The first book in the Miriam Black series: “A sassy, hard-boiled thriller with a paranormal slant” (The Guardian) about a young woman who can see the darkest corners of the future.
Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. This makes her daily life a living hell, especially when you can’t do anything about it, or stop trying to. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides. She merely needs to touch you—skin to skin contact—and she knows how and when your final moments will occur. Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But then she hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, and she sees in thirty days that Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and Miriam will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
“Think Six Feet Under co-written by Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk” (SFX), and you have Blackbirds: a visceral, exciting novel about life on the edge.
About the Author
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, the YA Heartland series, and the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Aftermath. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy Award–nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, TerribleMinds.com, and through several popular ebooks, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and dog.
Read an Excerpt
THE DEATH OF DEL AMICO
Car lights strobe through busted motel blinds.
When the headlights come in, Miriam regards herself in the dirty mirror.
I look like something blown in off a dusty highway, she thinks. Dirty, torn jeans. Tight white tee. Bleach-blonde hair, the roots coming up, those dark, earthen roots.
She puts her hands on her hips and cocks them this way, then that. With the back of her hand, she wipes away a smear of lipstick from where Del kissed her.
“The lights need to be on,” she says to nobody, foretelling the future.
She clicks the lamp by the bed. Piss-yellow light illumines the ratty room.
A roach sits paralyzed in the middle of the floor.
“Shoo,” she says. “Fuck off. You’re free to go.”
The roach does as it’s told. It boogies under the pull-down bed, relieved.
Back to the mirror, then.
“They always said you were an old soul,” she mutters. Tonight, she’s really feeling it.
In the bathroom, the shower hisses. It’s almost time now. She sits down on the side of the bed and rubs her eyes, yawns.
She hears the squeaking of the shower knobs. The pipes in the walls groan and stutter like a train is passing. Miriam balls up her monkey toes and flexes them tight. The toe-knuckles pop.
In the bathroom, Del is humming. Some Podunk fuckwit country tune. She hates country. That music is the dull, throbbing pulse-beat of the Heartland. Wait. This is North Carolina, right? Is North Carolina the Heartland? Whatever. The Heartland. The Confederacy. The Wide-Open Nowhere. Did it matter?
The bathroom door opens, and Del Amico steps out, wreathed in ghosts of steam.
He might have been attractive once. Still is, maybe, in this light. He’s middle-aged, lean as a drinking straw. Ropy arms, hard calves. Cheap, generic boxer-briefs pulled tight on bony hips. He’s got a good jaw, a nice chin, she thinks, and the stubble doesn’t hurt. He smiles big and broad at her and licks his teeth—bright pearly whites, the tongue snaking over them with a squeak.
She smells mint.
“Mouthwash,” he says, smacking his lips and breathing hot, fresh breath in her direction. He rubs a scummy towel up over his head. “Found some under the sink.”
“Super,” she says. “Hey, I have a new idea for a crayon color: cockroach brown.”
Del peers out from the hood formed from his towel.
“What? Crayon? The hell you going on about?”
“Crayola makes all kinds of crazy colors. You know. Burnt umber. Burnt sienna. Blanched almond. Baby-shit yellow. And so on, and so forth. I’m just saying, cockroaches have their own color. It’s distinct. Crayola should get on that. The kids’ll love it.”
Del laughs, but he’s obviously a little confused. He continues toweling off, and then stops. He squints at her, like he’s trying to see the dolphin in one of those Magic Eye paintings.
He looks her up and down.
“I thought you said you were gonna be out here . . . getting comfortable,” he says.
She shrugs. “Ooh. No. Truth be told, I’m never really that comfortable. Sorry.”
“But . . .” His voice trails off. He wants to say it. His mouth forms the words before he speaks them, but finally: “You’re not naked.”
“Very observant,” she says, giving him a thumbs-up and a wink. “I got bad news, Del. I am not actually a truck stop prostitute, and therefore we shall not be fucking on this good eve. Or morning. I guess it’s morning? Either way, no fucking. No ticky, no laundry.”
That jaw of his tightens. “But you offered. You owe me.”
“Considering you haven’t actually paid me yet, and further considering that prostitution is not exactly legal in this state—though, far be it for me to legislate morality; frankly, I think what people do is their business—I don’t think I owe you dick, Del.”
“Goddamn,” he says. “You love to hear yourself talk, don’t you?”
“I do.” She does.
“You’re a liar. A liar with a foul little mouth.”
“My mother always said I had a mouth like a sailor. Not in an arr, matey way, but in a fuck this and shit that way. And yes, I am a big fat liar. My dirty, torn-up jeans on fire.”
It’s like he doesn’t know what to do. She sees it; she’s really steaming his bun. His nostrils are flaring like he’s a bull about to charge.
“A lady should be respectful” is all he manages through gritted teeth. He pitches the towel in the corner.
Miriam snorts. “That’s me. My fair fuckin’ lady.”
Del takes a deep breath, moves over to the dresser, then slides a grungy, ain’t-worth-nothing Timex over his bony wrist. It isn’t long before he sees what she’s laid out for him next to the watch.
He holds up photos, picks them up as a bunch, flips through them. A woman and two young girls at a Sears portfolio special. The same kids on the playground. The woman at someone’s wedding.
“I found those in your car,” Miriam explains. “Your family, right? I thought it kind of interesting, what with you bringing a prostitute— er, supposed prostitute—back to a motel room. Doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a good husband or daddy would do, but what do I know? Then again, maybe that’s why you hide them all the way in the glove compartment. It’s like a mirror—if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.”
He pivots, heel to toe, the wallet photos in a quaking grip.
“Who are you to judge?” he seethes.
She waves him off. “Oh, hush, I’m not judging. I’m just waiting. Since we’re waiting, I should probably also tell you that I’ve been following you for a couple weeks now.” His gaze narrows again, and he’s looking at her like maybe he recognizes her, or is trying to. She keeps talking. “I know you like hookers. Pros and hos. All kinds, too! You’re the kind of fellow who’ll eat every candy out of the chocolate box. Variety is the spice of life; good for you. I also happen to know that, outside of some relatively boring sexual proclivities, you like to hit women. Four prostitutes. Two with black eyes, one with a cut chin, the fourth with a busted lower lip—”
Del moves fast.
Bam. A tight coiled fist hits her right in the eye and knocks her back on the bed. Capillaries burst. Fireworks on a black background. Gasping, she scrambles backward, thinking he’s going to advance and try to beat her or choke her, but by the time she’s in a crouch and ready to kick, bite, or collapse his throat with a forearm, she sees he hasn’t moved one inch.
He’s just standing there. Shaking. Angry, sad, confused; she can’t tell.
She waits it out. He doesn’t move toward her. He isn’t even looking at her now— Del’s staring off at a nowhere point a thousand miles from here.
Gingerly, Miriam reaches over to the nightstand and turns the alarm clock so she can read it. It’s an old-ass clock, the kind with the numbers that turn like Vanna White’s flipping them. Each with a click.
“It’s 12:40,” she says. “That means you have three minutes.”
“Three minutes?” He narrows his gaze, trying to suss out her game.
“That’s right, Del, three minutes. Now’s the time to ask yourself: Any thoughts you want to share? Grandma’s cornbread recipe? Location of a buried pirate treasure? Any poetic last words? You know, Either the wallpaper goes, or I do?” She waves him off. “I know, an Oscar Wilde reference. I reached too far for that one. My bad.”
He doesn’t move, but he tightens up. Every muscle pulled taut to bone.
“You think you’re going to kill me?” he asks. “That what you think?”
She clucks her tongue. “No, sir, I do not think that. I’m not the killer type. I’m more passive-aggressive than aggressive. I’m a wait-and-see kind of girl. More vulture than falcon.”
They stare at each other. She feels scared and sick and a little excited.
The 0 flips to 1.
“You want to hit me again,” she says.
“I just might.”
“You think, I’ll hit her again, and then I’ll fuck her like she deserves—that’s, of course, provided you can get Little Dale Junior to race. I saw the dick pills in your glove compartment. Next to the OxyContin.”
“You shut the hell up.”
She holds up a finger. “Let me ask you one question, though. You hit your wife and daughters?”
He hesitates. She’s not sure what that means. Does it mean he feels guilty about it? Or that he’d never consider touching a hair on their pretty little heads and would die if they found out?
“At this point,” she says, “it’s not like it matters. I’m mostly just curious. You bang hookers and punch them in their faces, so we’ve already established that you’re not gonna win Father of the Year. I’m just trying to feel out the depth of your character—”
He lets out a frustrated whoop and swings at her— a clumsy, wide throw, telegraphed loud and clear like his body was using a bullhorn. Miriam leans back. The fist catches the air in front of her nose, whiff.
