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NOS4A2: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 30, 2013
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*Starred Review* In Heart-Shaped Box (2007) and Horns (2010), Hill showed hints of an enlarging literary toolbox. With this 700-page opus, the tool set is complete, and Hill has indeed built something very big. The story follows Vic, from 8-year-old girl to troubled teen to embattled mother, as she struggles to survive as a “strong creative”—one who has access (in her case, via a ramshackle bridge) to an alternate universe constructed from imagination. Problem is, a chief attraction of this other America is Christmasland, a snowy Neverland carnival controlled by cheery, ageless child-abductor Charlie Manx (think Bentley Little’s Mailman or Stephen King’s Pennywise). Manx tries to take Vic to Christmasland as a kid, and years later, in the book’s central conflict, he tries to take her son. Hill doesn’t spend much time in reality before careening deliriously off into a la-la land of horrifying absurdism (a bottomless Scrabble bag, a mouth full of fish-hook teeth). This engenders inelegance; at times, the parts are more than the whole. But Hill is omnivorous in his appetite for story and character, and here he has created his best: Lou, Vic’s obese, warm-hearted lover; Bing, Manx’s demented chief elf; and gutsy, heartbreaking Vic. Occasional drawings by Hill’s Locke & Key conspirator, Gabriel Rodriguez, add one more element to this vast and gangly but undeniably readable work. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: What isn’t being done for horror fiction’s heir apparent? Big advertising, big author tour, big e-book teasers, big videos—even the advance reading copies are gorgeously produced. --Daniel Kraus
“Quite simply the best horror writer of our generation, Joe Hill’s masterful storytelling is on full display in NOS4A2. It is by turns terrifying and hilarious, horrifying and full of heart, and relentlessly compelling.” (Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of The Prophet on NOS4A2)
“Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is for certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“[A] new take on the fantasy-horror genre...Highly recommended.” (The Sun Herald (Sydney, Australia))
“[A] lovely, earnest collection of short fiction.” (Village Voice)
“[An] inventive collection . . . brave and astute.” (New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice))
“[A]stounding . . . .Though most of the stories have elements of horror, the overall mood of the collection is one of heartbreaking wonderment . . . Highly recommended .” (Library Journal (starred review))
“[An] undeniably readable work.” (Booklist (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“NOS4A2 is a brilliant exploration of classic and modern monsters and dark fantasties, all cut up, restitched and retooled...With this novel, riveting from beginning to end, Joe Hill has become a master of his craft.” (Publishers Weekly on NOS4A2)
“Fascinating and utterly engaging, this novel is sure to leave readers wanting more. One thing is certain, however. After reading this book, readers will never hear Christmas carols in quite the same way again.” (Library Journal (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“Hill is so skillful that we don’t know till the very end whether he’ll get away with it. . . Hill’s story is quite original and, for horror fans of a certain ironic bent, it’s an unqualified delight.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on NOS4A2)
“NOS4A2 will pull you in from the first pages, and draw you away from your other responsibilities.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“Read it with the lights on and your children locked in a closet.” (BookRiot.com on NOS4A2)
“Hill’s imagination is...far-ranging....NOS4A2 is full of chills and cliffhangers.” (New York Times on NOS4A2)
“[Hill’s] sentences crackle with wit and understated craftsmanship – the kind so skillful it is only visible if you’re paying attention.” (The Globe and Mail on NOS4A2)
“Joe Hills NOS4A2 is one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time--and I mean that in a good way.” (Tampa Bay Times on NOS4A2)
“Hill’s well-stocked bag of narrative tricks keeps the pages moving at a steady clip, and his characters are sufficiently melodramatic to make the book’s scale feel both intimate and operatic. In fact, if you’re an impressionable reader, stick to reading ‘NOS4A2’ during the day. ” (Richmond Times-Dispatch on NOS4A2)
“Words of warning for those who pick up this hefty, 704-page saga: You’ll never listen to Christmas carols the same way. Or sleep with the lights off.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram on NOS4A2)
“Like any good novel, no matter the genre, NOS4A2 zips down the streets of its mesmerizing story line not just in the Wraith but also, and more importantly, on the backs of high-octane characters...Hill imbues the pitter-patter of little feet with a terror you won’t soon forget.” (USA Today, 4 stars)
“NOS4A2 is a masterwork of horror.” (Lev Grossman, Time magazine)
“NOS4A2 and its story of a heroic biker chic going up against an old vampire should grab you by the lapels and give y ou a few good shakes before setting its hooks in--and deep....Hill...puts together a riveting tale.” (St Louis Today on NOS4A2)
“Joe Hill can terrify. he can humor. He can sadden. He can shock. His characters are deep and vibrant, his plots mesmerizing, his prose genuine. Simply put, he’s a damn good writer.” (Writer's Digest on NOS4A2)
“NOS4A2 is [Hill’s] longest and most ambitious work yet. . . utterly absorbing.” (Seattle Times)
Top customer reviews
The characters shined. Vic is heroic and tragic and strong and all too human. The kind of woman one could fall in love with. The wraith is evil, but he doesnt think it and he puts an interesting spin on child abuse. Louis is an oaf, but he knows how to help best and perhaps really sets his son free. Bruce wayne (no relation) carmody, isnt alive at the start of the novel, but really hes what everyone is fighting for, and the narration shows his inner battke and how it reflects the out conflict.
If there is a flaw to this novel, its that it is too long. 25% of this could have been shaved off, leaving a more succint and equally powerful novel.
Must read. Joe Hill is building a universe here, there is inter connections between this and his previous novels. Makes me want to read the rest of his work, and really pull it all apart to see what it means.
Although he was a supporting character I definitely felt he was somehow more terrifying than the main bad guy, Charles Talent Manx. Another review, I believe, made a great point regarding Bing. Bing believes he's a "good" person and doesn't view his actions as being wrong. He believes he is protecting Charles and winning a spot in Christmasland, which to him is a reward beyond belief.
I won't include any spoilers, but don't let the size of this book turn you off. Invest some time and you won't be sorry!
PS: Loved the other supporting character, Maggie Leigh. I actually wish there was more time spent with her, but overall it was probably the wiser choice to limit the interaction. Oh, maybe a spin-off focusing on Maggie would be possible! What do you think, Joe?
I would highly recommend this book to any Stephen King lovers. I'm ready to try the next Joe Hill book. Thanks, Joe!
Most recent customer reviews
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