Chuck Wendig’s book Blackbirds is filled with crude language and a gritty reality for the main character, Miriam Black. This book was a fun read, providing a nice escape for a few hours, and although it isn’t the best book I’ve ever read in my life, I dont’ feel like it was a waste of time.
Miriam can see when people die. As soon as her skin touches that of someone else, she flashes into the scene of their death, be it in twenty years or two hours. She’s seen it all, from cancer to suicide to the rarest of all, murder.
Over time she’s learned to capitalize on this ability, stalking those whose deaths are near, so she can rob them once they die. Hey, a girl has to eat, right? She learned a long time ago that she can’t change the outcome no matter how hard she tries, so now she just goes with the flow.
Until she meets Louis, a man whose brutal murder in a few weeks is directly because of meeting her. Miriam will do everything she can to save her new friend from this horrible outcome, though based on her past experiences it doesn’t look promising. Can she change what can’t be changed? Can she finally beat Fate at its own game?
First off, I should warn you that this book is very vulgar. Every other sentence is fuck this and cunt that, so if this puts you off, this definitely isn’t the book for you. However, if you can look past the coarse wording, there’s a decently interesting story in there. Seeing how this strange and unique ability shapes the characters’ lives was fun to watch, and there were some very creative deaths in there.
Miriam’s internal struggle is well-done, and I enjoyed seeing how the power she has completely messed her up. Throughout the whole story she deals with her personal demons in different ways, and though the power she has is fantastical, the struggles felt real.
The writing style was enjoyable as well. Told in third person, Blackbirds hops points of view depending on what is most important, and a few times there are some unexpected turns of events that wouldn’t have been nearly as effective if told from different eyes.
And can I just say the cover is rad? It totally captures all the elements of the story, if you look closely at the details. Very cool.
Overall, this story was interesting enough to want me to keep reading, though it definitely wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down. Will I ever read it again? Probably not. Do I feel like I wasted time read it? No, that’s not the case either. This book falls somewhere in the middle between hatred and passion, and so I’d really only pick it up if the premise seems at all interesting to you, or if you just want a fun, easy read.