She stabs a heel out and catches him in the balls.
He staggers backward, buttbone thunking against the wall, moaning, grabbing.
“You only get one freebie with me,” she hisses. “Swing and a miss, asshole.”
The time is now 12:42.
“One minute,” she says, easing off the bed.
He still doesn’t get it. They never do.
“Shut up,” he whimpers. “You fuckin’ whore.”
“This is how it’s going to go. Any second now, we’re going to hear a car honking out in the parking lot—”
A car honks outside. Once, then twice, then a third time when the driver lays on the horn just to get the message across.
Del looks from Miriam to the window, then back again. She’s seen the look before. It’s the look of a caged animal. He doesn’t know where to go, where to run, but the truth is, he can’t run anywhere. He’s trapped. What he can’t understand is how or why.
“What comes next, you ask?” She snaps her fingers. “Somewhere, outside, someone starts yelling. Maybe it’s the car-honking guy. Maybe it’s the dude the car-honking guy was honking at. Who cares? Because . . .”
She lets her words trail off, only to be replaced by someone yelling out in the parking lot. The words were indecipherable, just a muted, Neanderthal rant.
Del’s eyes go wide.
Miriam forms her thumb and forefinger into a gun, and points it at the alarm clock. She lets the hammer—her thumb—fall.
“Boom,” she says, and—
The time is now 12:43.
“You have epilepsy, Del?”
The question registers, and she knows now that he does. It explains what’s about to happen. A moment of calm strikes him, a kind of serene confusion, and then—
His body tightens.
“And here it is,” Miriam says. “The kicker, the game ball, the season-ender.”
The seizure hits him like a crashing wave.
Del Amico’s body goes rigid, and he drops backward, his head narrowly missing the corner of the motel dresser. He makes a strangled sound. He sits upright on his knees, but then his back arches and his shoulder blades press hard against the matted Berber.
Miriam rubs her eye.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she says as Del’s eyes start to bulge like champagne corks ready to pop. “Jeez, why doesn’t this broad stick a wallet under my tongue? Couldn’t she do me a solid? Or maybe you’re thinking, Hey, I’ve had seizures before, and none of them killed me. A guy can’t actually swallow his own tongue, right? That’s just a myth? Or maybe, just maybe, you think I’m some kind of batshit highway witch with magical powers.”
He gurgles. His cheeks go red. Then purple.
Miriam shrugs, wincing, watching it unfold with grim fascination. Not that this is the first time she’s seen it.
“Not so, my friendly neighborhood whore-puncher. This is your destiny, to choke on your own mouth meats, to expire here in this God-fucked motel in the middle of Hell’s half acre. I’d do something if I could, but I can’t. Were I to put the wallet under your tongue, I’d probably only push the tongue in deeper. See, my mother used to say, ‘Miriam, it is what it is.’ And this, Del Amico, is that.”
Froth bubbles out over Del’s ashen lips. The blood vessels in his eyes burst.
Just like she remembers it.
His rigid body goes limp. All the fight goes out of him. His wiry frame slackens, his head tilts at a bad angle, his cheek hits the floor.
Then, insult to injury, the cockroach runs out from under the bed. It uses Del’s twisted upper lip as a step ladder, and squeezes its fat little body up into his nostril before disappearing.
Miriam takes a deep breath and shudders.
She tries to speak, tries to say she’s sorry, but—
She can’t stop it. She runs to the bathroom and pukes in the toilet.
Miriam kneels like that for a while, her head leaning up against the base of the sink. The porcelain feels cool, calming. She smells mint. The clean scent of cheap mouthwash.
It often hits her like this. Like some part of her is dying along with them, some part that she has to gag on and purge and flush away.
And, as always, she knows what will really make her feel better.
She crawls out of the bathroom, over Del’s cooling body, and fetches her messenger bag from the far side of the bed. Fishing around, she finds what she’s looking for and pulls out a crumpled pack of Marlboro Lights. She taps one out, plugs it between her lips, and lights it.
Miriam exhales smoke, a jet from each nostril. Like steam from a dragon’s nose.
The nausea recedes, a septic tide washing the poison back to sea.
“Much better,” she says to whoever is listening. Del’s ghost, maybe. Or the cockroach.
