Miriam Black: Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

Mockingbird

Bane of Kings writes a review of Chuck Wendig’s second novel featuring the strong, independent female lead Miriam Black, entitled Mockingbird, published by Angry Robot Books. This review presumes that the reader is already familiar with Blackbirds, the first novel in the Miriam Black series.

“A dark and gritty page-turner. Wendig’s second Miriam Black novel is a brilliant read and just as enjoyable as  the first.” ~The Founding Fields

This month just keeps getting better and better for reviewing. Reading wise, I don’t think I’ve read a book that I haven’t liked since James Patterson’s disappointing Nevermore, which means that I’ve now read thirty novels (including graphic novels) in a row which I have each liked to a certain extent. Hopefully this trend can continue in the future. I’m reading the latest A Song of Ice and Fire novel at the moment, so it does look like that it will be. But, I’m losing track of things. Let’s get back to Mockingbird, and I’m going to start this review by saying that it’s fantastic. If that’s not enough to convince you, then by all means – keep reading.

Miriam is trying to keep her ability – her curse – in check.

But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now.

She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life – one which can never be expected to go well.

So, a short blurb. Doesn’t reveal much about what’s going to happen in the novel, but at least it doesn’t spoil the outcome. It seems to be a common theme with Wendig’s Miriam Black novels, but that doesn’t stop you from reading them. The well-written and page-turning prose will have you hooked from within the first few pages, and this is really a one-sitting read. As a direct sequel to Blackbirds, Mockingbird proves that Wendig won’t disappoint you with the second installment, and increases your expectations for the third novel in the series – yes, there is going to be a third novel.

Miriam’s strong, unique, dark and twisted personality continues to be enjoyable, and Wendig has mastered her character development well over the course of the books. Although she may not be the most likable person to read about (and that’s an understatement), Wendig still manages to make us want to read more. And read more I did, and I blitzed through Mockingbird in a very quick time (and I’m a fast reader). One of the more interesting parts of this book to read about was Miriam’s stay at a Private Girl’s School, and I couldn’t help thinking “Yeah, that’s going to turn out well”, with a lot of sarcasm. It’s a great read, and there are plenty of twists and turns in here to keep it unpredictable. Wendig also doesn’t rely on the fantasy-elements of urban fantasy to make his novel interesting and varied, as if you went into this expecting werewolves, vampires and other urban fantasy staples then you’re going to be disappointed. But Wendig has proved that you don’t need them to make urban fantasy enjoyable, and has weaved a wonderful tale for us to enjoy. Once you’ve finished reading it, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be sticking around for the third novel.

It’s not just for urban fantasy fans as well, for horror readers will get a kick out of Mockingbird. Well, you should pretty much know this by now as this review presumes prior knowledge of Blackbirds, but if you’re thinking that this novel is going to be a carbon-copy of its predecessor then you’re mistaken. Mockingbird is different. Mockingbird is new, fresh and exciting. One of my best reads of 2012, and Wendig may have just jumped to my list of favourite authors.

Just be warned, when I say dark, I mean dark. There’s a lot of things that some readers may consider too extreme for them happen in this book, but if you’re familiar with Wendig’s work or have read similar novels, then you know what you’re in for. There are several great cinematic moments in this second book, and a great storyline with themes of redemption and revenge in there as well. It’s not the most pleasant read and is far from YA (I  bring this up because it has been sighted in the YA section of bookshops elsewhere), but should be enjoyable if you don’t mind your dark fiction, and want to read something that isn’t uplifting or a ‘feel good’ read. I’ve yet to hear anything bad about it as well, which is always a positive thing.

Verdict: 4.5/5

Miriam Black by Chuck Wendig: Blackbirds, Mockingbird.

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and a prolific reviewer who can be found on many places on the internet usually under the same username – when he’s not trying to catch up on the many seasons of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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