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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, May 2013 - Christmasland is a place where every day is Christmas morning and every night is Christmas Eve. This might not sound like fertile ground for a horror novel, but rest assured; just as there's nothing funny about Pennywise the Dancing Clown in Stephen King's It, there's nothing merry about Christmasland in NOS4A2. Joe Hill tells the story of decrepit child thief Charlie Manx, who travels the country in his Rolls Royce Wraith taking mistreated kids to Christmasland, where they live happily forever playing games like "bite-the-smallest" and "scissors-for-the-drifter". The only girl who managed to escape his clutches and put Manx in prison for life finds that even Manx's death can't keep him from his quest to make sure every mistreated child is taken to Christmasland. As eerie as a Bing Crosby album played at half speed, NOS4A2 is a thoroughly creepy and compulsively readable supernatural thriller. Kate Mulgrew shines as narrator, turning in a spot-on performance as Victoria McQueen, a tough-as-nails if emotionally frail heroine. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Female, 2014

Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times best sellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, plunges you into the dark side of imagination with a thrilling novel of supernatural suspense that will have you flinching at shadows and checking the rearview mirror again and again....

NOS4A2

Don't slow down

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.

Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.

And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble...and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.

That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.

But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special - something Vic can never replace.

As a life-and-death battle of wills builds her magic pitted against his - Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all...or die trying....

Joe Hill's acclaimed works of fiction, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts, have already earned him international acclaim. With NOS4A2, this outstanding novelist - "one of America's finest horror writers" (Time magazine); "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post) - crafts his finest work yet. Disturbing, mesmerizing, and full of twisting thrills, Hill's phantasmagoric, devilishly playful masterpiece is a terrifying high-octane ride.

©2013 Joe Hill (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Quite simply the best horror writer of our generation, Joe Hill’s masterful storytelling is on full display in NOS4A2. It is by turns terrifying and hilarious, horrifying and full of heart, and relentlessly compelling." (Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet)
"Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again." (Library Journal, starred review)
"[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended." (The Sun Herald Sydney, Australia)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Good book. Insane narration.

I enjoyed this one a lot. I chose to listen to it rather than read it because I figured it would be a nice long book for my daily commute, and I didn't want to fork out the wad of cash for the hardcover. It was read by none other than "Captain Janeway" and her narration was a unique and somewhat tiring experience. You know how normally at the beginning of an audio book it says "read for you by so-and-so?" Well, this one said "Performed by Kate Mulgrew" and holy hell it was a performance all right.

She turned every single character into a buffoonish cartoon caricature. It was like Gollum meets Spongebob. She can do voices, I'll give her that. But her delivery is something else. I don't even know how to describe it, other than to say that I will never buy another audio book with her narrating. To me, a good reader is transparent; you focus on the story, not who is reading it to you. In this case, I found myself constantly yanked out of the story by some over-the-top "acting" or whatever you want to call it.

The story though...the story itself overcame the problems I had with Kate, and really sucked me in. It's been a while since I spent every spare second I had with earbuds glued to my ears because I couldn't stop listening. The characters were great, (except that one character had a stutter and Kate really liked to lay into that) the pacing was good, and I will never listen to Christmas songs in quite the same way again. I'm very glad Stephen King's son didn't decide to become an accountant or something.

11 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • YUKON, OK, United States
  • 01-02-14

A gripping tale, but terrible narration.

Joe Hill might be edging his dad out in the creepy story genre.

This story was weird, crazy, eerie, and disturbing. I loved the concept of In-scapes and the characters Hill introduces here. If you like Stephen King, this is right up your alley. The little crossovers between the Hill and King universes are fun for veterans and newcomers alike.

In regards to narration, I'm not sure why Joe Hill enjoys Kate Mulgrew so much. Her performance was dumpy, homespun, and grating. I fought through Part One; I struggled to concentrate on the story while actively ignoring how dopey the "voices" sound. Vic and Charlie Manx aren't really bad, but Lou, Wayne, Vic's parents, Maggie, the numerous extras, etc. all sound like awful Fargo imitators. Her "Bing" voice, in particular, felt like she was trying to imitate Patrick from Spongebob while simultaneously doing her best Lenny voice from Of Mice and Men. Based on this book, I'd never listen to another Kate Mulgrew performance if I could help it.

If can you bear Mulgrew's performance, the payoff is a great story and a fascinating universe I'm eager to see more of.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I was expecting so much better

What would have made NOS4A2 better?

Definitely less cruelty.

What was most disappointing about Joe Hill’s story?

This was my first purchase of a Joe Hill novel.......probably my last. I love frightening...I love mystery....I love scare my socks off. I do not love having my stomach churn and having to turn off my player for it to settle down. Describing cruelty for entertainment purposes is not my cup of tea. If you enjoy this sort of thing, that's your choice and this would be a good one for you. I, however, will not be listening to the second and third segments. The first third was enough for me. Also, the narration left a lot to be desired. Too many of his voices sounded alike. They all sounded like they had a severe mental problem.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • Wilmington, DE, United States
  • 08-30-13

A waring to natives of Massachusetts

I love both Joe Hill and Kate Mulgrew so this book seemed like it would be prefect, right? And it was close to perfect but I couldn’t get over the way Kate Mulgrew said the town name Haverhill (It is Hav’-ril not Have-er-hill)I don’t normally review the audio-books I listen to but it actuly bothered me enough that every time she said it I was pulled out of the story. I figured that people who may be local to MA should know before hand.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Awesome book!

Joe Hill has quickly become one of my favorite authors. This is only my 3rd book of his so far that I've listened to and all were amazing. He couldn't have picked a better narrator. Kate Mulgrew does an excellent job with all the voices, characters, and emotions! NOS4A2 is obviously Nosferatu, but don't expect a typical vampire story. This is so much more!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Eric
  • Maui, Hawaii, United States
  • 01-27-16

The Three Books of NOS4A2

When I first started listening to NOS4A2 I thought it was going to be an alternative universe kinda book like 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Then it turned into a Stephen King kinda plot, but by comparison Stephen King has incredible dialogue and character development and Joe Hill has stupid trite dialogue and characters that I didn't care about. Then finally, I thought it was like Lord of the Rings because it would never end. It just kept yapping past every likely ending.
Kate Mulgrew is good. She really gets into it, in a caffeine-like craze.
Overall, I don't think this audiobook was worth my time.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not a fan of all the foul language & situations

I had hoped, with Kate Mulgrew as the Reader, that this would be a good book, a thriller or something. Yeah, so far.. not so much. It's a little confusing to have an actress of her caliber reading such lines. But, its a paycheck I suppose. Guess I should read more reviews before leaping simply because of who Reads the book. Hmmm. Lesson Learned. Geez, I wish there were ratings on books as well.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Too long and redundant

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Story would have been better if shorter and moved faster

Would you be willing to try another book from Joe Hill? Why or why not?

Not sure yet.

Would you be willing to try another one of Kate Mulgrew’s performances?

Perhaps.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The characters were good.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great listen

Loved the book. At first I was thinking "great, but not for me"... Then the story picked up and WOW!!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • McCoffee
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 06-24-15

Finally finished listening after monumental effort

First, this is not scary. Nor is it exciting. It gets mildly interesting at times. Any so-called horror comes from weirdness or grue, not from the building of suspense. The evil characters Bing and Manx get far too much page-time. They are repetitive. I love Kate Mulgrew's voice--her narrator voice, but not the voice she assigns to characters: the evil folk are over-the-top and cartoony. I really worked hard to finish this book, and that's not a good sign in the horror/suspense genre.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful