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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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*.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Not for those with a weak stomach! Very graphic. A good story overall though, based on an interesting idea about what life might really be like if you could see the death of others through a simple touch. A little confusing in parts and some scenes didn't make sense. I may listen to the next book but not for a while.