Then she goes back into the bag to find Item Number Two: a black notebook with a red pen tucked in the spiral. The notebook is almost at its end. Just ten more pages left. Ten blank pages, a great gulf of awful potential: an unwritten future that’s already been written.
“Oh, wait,” she says. “I’m getting sloppy over here. Can’t forget this—”
Miriam goes and grabs Del’s pants and digs in for his wallet. Inside, she finds just shy of fifty bucks and a MasterCard. Enough to get her on the road, put a meal in her belly, move her on to the next town.
“Thanks for the donation, Del.”
Miriam props up some pillows against the bed’s headboard and leans back. She flips open the notebook, and she writes:
I did it again.
What People are Saying About This
"Wendig’s second novel is a splendidly profane slice of urban fantasy – hard, dark and fast. Slick one-liners and laugh-out-loud descriptions pepper the prose, making Blackbirds a black comedy that even the Grim Reaper could smile at."
- The Financial Times
"Vivid and violent... a sassy, hard-boiled thriller with a paranormal slant"
- The Guardian
"Wendig's dark and twisty adventure is filled with misfit characters who defy easy stereotypes... despite fate being hell-bent on keeping her down, Miriam's stubborn struggle to change it makes Blackbirds take flight" - Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, Shelf Awareness
"Visceral and often brutal, this tale vibrates with emotional rawness that helps to paint a bleak, unrelenting picture of life on the edge." - Publishers Weekly
“In addition to a cast of well developed yet mentally unstable characters that enhance a fantastically horrifying plot, Blackbirds possesses a natural progression that doesn’t rely on convenience or contrived circumstances to move the story forward. Author Wendig’s distinctive, straightforward style is accessible and insistent; and the generous helpings of violence are strangely invigorating. Chuck Wendig has raised the bar of the urban fantasy genre . . .”
- Renee C. Fountain, New York Journal of Books
“Think Six Feet Under co-written by Stephen King and Chuck Palahniuk…” - SFX
“Wendig has taken the American roadside story and turned it into a tale of supernatural terror. This is a treat for those of us who like their horror vampire-free and swear-word heavy.” - Starburst
“Blackbirds is a high energy, whiskey-fuelled ride, that will pull you along for the journey and have you questioning whether we can change destiny. A must-read book by an author that is worth watching.” - Fantasy Faction
“Chuck Wendig has managed to take the best of urban fantasy and crime noir, twist ‘em together like barbed wire, and drag you right over the barbs. Blackbirds is gritty and violent, yet never loses sight of the light that might be at the end of the tunnel.” - My Bookish Ways
“A gleefully dark, twisted road trip for everyone who thought Fight Club was too warm and fuzzy. I loved it, and will be seeking professional help as soon as Chuck lets me out of his basement.” - James Moran, Dr. Who writer
“Enchanting and drowned in blood, Blackbirds is a meaty piece of fiction, a non-stop mind-job where the first hit hurts and you keep going back for more. It’s the kind of gritty, unapologetic story that grips you long after the book’s done; dark, intense, utterly without mercy. Chuck Wendig spins one hell of a tale.”
- Karina Cooper, author of the Dark Mission series
"Trailer-park tension, horrified hilarity, and sheer terror mixed with deft characterization and razor plotting. I literally could not put it down."
- Lilith Saintcrow, author of Night Shift and Working for the Devil
"Blackbirds is a horror story, a traveling story, a story of loss and what it takes to make things right. It's a story about fate and how sometimes, if we wrestle with it hard enough, maybe we can change it. Blackbirds is the kind of book that doesn't let go even after you've put it down and nobody else could have made it shine like Chuck Wendig."
- Stephen Blackmoore, author, City of the Lost and Dead Things
"Mean, moody and mysterious, Blackbirds is a noir joyride peppered with black humour, wry observation, and visceral action. Fans of Chuck Wendig will not be disappointed."
- Adam Christopher, author of Empire State
“It’s a cliché in reviewing to say that you couldn’t put a book down, that you ended up reading all night because you couldn’t bear to leave the story. In reality there haven’t been that many books written – ever – that have that indefinable quality that demands your full attention. Blackbirds is one of the few I’ve come across in recent years.”
- SciFi Bulletin
"Wendig writes hard and fast and this is a slick noirish thriller."
- David Barnett, The Independent (December 9, 2012)
“insanely good, acrid, burning prose … Wendig is a phenomenal talent, breakthrough of the last year. Absolute must-read.”
