By Joe Hill
Paperback, 692 pages
2013, William Morrow
Victoria McQueen discovered at a young age that when something really needed to be found, she could get on her bicycle and ride through a covered bridge, always coming out right where she needed to be. Charles Manx has a car with a strange power too – he can use it to bring children to a world he calls Christmasland. While on the road his powers and imagination suck the life out of the children, transforming them into soulless monsters, much like their kidnapper. One day Victoria goes riding for trouble and stumbles upon Manx’s house – she’s the only child who ever escaped him and he’s determined for revenge.
What I liked:
For those of you who may not know, Joe Hill is Stephen and Tabitha King’s son and his writing reminded me very much of Stephen’s, but with a little more dark humor. I stumbled upon this book at the store, knowing who Joe was, and after reading the premise, decided to give it a go. While horror isn’t my typical genre, I don’t regret picking up this book. I was intrigued by the plot and quickly pulled in by Victoria, affectionately known to her father as “The Brat.” She is a brat, but a likeable one and while I wasn’t sure yet what was going to happen, I knew I was on her team.
This book was exciting! I liked Joe’s action scenes, and I often I felt tempted to skip ahead a few paragraphs to try to glimpse what was going to happen, ease some of my tension. It was also very creepy and Manx is a fantastic villain – I could easily picture him in my head and he gave me goosebumps! I love how Hill (much like his father) brings magical elements into our everyday world, creating a version of our reality that I found believable.
I learned a new word too! Caesura – noun; break, interruption.
I found several quotes along the way that I liked. I’ll share two favorites:
“What’s good stays good no matter how much of a beating it takes.”
“Everyone you lost was still there with you, and so maybe no one was ever lost at all.”
Pro tip: Make sure you read through the acknowledgements and on to the ‘A note on the type.’
What I didn’t like:
Charles Manx! But of course, I wasn’t supposed to. And really he made an excellent villain. In all seriousness, the only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was Vic, at the end. I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt like her tolerance for physical pain was nearly superhuman.
If you’re a horror fan or a Stephen King fan, definitely give NOS4A2 a shot! I know I plan on reading more of Hill’s work.
And now, bonus pictures, because this book had some excellent little design details.