwish and a mouth that can make a sailor blush. We get dribs and drabs of her background - an uptight, puritanical mother who naturally turned her daughter into the sinful, rebellious manifestation of everything she was trying to prevent, and the crushing burden of seeing people die over and over, peacefully in bed or violently squished between vehicles, young and old, whether she knows them or not, and finally, the death that she thinks earned her her "gift."
None of this really makes Miriam likable. She doesn't want to be likable. She revels in being unlikable. She's taken up a vagrant lifestyle, following people around when she knows they're going to die soon, and stealing their stuff, a psychic vulture. She runs into a nice guy named Louis, a truck driver, and a not so nice guy named Ashley, a con artist. Ashley figures out what Miriam can do, and Ashley also turns Miriam on. Unlike sweet, gentlemanly Louis.
At this point, all I could say was, "Run, Louis!" but obviously that's not the way the story is supposed to go.
Miriam is brought to the attention of a creepy bald drug dealer and a murderous pair of assistants, thanks to Ashley, and so Louis is dragged into the situation, and so Miriam has to figure a way out of the visions she's already seen.
Props to Chuck Wending for an ending that did not feel like a cheat, and for a witty, funny, profane voice. But Miriam's awfully hard to like, and while I'm somewhat interested in where her story will go next, I can only take her in small doses.
Mobile and Web developer, Audible member since 2004. Trend towards mystery-thrillers just for fun, but read most everything of substance (i.e. no romances here).
Beyond the stunning beautiful cover art...the story started out great, but has a major flaw in the main character. Without giving too much away, would Miriam REALLY stay with such an absolute jerk? Even when threatened with what he did? I doubt it. If Miriam is really this femme-fatale-road-weary-general-badass, I seriously doubt she'd let anybody push her around. It felt like a cop-out on behalf of the author...like he couldn't figure out a more plausible motivation. Beyond that, I found Wendig's writing style enjoyable and the narrator was wonderful.
who am I?
Rough, raw, gritty language and violence. Very funny in places. Excellent writing and plot. Highly recommended. I'll be listening to other books on the series soon. Narrator did a nice job. I wish she was better at "voices," but I'll gladly listen to her again.
I liked the story but the cursing was excessive, but creative, even for the type of character being presented. The book comments "...she curses like a sailor. " I never met a sailor or soldier that cursed that much.
This is one of those weird cases where I'm not sure if I really ENJOYED this book, but I couldn't put it down. Miriam Black has a really crude attitude and vocabulary that didn't really resonate with me. I wouldn't consider her badass so much as a bad-mouther -- she has enough self defense to keep herself safe(ish) in her transient lifestyle, but she talks rougher and cruder than her skills can really support. But regardless of my relative apathy towards her and most of the characters, the book moved quickly and was action packed, simply pulling me along in it's wake. This book culminated with a feeling of setting a stage for much more expansion in the next installment, similar to the end of a TV pilot, and I would be interested to see if the series improves for me.
I am an avid reader and listener of horror and thrillers with the occasional SciFi and crime noir. I review on Amazon, GR, NG & Audible.
I truly wanted to like this one more than I did. Definitely entertaining and written very well, but a wee generic for me. Nothing too original here story wise, however the main character Miram Black was drawn extremely well and pretty much carries the whole thing on her shoulders. I suppose that was how it was meant to be and I can see how this one would be set up for the next two in the series. Good, but not great. What really made it move along for me was the narration by Emily Beresford which was very good.
This series gets good reviews from many, so I gave it a shot. I'll give the author credit for being a good story teller, but it was too raw and grotesque for my taste.
"Hated it at first but then was gripped"
I really didn't enjoy this at the beginning and rolled my eyes with the cliched main character and her excessive 'potty-mouth', which usually doesn't offend me in the least. But when I stuck with it with the early intention of writing a scathing review (bad, I know), I got drawn into what is actually a very good story and ended up unable to put it down - I give it five stars for this reason, because there have been few books I have listened to recently that have achieved this level of interest.
So my advice is stick with it, even if you don't like it at the beginning - it is worth it and you do actually discover that the main character is more complex than her initial impression suggests, and her predicament makes for an interesting, well-told and well-narrated story.
If you don't like profanity, then please don't pick this book up - it is chock-full of offensive language. *Cert 15*.
"Well done Chuck!"
Miriam Black is possessed of a unique talent: when she touches someone she sees exactly how and when they will die. What a hook for a story - I wish I'd thought of it - and what a great character Wendig has created to run with it. Blackbirds is a road trip through the sleazy underbelly of American Noir. A thoroughly enjoyable romp of a book. I look forward to the next in the series with great anticipation
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