-Ray, Endless Falls Up
Blackbirds was named Runner-up for the 2012 THIS IS HORROR Novel of the Year Award
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once again Wendig blew me away. I could not put this book down. It's dark and twistedly funny.
[Blackbirds] by Chuck WendigWow. Talk about a wild ride and a book you can¿t put down.Miriam can see the future. She touches someone and knows how they die. She¿s tried desperately to change a few of those futures and has always failed. Now someone she might love is at risk. Can she finally affect the future, and challenge fate and remake the world?Violent, so not for everyone. But if you love a thriller, and a mystery, give it a try. Oh, and the cover is magnificent and fits the book totally.
BLACKBIRDS is the story of Miriam Black, a twenty-something drifter who can see when and how a person is going to die by touching them. Naturally, this has caused her no small amount of anxiety, as well as considerable guilt about not being able to do anything to stop the events (she tried, once.) Miriam has become cold, at least on the outside. Then she meets a truck driver named Louis, who surprises her with his kindness. She falls for him. She sees how he's going to die. And it involves her.Miriam is one of those super-sarcastic characters that is popular nowadays. While she is genuinely funny in the beginning, this quality does start to wear out its welcome after a while. She's also not very nice or likeable, even in a bad-but-charismatic way. I didn't have much sympathy for her.Though there are some potentially interesting logistical conundrums built around the premise that "fate" will always have its way (Miriam tries to avoid Louis for his own safety, but he keeps turning up), but the story never really rises above the level of a decent mystery-suspense thriller.
Here's the thing about Miriam Black. She's lurid, vile, bad-mouthed. She has an attitude problem, more than one. But I love her anyway. That's the real charm about Blackbirds, finding yourself liking somebody you quite frankly should hate. And that's the heroine of Blackbirds, the anti-heroine.The writing is lovely, graphic and detailed. The plot-line had just enough excitement and just enough background. Including Miriam's life before with her mother really helps flesh out her character. She's the only one really, besides Ashley that seems to be a fully realized character, but it seems to work for Chuck Wendig. In this particular instance, I don't really think it's necessary for the mafia guys to have much roundness (though I "love" the history of Harriet!). People like Frankie, Baldie, and Louis though? We don't hear much of their back story. Quite alright, though.I'm interested in why this is a series though. This seemed very completed, full circle. I'm not sure a sequel would benefit. However, I HAVE to read it. I will jump on it the moment that it comes out! Excellent.Copy received by netgalley.com
This book is dark and mean as a snake. The story of a girl who can, by mere touch, see her subject's future death in its entirety, is positively riveting on a visceral level. She meets a trucker, a nice man, definitely not her type... but when she shakes his hand, she knows that he will die because of her and her name will be the last thing he says. The characters are no more than silhouettes but those shadows have substance and come to life. Chuck Wendig tells a gritty and cruel tale, leaving you gasping and begging for more. This is the stuff of nightmares. I can hardly wait for book two. Definitely not for the faint of heart but pretty damned good.
When Miriam Black touches someone, she sees how they will die. Most of the time, it's of natural causes and in old age. However, sometimes it's violent and very soon. Driven by a sense of shame and, frankly, finances, she crisscrosses the country in search of these soon-to-happen deaths. She stalks the nearly departed and, after they die, she robs the corpse. Not a pleasant career choice to be sure but, on the upside it keeps her in food and cigarettes. On the downside, though, she's not sure if she's just a witness to something she cannot change or if, in some way, she's causing it. Still, it's a living and a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.She is, in fact, one of the most foul-mouthed, low-life, slutty protagonists you are ever likely to meet in literature. Her attitude is as black as her name and she's not afraid to use violence to get what she wants. Yet, underneath all her black camouflage, one can sense the heart of a vulnerable, frightened little girl and it's hard not to root for her.On one of her cross-country jaunts, she meets Louis, a gentle giant of a trucker. She sees his death, a particularly violent one, but she also sees that she is somehow involved, this time not just as an onlooker but as a participant although she can't suss out what her role will be. Unfortunately, her unorthodox lifestyle has attracted the attention of some unsavoury characters and now she's determined to beat the crap out of fate for a change and save Louis.Blackbirds is like nothing I have ever read before. In many ways, it reminded me of a graphic novel. For one thing, it is uber-violent and blood soaked. The characters all exist on the periphery of society - cons, drug dealers, drifters, and truckers who live their lives in ratty motel rooms, surviving on booze, cigarettes, and crappy takeout. They are constantly on the move looking for the next big score or next big load, and doing whatever it takes to get them through the night.Blackbirds is dark, depressing and oh, so engrossing. it is an action-packed kill-a-minute thrill ride spewing blood and vitriol across every page and it is definitely not for the weak of heart or stomach. If you want sunshine and lollipops, stay away but if you enjoy a walk on the seamy side of life, this one's for you.
