Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

“Power and wisdom are born of trauma.” Mockingbird is the story of a young woman who is gifted, if one could say so, with a weird kind of power, a power that feels to her more of a curse than a blessing.

This is the story of Miriam Black, who’s a psychic. When she touches somebody she can see how and when he or she is going to die. For quite some time now she’s been living in a trailer park with her best friend and occasional lover, one-eyed Louis.

Miriam is a very unhappy woman. She tries hard to adapt in a life that really doesn’t suit her. Being normal is not something she can make happen, not when she can sense things the way she does. “She wants to go home. If only she knew what that really meant.”

Louis is trying to bring some balance in her life, make her realize that if she tries hard enough she can become happy, or at least, kind-of-happy, but she knows all too well that that’s not true and she snaps at him: “You want me to be someone I’m not.”

She’s sick of her everyday life, so she decides to leave and “commit to her lack of commitment.” She’s not afraid of the life on the road, she’s tough, she can handle any situation; she cannot listen to Louis and his down-to-earth logic and get stack in that place anymore.

The road though is long and the first car that stops to pick her up belongs to no one else but Louis himself. They travel together for awhile, they fight, she gets off the car and then they meet again. And it’s exactly then that she’s convinced to follow him to a boarding school to meet a teacher, who feels certain that she’s going to die soon. The woman is willing to pay Miriam just to tell her if she’s right.

However, when she gets there, things start to get really complicated, because she has a very bad feeling about the place. She may be “a poison pill,” as she calls herself, but she doesn’t like to see people die, especially young people. She’s quite certain that there’s at least a murderer loose on the premises and she’s determined to find out who that is and save the victims’ lives.

Of course that will not prove such an easy thing to do. She’ll find obstacles rising in her way time and again, she’ll have to fight her inner demons and the evil of men, and she’ll even have to confront her own past in order to make sense of the things that bother her.

Hers will be a long and dangerous journey, but as she’s, at some point, going to find out she’s not alone in this. The teacher, whose worst fears, or rather hopes she confirmed, will be there to give her a hand and so will be Louis – always her friend, until the very end.

“The only way to divert death is to give it a life,” we read. And Miriam is determined to do just that; to sacrifice the guilty in order to save the innocents. But, will she make it? And if she does, will that help her find some sort of peace within herself?

A great novel that combines the genres of urban fantasy and crime fiction and which gives the reader quite a few thrills with its twists and turns, as well as some rare moments of pure poetry and magic. Highly recommended.

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