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on 2 July 2012
Miriam Black is possessed of a unique talent: when she touches someone she sees exactly how and when they will die. What a hook for a story - I wish I'd thought of it - and what a great character Wendig has created to run with it. Blackbirds is a road trip through the sleazy underbelly of American Noir. A thoroughly enjoyable romp of a book. I look forward to the next in the series with great anticipation.
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on 22 October 2013
This is one of the stand-out novels I've read recently.

Miriam Black is a wonderfully complex character, as hard as nails and with a caustic wit. But you get the impression that there's a good person inside, thoroughly trapped and desperate to get out.

Wendig's writing is incredibly tight, with not a wasted word. Highly recommended.
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on 16 October 2016
I've had this on my reading list for ages - only wish I'd read it sooner. Intense, immediate, all the way to the inevitable ending. Now I'm going straight into Mockingbird
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on 26 May 2015
I came to this dark book having read chuck wendig's writing advice and I'm glad I did. Dark, funny, good premise, gripping plot and great character in Miriam. Did I mention it's dark?
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on 11 April 2015
Good quick delivery, happy.
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on 26 July 2013
To be honest, this is not a genre I would choose to read, but it was a bookgroup choice. A good read - couldn't put it down - but not a style I would want to read again.
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on 27 January 2015
Read the entire book in one day, could not put it down...
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on 7 May 2012
This is a dark, slippery slope of a roller coaster ride through the slick nightmare alleys of the world you know exists and don't ever want to meet face to face. Miriam Black meets it, she lives it, every day she walks a fine line between sickness at the world and sickness at herself. Join her on her journey as she's used, abused, uses, abuses and fights back against the inevitable horror of her every day with foul-mouthed, street-wise, broken-hearted fury. One hell of a protagonist, one hell of a ride, one hell of a story.

I should probably have given it five stars but, by Wendig's beard, I wanted the book to keep going and it bloody well didn't. Read this, be consumed by Miriam's world, and pray to whatever heartless Gods you worship that her reality remains forever on the page and never darkens your door.

As for me, I'm keeping my peepers peeled for the arrival of the Mockingbird.
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 8 April 2014
Miriam Black knows how you will die. All she has to do is touch your skin and she gets a vision of how and when it will happen. Every time she’s tried to prevent a person’s death, she’s only succeeded in making it inevitable so instead she’s decided to use it to her advantage - scrounging a living by hooking up with those due to die shortly and then robbing them of cash and valuables after they’ve gone. But when she meets hulking truck driver Louis Darling, she sees him being horribly murdered in 30 days time as he calls out her name.

Miriam knows that she can’t save Louis and she’s distracted from even trying by ruthless conman Ashley Gaynes, who’s discovered the truth about her ability and wants to use it for his own financial ends. But Miriam’s fate is inextricably linked with Louis’s and there are forces out there that have plans for her gift and are determined to make her confront her destiny …

Chuck Wendig’s hard-boiled contemporary fantasy noir is a foul-mouthed, rollercoaster ride with a damaged, self-absorbed main character. Whether you like the book depends on whether you like Miriam and I thought she was terrific – a broken narcissistic cynic who’s in dire need of rescuing. Her relationship with the decent, hulking Louis who’s still traumatised by the death of his wife is touching and Wendig does well in having you dislike Miriam for what she’s doing while also understanding why she does it. It’s also a nice counterpoint to the hot sex and cold manipulation that ties her to the venal Ashley. The story’s split between what’s happening to Miriam now and a flashback interview she gives where she describes how her gift works and how she came to have it. My only real criticism is that the villains of the piece are underdeveloped and I’d have liked to have seen a more fleshed out motivation for their actions.

The dialogue in this novel is particularly good with Miriam’s foul-mouthed patter rattling along like a machine gun and I liked the fact that when Wendig reveals her backstory, it’s presented in unsentimental terms. The plot rattles along nicely with the different strands coming together in a satisfying way and although I did find the antagonists underdeveloped, I liked where Wendig took Miriam and will definitely read the sequel.
One person found this helpful
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on 6 August 2012
Blackbirds has a fair amount of hype circulating around it. There is a lot of expectation here. The cover alone promises the reader multiple things and for the most part Blackbirds delivers. I was intrigued by this book long before I requested it for review but I was scared that it would just not do it for me but in the end I really, really liked it.

The best thing about this book for me is that it dares to be different. This book takes the Urban Fantasy genre and turns it on its head. If you took every urban fantasy book you have ever read mix it with some Sin City and add a splash of Tarantino, Blackbirds is what you would create. It is smart and engaging yet manages to be philosophical at the same time. Behind all the violence and swearing Blackbirds actually asks some pretty big questions about death and fate, about good and evil.

The characters in this are full of life (which is funny considering this book is essentially about death) and at the centre of it all you have Miriam. Miriam is a fighter, a survivor. I think as a reader you don't exactly like Miriam. She is the type of person you wouldn't associate with, a person you would look down your nose at. She is white trash, an alcoholic and a criminal. She is unlikable. But it doesn't matter because in some way you admire her. She is strong and sassy. She can hold her own and there is something to appreciate in that. Yet, behind all the sarcasm, and nonchalant attitude you can see a glimpse of who she really is underneath all the layers of hurt and grief and you know that inside she is not a bad person.

Then there is Louis. He looks like a criminal he is a scarred hulk of a man. But really he is soft, caring and kind and he just might be the one to show Miriam that life doesn't have to be as dark and dreary as she makes it. He is instantly likable, he is someone you can root for and to be honest I wish there was a little more of him in this book.

The other characters are great but are mostly dislikeable (apart from Frankie who, despite everything, turns out to be impossible to dislike) they are villains of the most disturbing kind.

I have heard a lot of fuss about how this book would have been better if it had been written by a woman. I could not disagree more strongly. Some have said `don't read this book unless you are a guy' well, I am a girl and I really liked it. I have heard that this book is just to `man.' Well, so what? There is nothing wrong with a male voice in fiction, and just because the story is about a girl it doesn't mean that it has to be less gory or about love. I don't think this is book every woman should run out and buy, it is just that there are a lot of generalizations being made about women (as a whole) not liking this book and it is simply not true.

But I should warn you that this book is not for the faint hearted. It is grim and grimy (something I imagine you will hear a lot in reference to this book). It is violent and gory. There is sex (not the swoon worthy, erotic kind) and swearing. There is also a decent amount of characters (mostly male) that you want to drop kick. Be warned if that is not something you can handle then this book, unfortunately, is not for you.

But if you can handle that and you feel like you like could use a little darkness in your life then I strongly recommend this book.
8 people found this helpful
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