Blackbirds (Miriam Black #1)
by Chuck Wendig
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.
What have I to say about Miriam? I LOVE HER!! She is a A STOMP ASS, FOUL MOUTHED, ALCOHOL DRINKING, CIGARETTE SMOKING, FIRECRACKER OF A CHICK WITH DEATH DOGGING HER EVERY STEP!!! Haha, now not that those are especially iconic characteristics to have as a person. But hey, sometimes the good guys aren’t always “good” right?
I don’t feel the blurb on Blackbirds is completely accurate after having read the book. Though it and the cover definitely were what drew me into reading it. Let me just say instead: Yes, she can see how someone is going to die simply by having skin on skin contact with you. A touch of the fingertip, graze of a bare shoulder, bump of a bit of uglies *cackles madly* and there she has it – in what is likely 2 seconds or less she will have witnessed in her mind’s eye all the gritty details of your death. Down to the minute of your demise!
How was the blurb misleading? It stated that she would be the next victim to die – and she couldn’t very well know that because her own death is the one death that Miriam cannot see. Obviously, she is a troubled young woman. 8 years ago she gained the ability to see how others were going to meet their end. At first she thought she could try to prevent these deaths from happening, but repeated attempts have left her jaded and to put it frankly quite a bit mentally unhinged.
Nowadays, she is a vagabond roamer – traveling around the country, strategically placing herself at these scenes of death she has previously witnessed in her visions. Why would she do this? Because she robs the bodies of the newly deceased of course! Just so she can keep moving forward, keep food and alcohol in her belly, and cigarettes on her lips to get through another day. All the while continuing to fill the pages in what is essentially her diary of death.
All of this sounds very morbid and depressing doesn’t it? BUT WAIT! That couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there are some gruesome parts in Blackbirds, but boy oh boy, was I laughing my ass off at some parts. Miriam is a queen of snark. It’s like she has some cutting thing to say back to everyone and often these things will just make you guffaw out loud. She’s a roadside trash type of girl, but you can also see the faded painted picture of a wonderful person underneath all of the scum she’s piled on top of herself.
Wendig has an amazing way with making each character really come alive. Each had their own distinctive voice in my mind and I felt connected to each one of them! Usually, I find secondary character building to be lacking in the books I’ve read lately but these characters were all so well built up. Even one guy that didn’t seem to get as much ‘background info time,’ I felt was well done because you’re really supposed to feel like he’s a lame sidekick and just by his personality alone and the things he says and the way he’s treated that is exactly how I walked away feeling about him.
The only questionable thing about Blackbirds to me was how she ended up getting this power. She does go into explaining it somewhat but then I feel like the explanation kind of jumps the train a little and you are supposed to pick up the rest from her so many visions/nightmares/flashbacks. Mostly these happen when she’s asleep – and during her dreams you can’t tell if that’s something that really did happen to her in the past or if it’s her mind warping it into something else. Now in the visions she sees of someone’s death, those are clear and crisp without any confusion as to how they are going to die. Because of this I know I’ll likely do a reread before the next book comes out. It’s probably my own fault for not catching it since I was eating every word on the page so fast.
This is a must read for fans of paranormal books on the much darker and grittier side of things. I was hooked a few short pages in and could barely put Blackbirds down until I was finished. Talk about sending my eyes into eye-bleed mode. Miriam is a strong, but “dirty” character, so keep an open mind going in. If you are OK with a lot of cussing, very graphic death scenes, and a wee bit of sex, oh yes and blood, let’s not forget all the blood, then you will definitely love this book. For me that is an awesome mix, because I love serial killer, horror, thriller, grip me by the seat of my pants sort of stuff because I’d rather read it than watch it. But I know that this definitely won’t be for everyone. If you’re a reader that say - likes mostly Young Adult fiction and for it to be kept on the cleaner side, then Blackbirds might not be your cup of tea. I say give it a try anyway because you never know you might just find you’ll love it.
Tabitha the Pabkins
*Review Copy provided by Publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Oh and by browsing Chuck’s website I found THIS book and I definitely plan on reading it – the cover wouldn’t have been something to catch my attention but now that I know I like this author I’m all for it. And hey its zombies and vampires plus this author’s snarky writing style – I suspect I’m bound to enjoy it!