Monday, March 17, 2014

Blood will never come out of silk

When I started reading NOS4A2 I was thinking "Wow, this is a really good horror story." Adding the "horror story" distinction was just because that's what the story is. It is a horror story and it is scary, those are things thought I knew about it going in and those things remained true to the end. But I had to change that initial thought to "Wow, this is a really good story."

NOS4A2 is sort of a strange story to explain, but I'll do my best.

Vic McQueen can find things. As a small child she learns that she can ride her bike across this rickety covered bridge and find something that's missing: her mother's bracelet, a photograph, whatever needs found. The bridge will take her to where the item is, no matter how far away. Of course, trips across the bridge take their toll, so Vic can't make too many trips.

Charles Manx has his own special vehicle, an old Rolls Royce Wraith. He doesn't use his car to find things though. Instead his car can take him and the children he's rescuing to Christmasland, where children are always happy and every day is Christmas day. Which might seem sweet. He certainly thinks he's doing a good job. But of course his wife used to call him Nosferatu so often he made it his license plate. As a joke, of course...

Manx is terrifying. One of the best villains I can remember reading. He seems to think he's doing something good. Maybe not entirely good, but I think he might believe he is helping these kids. And of course, if they help him all the better, right? I'm also pretty sure that Joe Hill spent a lot of time reading MRA websites to get some of the Manx character.

It's not just the villain that make the book. Vic McQueen is a great character. She's strong, she's flawed, she's hurt, she's determined. I loved her. It's hard to get too much into all the great things about Vic without getting too much into the story and spoilers, but all of the those adjectives I said above. That.

Again, I don't want to get into spoilers, but know that I loved a lot of the secondary characters as well. Once that I really thought would be a quick throwaway character and sure, they didn't all have a ton of scenes, but Hill managed to make them feel like full characters. Full sympathetic characters. With some great lines about librarians.
No one looks too closely at a librarian. People are afraid of going blind from the glare of ssss-ssso much compressed wisdom.

I didn't expect the book to be as good as it was. I mean, I didn't expect it to be bad or anything. I liked Horns so I had an idea of what Hill's style is, but I didn't expect this. I hated whenever I had to put the book down, even though the book is seriously creepy and it was probably for the best I didn't read this all in one sitting or anything crazy like that.

This book was excellent. I want to say everyone should read it but then there's the horror bit and I know some people aren't into that. So just know that you should still read the book, but be prepared for a seriously creepy story. If I get a phone call from any young children, I'll probably freak out.

Oh, and I would like to say thank you to Tabitha King who, according to the acknowledgements, convinced Hill to change the ending. I was worried about how the ending was going to go but it was all good by the last page.

Title quote from page 380, location 5191

Hill, Joe. NOS4A2. William Morrow Harper Collins, 2013