Saturday, March 08, 2014

Review: The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

The Cormorant
Author:  Chuck Wendig
Series:  Miriam Black 3
Publisher:  Angry Robot Books
   December 31, 2013 (US/Canada and eBook)
   January 2, 2014 (UK)
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook,
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780857663382 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Miriam is on the road again, having transitioned from “thief”… to “killer”.

Hired by a wealthy businessman, she heads down to Florida to practice the one thing she’s good at. But in her vision she sees her client die by another’s hand – and on the wall, written in blood, is a message just for Miriam.

She’s expected…

File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Plying Her Trade | Inevitable | Touch of Death | No More! ]

Melanie's Thoughts

In The Cormorant, Miriam Black's third story, Chuck Wendig ramps up the action and the tension for the reader. The story starts with Miriam in custody but I didn't know who or why they wanted her. Wendig uses Miriam's custody as the means for telling her story...and boy it is a doozy! Miriam finds herself in Florida on a job to 'see' a client's death but instead she saw a message....a message for her written in the client's blood. It's obvious someone wants her in town and Miriam isn't sure how she is going to get out of this mess. Miriam's mother now lives in Florida and Miriam decides to pay a visit while she is there. Miriam discovers a new and different side to her uber religious mother. Just as she starts to think her life couldn't get any scarier she sees her mother's death in which there is another horrific message from someone from her past. Time is ticking and she hasn't much time to stop the hand of fate.

Miriam is one of those purely unlikeable characters that you just can't help but to cheer for. She is foul mouthed, unrepentant and basically a bit of a 'hot mess'. She stumbles (usually because she has had too much to drink) from one disaster to another and in The Cormorant there are lots of disasters for her to get embroiled in. I thought it was interesting how Wendig had Miriam tell her story while she was in custody. It was a tiny bit confusing at first as there were virtually no clues as to why Miriam had been apprehended or whether or not she was being held by the police, the FBI or the mob. The story also moves from past to present or near present rather seamlessly so I really had to pay attention to make sure I wasn't missing something that would be pivotal to the plot later on. There were a few times when I thought that the plot was a bit dis-jointed but it became clear as the story progressed that Wendig used certain events to develop Miriam's character. Miriam grows as a person and as a character through the story. She continues to learn both the positive and extremely destructive consequences of changing the fate of the person she sees in her visions. She also learns that she is not alone in the world with weird and disturbing powers.

I enjoy Wendig's writing style and really enjoy the Miriam Black series. While gory, gruesome and intense the series just keeps getting better and better. Wendig keeps the reader on their toes throughout The Cormorant as this instalment is action packed from the very start to the very end and has a number of different stories that all culminate into the overall plot. In each review of this series I am always tempted to say that the Miriam Black series is not for the faint hearted but in the case of The Cormorant I really mean it. This instalment veers closer to horror than its urban fantasy roots. There is even an added bonus with this series - check out the covers by Joey Hi-Fi! Endless hours can be spent picking out all the hidden images the covers hold. How many things can you see? This is an excellent series but you really need to start at the beginning with Blackbirds. If you like unlike-able characters, a well executed plot and don't mind a bit of murder and mayhem then this series has it all.


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