{Review} Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

{Review} Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

The only thing I truly know about my future is the inevitability of my death. Like everyone else, I’d prefer that the time and manner of my death be peaceful, painless… and postponed for as long as possible. But perhaps that’s not to be. I don’t know the future.

But what if we could know the future?

In the case of a fluid future, in which our decisions could change the outcome, we’d all like to think that we’d act in a noble, self-sacrificing manner (see: Kyle Chandler, Early Edition).

Why yes, we do use any and all excuse to include a gratuitous photo of Coach Eric Taylor on this blog. Whereas a lot of us would more likely act in a self-serving manner (see: Biff, Back to the Future Part II).

Why yes, we do use any and all excuse to include a gratuitous photo of Coach Eric Taylor on this blog. Whereas a lot of us would more likely act in a self-serving manner (see: Biff, Back to the Future Part II).

Regardless, in both of these situations, humans have the ability to change the course of the future, for better or worse. They make choices. Their choices affect the outcome. The outcome can be changed again by taking yet another course.

They have control.

But when we don’t have control (or don’t believe we have control), us human beings tend become self-loathing and self-destructive (see: addicts).

Such is the case of Miriam Black, the awesomely badass, foul-mouthed lead character in Chuck Wendig’s novel Blackbirds. 

Via skin-to-skin contact, Miriam can see how and when a person dies—in exquisite, excruciating detail that includes lurid sound effects. And quite frustratingly, she cannot do a thing to change these deaths. It’s fated. The future is static.  Now, I can’t speak for the rest of y’all, but  if I were in that situation, I would be pretty fucking far from okay (Ving Rhames voice). Thus,

[Miriam] hates the sun. Hates the blue sky. The birds and the bees can go blow each other in a dirty bathroom.

She also smokes nonstop, drinks heavily, and allows a lot of Inessential Penises (TM Laini Taylor) to enter her body. She subsists on an itinerant lifestyle by getting to where she knows someone will die and subsequently scavenging their money. She cannot bear to be close to anyone.

Because, hey, what’s the point? Why bother, since every moment of every life, including her own, is not just beyond her control, but meticulously predetermined?

But in North Carolina, Miriam encounters Louis, a kind trucker, while kicking ass (literally) on the side of the highway during a hitchhike gone bad. She discovers that Louis will meet a grisly death in 30 days. As a direct result of meeting her.

Miriam must decide if Louis, a man with, “…a handful of redeeming traits like honor and integrity and honesty and other positive qualities that are generally foreign to [her],” is worth the attempt to thwart fate. 

And thus begins a visceral, blood-pumping (sometimes a lot of blood pumping out of someone’s body) ride filled with (minor spoiler alert) the obligatory Big Bad, his burned-out henchman, his amusingly sadistic henchwoman, an ironically named blackmailing conman and a mysterious metal suitcase. 

Make no mistake about it. Blackbirds is not an ethereal muse on the meaning of life, nor is it polished, philosophical magnum opus. 

Instead, It is outrageous flurry of outlandish violence (see: Tarantino) and crude profanity (see: Clerks, Eastbound and Down), tempered by irreverent wit (see: Boondock Saints). If any of those examples offend your proclivities, perhaps Blackbirds is not for you.

But, damn it all, I found it PROFOUNDLY fun to enter Chuck Wendig’s House of WTF in order to find out if “maybe there’s something fate can’t touch.” I will most definitely be back for more when the next installment hits shelves in August.

FNL Character Rating: Tyra during the Powderpuff football game when she stupendously goes all HAM on Lyla Garrity.

Note: Pre-order Blackbirds before the Tuesday, April 24, 2012 release date and take advantage of this extremely cool promotion.

{Buy Blackbirds at Amazon BN Book Depository Powell’s}

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I received a copy of Blackbirds from the publisher via Net galley. No goodies or other compensation were received in exchange for this honest review.

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