100 word review: Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig 100 word reviews, books, reviews No Responses » EditJun 082012 Wendig¿s shouty prose leaps from his blog and straight into the mouths of his characters with effortless grace. We dig into the filthy underclass of middle America, inhabiting Jarmuschian territory with grace: The road, white-trashhood, truckers, motels, lighthouses, roadside bars and death. Lots of death.Miriam Black knows when you will die. This leads her into lovely, uncertain, and nasty company. If you can leap past a couple of ¿not sure I buy it¿ moments, you¿re in for a rollicking read which does make you beg, bloody and bewildered, for more. This is worth it for the @JoeyHifi Cover alone.
Loved this book! I wouldn't say that the character development was great, but it definitely always kept me guessing. Very graphic, so if you're squeamish I wouldn't recommend this book. If you're looking for a dark book with a sassy main character, some creepy killers, and a few good laughs this may be the book for you.
I’ve read a lot of reviews where the reviewer is disappointed with the romance. I’ll state right now that this IS an urban fantasy, but it’s one with grit and a complex character that I couldn’t help but love and hate at the same time. It starts out in a seedy motel where one might mistaken Miriam Black as a hooker waiting for her John in the shower. But instead, she’s waiting for him to die. I’ll admit, I was attracted to this novel due to the epic book trailer. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Miriam is, quite simply, a train wreck. You can’t help but love her perseverance, her shocking quips and her illusions of being a free spirit. At the same time you hate her. She makes every wrong decision you can think of. All the problems could have been solved but then the novel would be rather short. As the book progresses, we are given a look into Miriam’s dark side and what makes her the way she is – visions and all. I’m giddy to find out the why’s. The book was quick-witted, full of random facts and imaginative similes. It was a fast read with short sentences and not a single wasted word.
Amazing book <3 the characters are so well written and raw.
Starkly original and freshly grim, Blackbirds is a unique urban fantasy featuring a terrified young woman trying to outrun herself and her "gift" of seeing people's deaths in crystal-clear detail. Miriam has been living on the run since she was a young teenager, and her life is really rough and scary. She sees herself as a scavenger to Death, taking only what she needs to keep running. In the past she's tried to prevent the deaths she sees, but she only ends up being the catalyst to the death, creating a sense of fatalism and inevitability. She's existing, but not living. The book doles out snippets of Miriam's past, right before her ability manifested, and it's as mean and sad and grim as her current life. Miriam is a quirky woman, and when she talks the words flow out of her like lava from a volcano. The steady, thick river of stream-of consciousness profanity and uncensored thoughts, chock-full of brutal honesty and a fatalistic perspective is almost involuntary, and I thought this was a glimpse of Miriam's true self that she normally kept bottled up. Blackbirds is really the chronicle of Miriam waking up from her self-centered, self-pitying life of horror and grief, and acknowledging a connection with another human being. What I loved is that Miriam doesn't turn chipper, kind, or gracious. This is a girl with a brittle, rough center to match her exterior. But her journey from passive witness to fighting participant, also mirrors her first real attempt to confront herself and what's inside of her. She's slowly figuring out that she can't control it, but she can control how she reacts to her gift. As tough and harsh as Blackbirds is, I found it compelling and fascinating. I had to keep reading to learn about Miriam's past, and to find out how she was involved in her vision of Louis' death. A unique, powerful and original book - highly recommended.
I fell for how human the 'hero' is despite her fantastic ability. With the Wendig's skill, I am drawn into the story despite some times in the plot I did felt characters around her might be a little cliché, my absolute adoration of her-- bad habits and self loathing-- was addictive. I am on his third installment, both she and HE get better and better. I love them both with like a FEDISH-- I can't believe it hasn't hit mainstream. I have bought this book for friends and given it as gifts because it deserves attention.
Excellant book, I had not read anything before by this author. I will be going back for more. Sit down and hang on, its a fast read. Slightly twisted, but hey, aren't we all?
Unique story and characters. A fun & interesting read