My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s got to be hard to find work when your main talent is coming up with detailed, grisly, and inventive ways for people to die. (Though I suppose it’s possible your accountant or barista is also imagining all the ways you could bite it…) However, Chuck Wendig seems to have figured it out with the incredible Blackbirds.
Let’s just say this wasn’t a typical book to be enjoying beachside, and I was more than a little worried that someone would notice I was reading about murders, suicides, and horrible accidents and out me as the weirdo I am.
I’ve never read Wendig before, though I have long intended to. What an introduction! Blackbirds features Miriam Black, one of the most original characters I’ve ever encountered.
Miriam is a deeply disturbed girl, and for good reason: she can see how people will die. The slightest touch sends her a detailed view of death; something she cannot avoid and seemingly cannot stop, despite her efforts. In fact, she has long since given up, and lives as a carrion bird, taking just enough from the dead to get by herself, flitting from place to place, foul-mouthed and alone.
She is a tragic figure, and yet likeable. She’s vulnerable, though she’d hate for anyone else to really know it. She’s an absolute trainwreck and she has a terrible past that we see in fragments. Poor girl; her whole life is fragments.
Through a variety of accidental encounters, Miriam finds herself caring for someone for the first time in years. This, however, is also unfortunate: she has seen that he is going to expire (in a truly macabre way) with her name on his lips. Even before he is dead, he haunts her nightmares.
Miriam is an incredible character, and I can’t wait to read more of this series (even if it does leave my stomach swirling at times). Wendig is an inspiration, and a reminder that stepping outside the bounds of normal can reap huge rewards. He earned at least one fan in me.