Chris Bauer's Reviews > Blackbirds

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
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Apr 25, 12

Read on April 25, 2012

I feel like I need to include a disclaimer here. I'm a big fan of Chuck Wendig. Double Dead was one of the most entertaining novels I've read this year, his non-fiction work on writing occupies a permanent spot of honor on my iPad and I'm a daily visitor to his blog.

So there.

I've been waiting quite a while for this book to be released and was not disappointed. Wendig has a distinct style of writing which is all his own. There are a lot of stand out features in his latest book, "Blackbirds", worthy of comment.

First off, the characters are vibrant and real, despite their flaws. The protag, Miriam Black, is remarkably complex and nuanced. Wendig follows his own advice of making life difficult for the protag and just when things are starting to look up, smash an anvil on their head. Miriam is NOT a likable person, but is an incredibly interesting character.

Interesting point is that the POV of the novel is 3rd Person Present which adds a compelling sense of urgency to every chapter. Not a common POV (in this era) but a really effective one for this book.

The same depth and detail can seen in all the other characters as well. Each one, good and bad, is unique with their own outlooks, motivations and interactions.

The plot is fast when it needs to be, slows down at times for effect but never falls off the pace. Its been a while since I've read a book which so effectively NAILS the pace question.

In my opinion, Wendig's biggest talent is for dialogue and evocative (at times, gut churning) descriptions. Nothing over the top, but just very insightful alternative descriptions. And simply put, his dialogue absolutely KILLS. Every time. And most often funny as hell.

There were maybe a couple too many "dream" sequences and flashback chapters for my taste, but they were necessary to the plot of the book and I don't think there would be any other way to convey the information to the reader.

Finally if you call yourself a writer or have ever considered penning anything for mass consumption, read the author interview at the end of the book. You kind of HAVE to. Sorry. If you like what you read there, bookmark the following link in your Internet browser and check it every single day -- www.terribleminds.com

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