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Mockingbird Mass Market Paperback – August 28, 2012
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About the Author
Chuck Wendig is equal parts novelist, screenwriter, and game designer - A.K.A. an all-around "freelance penmonkey." You can probably find him on the side of a highway holding a sign, "Will Write For Booze." He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with wife, dog, and infant heir to the Wendig throne. You can find him dispensing dubious writing advice at his blog, terribleminds.com. Chuck was nominated for the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
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In this installment, Miriam is surrounded by her peers, at least in terms of maturity :) She is asked by Louis to help a friend, one who is convinced she is dying soon. Said friend is a teacher at a school for troubled girls (a school Miriam really fits right in to), and through several accidental touches with some of the students, Miriam learns some scary s***. Something big, bad, and ugly is after these girls.
It was nice this time around to see a more caring side of Miriam. Although her oftentimes fruitless quest to change fate gets her more and more over the line in terms of morality, it was nice to see just how far she'd fight for someone she deemed an innocent. And dare I say, she ended her current battle with a few friends. Our Miriam? With friends? You don't say. Of course, she probably won't start exchanging Christmas cards or even meeting for a lunch date, but they're friends nonetheless.
Also interesting this time around was more of Miriam's past was revealed. It's oftentimes quite heartbreaking and lends more of some understanding to see how someone grows into the bitter, crass person that Miriam is. And she still cares, maybe not openly, but it's easier to see why she's defensive. All of her 'endearing' traits - the humor, the insults, the inability to put down roots, are all a product of where she came from and what she's endured. Bottom line - Miriam feels and feels deeply, and her defense mechanisms equal her survival.
I loved the baddie and I equally loved the comparison - is what they do any different from what Miriam does? Regardless of intention, regardless of one being "right" vs "wrong", at the end of the day isn't it really the same? That gave Miriam something to think about and the wheels are already turning in her vodka-soaked sponge of a brain.
I would like to say Mockingbird ended on a high note and I guess in a way, it did. Miriam is back to doing what she knows and I do hope at some point she finds a balance between how she can still be mostly herself while having her "protector" by her side. Although at this point, she and her protector are looking like the poster children for co-dependent relationships, but I do wish them well, warts and all.
I really liked Blackbirds, it was dark, bloody, and as foul as an open sewer but I just couldn't stop myself from reading. This book was way better for me. Now that Miriam has got that pesky, 'I can't change anything so why bother' out of the way she is free to not take the deaths she sees lying down. She knows how to balance the scales and isn't afraid to do so. We start with Miriam living in a tiny trailer as Louis' dark little girlfriend. I had to laugh at anyone thinking Miriam would just accept being kept like that even if she deludes herself into thinking that being domesticated might not be so bad. Working for minimum wage while wearing gloves to avoid your gift? Hilarious in a, 'terrible idea sort of way'. When you avoid using your gift things are bound to blow up in your face and the incident at her work proves why you don't hide your little light under a bushel no.
I loved her so much better when she wasn't trying to hide what, or who she is. The whole premise of the story is so much darker than Blackbirds as Miriam races to save the wayward girls at a private school from a very sinister serial killer. The killer was absolutely terrifying and like Blackbirds the plot flies along and is quite twisted, though the twists were a bit less obvious than the first book. I really liked the fact we get more depth to Miriam this time as well. Her family life and powers origins were well done and went a good way to making her more densely layered without taking away any of the foul language and brutal attitude I have come to expect. I liked Louis a little better in this book as well, though he is still a mostly stereotyped teddy bear who will do anything for Miriam. Still a really good story if you are not turned of by blood and mayhem or if you just like to watch a nasty train wreck where body parts get flung helter-skelter.