This story was such good fun. NOS4A2 features Victoria MacQueen as the female protagonist/heroine within a vampire-ish nightmare. But it isn’t really about vampire. I know “what!” Read my description….or skip down to watch the author describe NOS4A2.
Victoria starts with a unique ability to find lost things. She rides her bike, a Raleigh Tuff Burner, as fast as she can until she finds the short-way covered bridge and suddenly she is wherever the lost object is located. Taking that same bridge she gets back to where she started. She isn’t able to explain this and doesn’t even understand it herself. As Victoria gets older, she finds a woman, named Maggie, who explains how she is able to do this. Maggie, along with her prophesied scrabble tiles, gives her a warning about looking for the wraith.
One day whilst looking for trouble Victoria finds the 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, and it’s owner, Charlie Manx. Charlie is a child abductor who takes children to a place called Christmasland where they never grow old, and are never found again. Victoria is able to escape and her testimony helps put Charlie away for the rest of his life. Years later, Victoria wants to forget all the strange and terrible things that happened to her. Unfortunately, Victoria is all Charlie thinks about. Charlie won’t stop til he gets his revenge on Victoria.
This story takes place over almost Victoria’s whole lifetime. Victoria is surrounded by her parents in her youth, and the love of her life, Lou when as an adult. She grows up tough as hell, with a soft underbelly because she might be as crazy as she thinks. The cast of characters is all encompassing and everyone is wonderfully flawed. The author does a stellar job of making everyone important and memorable. This is one of those stories that sucks you in and makes you root for the heroine.
The premise of this story is terrifying. I am one of those people who love Christmas and the idea of it being a time of horror is terrible. The Wraith won’t play anything by christmas music and through the author’s chilling descriptions I could clearly hear it playing in the background as the children were traveling to Christmasland, aka their doom. I could feel the chill of the cold, the wind in my hair, and the blood on my hands. This is beautifully described. This might be the worst and best thing to read at Christmas time. The worst because Charlie takes Christmas and heartlessly perverts it. The best because Joe Hill entertains thoroughly.
As a bonus: Stephen King fans will find little references throughout this story. Things like the town of Derry, references to Shawshank Prison, and a character’s comparison to True Knot. There is much more, but I will leave that for you to find.
I would highly recommend this to Joe Hill/Stephen King/Horror fans. It has a slight fantastical element that is brilliantly weaved into the story. I am a big fan of Joe Hill and look forward to reading everything he writes.View Spoiler »The ending almost killed me. There will be no more adventures on the Triumph. I deduct a star for ripping my still beating heart out of my chest. « Hide Spoiler
“Innocence ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Innocent little kids rip the wings off flies, because they don’t know any better. That’s innocence.”
“Sooner or later a black car came for everyone.”
“Christmas was almost four months in the rearview mirror, and there was something awful about Christmas music when it was nearly summer. It was like a clown in the rain, with his makeup running.”
“every man loves a hot girl with a history of making mistakes. Because it’s always possible she’ll make one with you.”
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Published by HarperCollins on April 30th 2013
Length: 19 hours and 41 minutes
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Psychological, Thrillers, General
Also by this author: The Fireman
Audiobook provided by The Library
Joe Hill, the acclaimed, award-winning author of the New York Times bestsellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, plunges you into the dark side of imagination with a thrilling novel of supernatural suspense that will have you flinching at shadows and checking the rearview mirror again and again. . . .
Don't slow down
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. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.
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. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.
And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble . . . and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.
But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special—something Vic can never replace.
As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all . . . or die trying. . . .
Joe Hill's acclaimed works of fiction, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and 20th Century Ghosts, have already earned him international acclaim. With NOS4A2, this outstanding novelist—"one of America's finest horror writers" (Time magazine); "a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction" (Washington Post)—crafts his finest work yet. Disturbing, mesmerizing, and full of twisting thrills, Hill's phantasmagoric, devilishly playful masterpiece is a terrifying high-octane ride.