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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds (edition 2012)

by Chuck Wendig

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4465323,454 (3.76)40
Authors:Chuck Wendig
Info:Angry Robot (2012), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:crime, thriller, dark, horror, fiction

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Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig


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**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 |
Miriam Black is used to death. It's what she sees if she comes into skin-on-skin contact with someone. She's seen so much of it that even violent death has lost the ability to shock. So it must be that the man in her latest vision calling her name as he looks over the shoulder of his killer that has affected her so much. Was it actually Miriam herself he was looking at and why would she be present at such a gruesome death if it was? Usually she only turns up for those that die alone so she can take what she needs to continue her nomadic drink and nicotine filled lifestyle. Miriam has tried to thwart her visions before but somehow fate always manages to get what it wants. Wanting to have nothing to do with the death of Louis the kind and caring truck driver she vows to be nowhere near the scene of the crime when it occurs. Can she get away or will Miriam become victim to fate once again?

This is a dark, gory, foul-mouthed urban fantasy ride that veers towards the horror end of the spectrum. There is a small cast of mostly unlikeable characters (including the protagonist) so if you find this off-putting then this book is probably not for you. Neither if you're a bit squeamish or offended by profanity (there's lots of it - although it does get quite creative at times). Personally I don't mind either as long as they are true to the story or characters involved and here it fits perfectly. The majority of the story is told in present tense with flashback segments of an interview with a magazine reporter used to give insight into Miriam's past and character. It works well and drives the story on relentlessly. This was my first encounter with the author's work but it won't be my last. There's already a couple of sequels to this book with another on the way and I'll definitely be on the lookout for those at the very least. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Feb 8, 2016 |
Miriam has a gift or a curse as she would say is more fitting; she can see when someone is going to die by simply touching their skin. As time passes she has learned to use these situations to her advantage. She sees it as fate and despite what she may or may not do fate cannot be changed. When Miriam crosses paths with a truck driver, Louis, and views his death she is taken back. He is to die a torturous death within the month and before he dies he says her name. Bothered by this turn in events she wants nothing to do with him but their paths keep crossing, after all it is fate. A very intense story filled with violence, language, and some sex, despite that it is well written and envelops the reader into their domain. ( )
  vibrantminds | Apr 16, 2015 |
Blackbirds is an excellent book. I didn't want to like it, but Wendig's tight prose and penetrating insight ended up charming me. I'm honestly pretty tired of the antihero/anti-heroine morality play where the "evil" character ends up showing more human value and virtues than the "good" characters, but despite playing with these tropes and genre conventions, Wendig's work ends up mostly just being human.

So, this is a case where if I didn't know anything about Wendig from Twitter, the genre pigeonhole and back of the novel blurbs and reviews would have driven me away. I'm glad I picked it up.

I started the book in audio format, but finished in one night reading the eBook version. It definitely was a "stay up till I finish" kind of read, but it has charms that extend beyond it's pot-boiler plotting. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
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
posted on www.myshelfconfessions.com ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
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Car lights strobe through busted motel blinds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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