Book Review – The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

The blurb expounds:

Miriam is on the road again, having transitioned from “thief” to “killer”.

Hired by a wealthy businessman, she heads down to Florida to practice the one thing she’s good at, but in her vision she sees him die by another’s hand and on the wall written in blood is a message just for Miriam. She’s expected…

There’s definitely a formula to this series, but so far the author has kept things unpredictable and fresh.  The best part of these books is the foul mouthed, sarcastic, pessimistic narration by the protagonist.

With this book the author seems to have tried to up the ante with the bad guy – we know who it is a lot sooner, and he’s a lot more powerful.  Unfortunately the way this is resolved is a bit deus ex machina, and some plotlines are left hanging uncomfortably.

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Book Review – Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

The blurb promises:

Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.

It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.

Like the first book in the series, I liked this book very much.  The snarky, wise cracking narration of the protagonist has so far carried both books.  They’re so much fun to read that the dark subject of the books doesn’t feel oppressive.

I read this book more quickly than I expected, same as the first one, so either I just really like them or there is an unusually large amount of dialog in these books which inflates the page count.

I assumed this would be a trilogy (because nowadays everything’s a trilogy) but having read two of the three books currently released, there doesn’t really seem to be a three book arc.  In fact, seeing the similarities in construction between the first and second book, I can see this being a recurring series that just goes on as long as the author wants to write them.  We are finding out larger truths, but slowly enough that the author could easily drag it out for ten books.

The first book had some editing errors, but nothing too egregious.  This book on the other hand had at least two sentences that were repeated (one verbatim and another seemed to have another version of the same sentence stuck to it, like editorial chewing gum on the bottom of its shoe).  It also had some big problems with quotation marks being mismatched or appearing in places where they shouldn’t.  I don’t know if it’s just a problem with the Kindle version of the book, but for a AAA title it’s pretty appalling.

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Book Review – Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

The blurb predicts:

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 Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.

Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But 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.

I really liked this book – it has a lot of style and the way it’s written draws you in.

Sure, almost all of the characters are terrible people and terrible things happen to most of them, but the main character’s black humor keeps it from getting depressing.

The fluidity and grittiness of the writing reminds me of Elmore Leonard.

It has a proper story arc and I plan on reading the next book in the series right now.

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Book Review – The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The blurb promises:

Gavin Guile is dying. 

He’d thought he had five years left–now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies. Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.

The first book in the series was OK, but I didn’t like that it had a huge coincidence as a major plot point and the magic system and world building seemed a bit second-string.

Fortunately the second book is better in every way – there were no unbelievable coincidences and the rest of the writing had gained depth.

My only complaint is that some plotlines that had been building up for almost two books were wrapped up rather abruptly, almost off-camera.  I assume there’s enough plot left for the third book, but the way the plotlines were dispensed with didn’t feel dramatic enough.

Overall it was a good book and I’m happier about continuing the series than I was after finishing the first book.

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