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Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

book review, review, nos4a2, joe hill, horror, book, books


Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland… more

My Rating:

There’s a vampire stealing children and taking them to a place called Christmasland, only, Christmasland isn’t a real place, not on any map. This is the warped and mindful world of Joe Hill’s novel NOS4A2.

Hill has created a supernatural expertise similar in tone to his father’s shining works; they even mention each other’s works in the books they released on the same year. For King, it was the long awaited sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. This makes total sense, because it is infinitely apparent how his father has influenced him, and how he has at last broken out from under his dad’s shadow. In doing so, he can actually embrace his heritage freely now, having proved himself to be more than just a grandfathered-in talent. None of this is surprising, of course, and the hints towards his parents previously published works is, in my opinion, an endearing and heartwarming tease that puts a smile on my face.

The story leaps in time and between the lives of the children that go missing, the story of Charles Manx and his Rolls Royce Wraith scouring the country in search of children, and one of the other-worldly talented people, Vic McQueen. The slow tell and the two-part timeline of this ultimate epic horror saga burns with intensity that keeps the reader wanting to come back for more. It’s incredibly interesting, and the reveal of how the world of these oddly gifted people all interconnect is true storytelling at its best.

As we move from the childhood of Vic in the 80’s, through to her teenage years, where she falls into a bit of trouble, we learn how her abilities affect her, and push her outside of being normal. Being normal and fitting in is a huge part of childhood and definitely instrumental in one’s teens. The humanity of this progression makes her end fall from grace believable. On the other hand, the other character we meet with similar abilities, albeit in another form, has a fall from grace that seems empty and over the top. There could be more that happened in the life of the Scrabble reading psychic, Maggie, but those trials are not expounded on in the book. Plus, she is a character who isn’t sufficiently utilized, because she is an immediately lovable character who deserves more than what she got.

On the subject of more, the amount of pain, tumbles, injuries, explosions, beatings, and near brushes with getting caught in the end game, caused the final flip of the page to fall a bit short, even to leave a slightly sour taste. That being said, the book is so incredibly marvelous overall, this is a singular comment for the overall greatness of this inventive horror.

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