NOS4R2 by Joe Hill

So I purely picked this up due to the tv release coming up and super glad I did! NOS4R2 is an original and inventive story despite the classic trope of a terror in childhood coming back to haunt you. While it does feel like we’re in the same universe as Stephen King’s work (we have a few references that pay homage to King’s stories) King doesn’t get in the way of Hill’s storytelling.

Our main character Vic McQueen isn’t wholly likable at the start but she grows into such a badass and is a very cool heroine. She doesn’t fit the conventional image of a hero – instead drinks swears, has lots of tattoos. Vic is strong without being over the top, she has limitations but when it comes time to take the big bad down she kicks ass… realistically.

I loved her relationship with her husband and really felt like her adult life was fleshed out instead of solely focusing on her flashbacks as a child (you know where all the bad stuff happens).

I also really enjoyed the way Hill portrayed Vic’s ‘crazy’ We the reader know she isn’t – we believe that she can travel between places but I liked the way she struggled with her mind making excuses and explanations for things it didn’t believe possible through. Even more to her acceptance of her ability. I also really enjoyed the way Hill deals with Vic’s depression and addiction especially as she uses her creativity as a coping mechanism.

Both Vic’s son and husband Lou were great characters who didn’t take over Vic but had their own voices while still letting Vic shine as our main heroine. I also love love loved Lou’s little references throughout the book. #fireflymoment

Charlie Manx was a superb villain. Hilarious while being completely terrifying at the same time. His is a twisted vision of eternal happiness and youth – he just wants to make unhappy children happy by taking them to Christmasland. While Manx is our big bad, his helper Bing certainly has the more horrifying scenes and as his accomplice possibly more scary.

Manx has been at this a long time and hasn’t been caught until Vic. It is interesting the way he feels about her – he has no remorse for taking any of the children but it is important to note that he is not a pedophile – he above all doesn’t want children to grow up too soon, he believes he is saving them.

Nos4r2 is confident in its themes of unconditional love overcoming adversity, the death of innocence. I loved the way the end of the chapter interlinks with the title of the next chapter. I thought that was really well done and certainly made me keep on reading until forced to put down! The chapters are fairly shortish though the book length is long which makes for easy reading.

While a slow burn novel, Hill builds fear subtly. I loved the character development of Vic and the way Hill leads us up to the final fight. I did, however, think we would have benefitted to have seen her explore Christmasland a little more or maybe to have interacted with more of the trapped souls there. However, the actual end with Lou I thought was really well done.

Though NOS4R2 reminded me a lot of Stephen King he certainly has his own voice and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next from Joe Hill. But in the meantime, I’m really amped for the new season and you can watch the trailer here.

ABOUT NOS4R2

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

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