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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
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Blackbirds (edition 2012)

by Chuck Wendig

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4675622,172 (3.75)47
Member:lilywren
Title:Blackbirds
Authors:Chuck Wendig
Info:Angry Robot (2012), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:crime, thriller, dark, horror, fiction

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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

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3.5 / 5 ( )
  Amanda105 | Sep 5, 2016 |
How to create an urban fantasy heroine as unlikeable and trashy as you can, see Blackbirds. The unlikeable part is completely personal. Some will love her. I couldn't. She calls herself garbage twice. That is two times too many.

Miriam Black has a misfortune to see how people are going to die when she touches them. As she herself says, she is a vulture. She waits it out and takes their money and moves on. The ability is not explained though. I am assuming it will be in other books in the series.
She talks a lot, swears a lot. Nothing surprising considering what you find out about her in the course of the story. The swearing is opposite what she was taught, so she does it a lot. She moves from place to place mostly hitch-hiking and that is how she meets Louis, the only character in the book that I don't want to kill. She sees his death but this time it is different - he says her name before he dies. The blurb is a bit too revealing since you find out that happens because he met her later in the book. The other part of the blurb is misleading. It gives an impression of Miriam trying to save him throughout the book. The only thing she, along with all other characters except Louis, was trying is my patience.

The story is written in present tense which, even if I don't like it that much, helps to move this story really fast. What slows it down though is all the actions of horrible people. You move with the characters from place to place and not a single person stands out as someone you would at least tolerate, let alone like.

The best part of this book are descriptions. I don't remember if I have ever read a book full of one-sentence descriptions that are so sufficient and funny. This book needed funny. 'Harriet Adams is whiter than an untanned ass, bleached like ocean-soaked bone.' * 'Sky's just a Vaseline smear of formless clouds - a bright, greasy layer of grey.' * 'If he were a bagel, he'd be plain.' * 'She tells the bartender, who looks like a pile of uncooked Pillsbury dough stuffed into a dirty black T-shirt, that she needs a drink.' The book is full of these and they brighten the story if only for one moment.

After reading it, you'll realize that there is no strong story. It is all somewhere under Miriam's obnoxious attitude and other people's terrible actions. The main villain wouldn't be out of place in a Monty Python show. This is one of those books very hard to rate. ( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
I finished this book within 24 hours of starting it. I absolutely loved it. ( )
  BuffyBarber | Jun 5, 2016 |
GAH!

I have not loved a book like this in a very long time. I could not put it down, and it takes a lot to hold my attention.

Urban/supernatural fantasy is probably my favourite genre, and with Blackbirds you get the best parts of that genre all wrapped up into one book. It was gritty, sassy, gruesome and all kinds of fun.

I loved Miriam from the first sentence. She’s pessimistic and full of…angst? I don’t know if that’s the exact word I want. BUT she’s not depressing about it. She’s realistic. Less “woe is me” and more “life sucks and then you die”. Her voice made the story move quickly even if there wasn’t anything intense happening at that moment (but there usually was).

The way Miriam’s “sight” worked was really interesting too. I liked how it wasn’t as straightforward you might think seeing someone’s death is. Instead of using it as a cop out for the storyline, Chuck used it to progress the plot. It brought up more questions rather than giving all answers.

I will definitely be grabbing the next in this series and inhaling it like I did Blackbirds. And if you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I suggest you grab this. ( )
  keyboardscoffee | May 30, 2016 |
**ORIGINALLY POSTED AT www.bunnycates.com/reading ** My Thoughts: Lets talk about the world:  Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig takes place across several states, right here in modern day United States.  We find ourselves thrust into truck stops, dirty cockroach infested motel rooms, and bars.   Its dark and its gritty.  The world this story portrays is true to life for anyone who has a little “mettle” under their belt.   Wendig definitely has a way with words, and you can almost smell the cigarette smoke coming off the pages while you read.  The story may be fiction, but the places in it feel real. Lets talk about the characters:  I loved the main character Miriam.  She has “the touch”, as in if she touches you skin on skin she will see when and how you will die.  Constantly being on the move and “seeing” all this death has made her…well, to put it politely would be to say she may (or may not) be a little bitter.  Ok, yea, she’s bitter.  I love her.  She has the “this is how it is so f*** it” attitude.  I can relate.  She tries to keep the way of the world from driving her into a pit of despair by using humor.  As many of us proud sarcarsti-snarks do so well.  Let your snark flags fly people!  You can’t have all that snark running around in the universe unchecked, so Wendig gave us Louis.  Awwwm sweet Louis!  Omgosh.  Poor guy.  He was a freaknut for sure, to the EYES, but his heart. awww…  I was leery of him at first, the way Wendig describes him – is kind of scary looking.  But then we get to know him.  **SPOILER**  Poor guy, lost his wife and took to the road as a truck driver because he was riddled with guilt over it. **/SPOILER** Ashley, was a douche.  He is this guy, that basically blackmails Miriam to come along for the ride hoping to pick up some huge score in the end.  Boy toy/blackmailer.  Is that right?  Yea, dirty hawt.  That’s how I would describe him.  LOL.  The antagonists in this story are CRAY CRAY!  A kickass little militant bi-atch named –of all things- Harriet (Dirty Harriet, INDEED), a big yes man, and the king daddy himself freaks me out along the same lines as PINHEAD.  *nods*  Oh yea, you know who I am talking ABOUT!!!!!  PIN-F’in-HEAD!  Like if…if… Pinhead and Powder made a freaknut love baby – that would be Ingersoll.  omgosh, I just got goosebumples! haha! Lets talk about the plot: What the wha?!  I loved this story! No kidding!  In this book, book one in what I believe is to become a series – We meet Miriam, and by gosh learn to love her and her little snarky ways.  Miriam meets - and ends up being blackmailed by - a sexy dirty man who hopes to use her unique gifts to rip some people off.  Along the way, we learn that Mr DirtyHawt has not always been such a charmer and he may or may not be dragging the wrath of all hell down on Miriam.  You know, guilty by association and all that.  Also, Miriam may or may not meet a true to life REAL nice guy.  Only, when her gift pops up – she not only sees Mr Nicey croak, she sees him croak whilest saying her name. Youch.  Long story short: action, some drinks, some sex, some pining, some running, some escaping, some not quite escaping, some more action, some dying, some almost dying, some book burning, and WHAM.  There ya go.  Was that too spoilerish?  Hope not. =D In Conclusion: This is a MUST read for all my “dark snark” loving friends out there!  I enjoyed this book so much.  It was dark, eerie, funny, shocking, and did I mention – snarky?   In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I plan to pick up a copy to put on my bookshelf, because lets be real here...  digital just don’t look as perty.  Mom Notes: Contains: violence, sexual content, and language.  Lots and LOTS of language.
  BunnyCates | Mar 8, 2016 |
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Car lights strobe through busted motel blinds.
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Book description
When Miriam Black touches you, she can see how and when you’re going to die. This gives her the chance, in theory, to solve murders before they happen – but she discovers that fate is far more unyielding than suspected, and she soon grows to believe she cannot change the deaths she sees. She learns differently, over time, and learns that the sacrifices necessary to turn fate on its ear are bigger than expected. In the meantime, she exists as a kind of human vulture: instead of attempting to sway fate’s course she steps into it’s path, becoming a carrion bird (figuratively) who lurks at the deaths she knows are coming to steal from the dead. [Author's words from interview on Andrew Jack Writing Blog]
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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.… (more)

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