Mookie Pearl: The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

The Blue Blazes

Bane of Kings reviews Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes, published by Angry Robot Books.

“Wow. Wendig keeps impressing with every book he puts out. The Blue Blazes is superb.” ~The Founding Fields

I’ve read all of Chuck Wendig’s books for Angry Robot so far so I was really looking forward to see where he would take the reader with The Blue Blazes, and he didn’t disappoint. I loved every second of this book, and was unable to put it down, having polished it off in a couple of sittings. The way that Wendig draws you into the world with his narrative is stunning, and once you’re in, you won’t be able to let go – he’s got the pacing factor sorted, for this book is one of those “One More Chapter” type reads as I quickly found out.

Meet Mookie Pearl.
Criminal underworld? He runs it.
Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.
Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.
But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

Mookie Pearl is far from your stereotypical urban fantasy hero. He’s foul mouthed, as is Wendig’s writing style, and whilst he might not be one of the most likeable characters ever, it doesn’t stop him from being a damn good main character, and we’re sympathising with him from the start, with pretty much everything falling into pieces around him. You know you haven’t got the best of family relations when your own daughter tries to overthrow your criminal underworld, and it certainly isn’t helped with an increase in odd supernatural happenings.  Nora, Mookie’s daughter, also gets a fair chunk of the POV and is another great addition to the book, providing a very important role to the plot. Both characters, among others, also are given various motives, flaws, weaknesses and development to show that they’re human. Looking for perfect characters in The Blue Blazes? You won’t find anyone that fits the Mary Sue description commonly associated with fanfiction, but can also be applied to creator-owned work here, let me tell you that now. 

The Blue BlazesThe book itself is, as per the Miriam Black series, very dark and gritty. It’s a horror show of the best kind, pulpy – pageturningly fun. The world is explored in such a way where you’re given enough to keep you going and not get too confused. Fans of Wendig can expect more of the same, although  his writing style has changed a bit from his previous Angry Robot books. Shorter sentances are more common, with one sentence paragraphs allowing for a greater, more intense atmosphere in action sequences. It’s a technique that works incredibly well, and really helps add to make the book more page-turning.  Another thing that should be taken into account here is that the imagination on display here is wonderful. Those of you who haven’t read Wendig’s work before – expect something that will completely surprise you, drawing you in and leaving you begging for more.

The theme and the setting come across incredibly well. All the dark places under New York City are filled with all kinds of things, painting a vision of the underworld City that Never Sleeps as truly horrific, with everything becoming monster-ized here.  Nothing is predictable about this book, and that makes its creation even more mind blowing.

Especially if you’re an urban fantasy fan who is convinced that you’ve seen everything. Trust me. The Blue Blazes is different, fun, engrossing and one of the best urban fantasy books that I’ve read yet. It certainly currently holds the titles for the darkest. I can’t wait for the Miriam Black book, which I’m really looking forward to, and I think Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits, his work for Abaddon –  might have just been moved higher up my To Read list, especially as a Goodreads reviewer has described it as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods meets Supernatural, both of which I’m a massive fan of.

VERDICT: 4/5

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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