Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig is a perfect example of a modern urban fantasy done right. Wendig blends Miriam Black’s psychic ability to see people’s death with the gritty qualities of every day life to build a believable world with real-life monsters.
Miriam is a twenty-something just trying to fit in, but deep down she knows she never will. Her ability to see when and how a person will die by the simple touch of a hand or arm inhibits Miriam from ever living a normal life. It’s when her on-again off-again lover, Louis, offers Miriam a gig at Caldecot, an all-girls correctional school, that both Louis and Miriam’s lives start sailing at full speed. In addition to telling one of Caldecot’s teachers when she’s going to die, Miriam crashes into a few students who show her just how sick a serial killer can be. She takes it upon herself to stop the serial killer, while Louis takes on the job of keeping Miriam safe.
Wendig really melds the world of the supernatural and natural together quite well. I found myself really believing that it could be possible for a person to see how another person will die. The author offers up well-rounded characters that are in no way stagnant. The only issues I had with the book are that some of the chapters felt like they were cut short, and I wanted to know a little more about a few second-tier characters.
Mockingbird is such a good stand-alone novel that I had no idea it was part of a series until after I researched the author when I finished reading. I haven’t read the first book in Wendig’s Miriam Black series, but I can tell you that I’m so impressed by Wendig’s story-telling that I’m buying the Kindle edition sometime in the next few days.
I’m always impressed when a novel can be well-contained, yet leave the reader wanting more. Mockingbird offers so many different qualities that anyone with a thirst for the unknown can end the book being satisfied. Between the ever-changing characteristics of Miriam and the gritty details of life on the run, mixed with strong, forceful language and whit, I can say that I couldn’t be more pleased with Wendig’s novel. I’m now even more pleased by knowing that this is a series, not a stand alone novel. A word of caution, though: this novel is pretty graphic with descriptions, content, and language, but for me, it was worth it.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Angry Robot. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.