Blackbirds

By Chuck Wendig

(Angry Robot, 2012, 384 pages)

By Shauna Kosoris

Everyone dies. We all know there’s no getting out of this life alive. For most of us, death is a mystery, something that may strike out of nowhere, or maybe happen gradually from disease.

But not for Miriam Black, the heroine of Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds. With a simple touch, like a handshake, Miriam will see exactly how you are going to die.

And while most people pass away in old age or from freak accidents, there is a small minority who die violent deaths. Louis is one of those people. When Miriam touches the kind truck driver’s hand, she sees him being murdered while calling out her name; this will take place in a month’s time. Miriam knows there’s no fighting fate. But when she discovers that the two people tracking her are working for the man who kills Louis, she knows she’ll have to try.

Blackbirds is a really easy read. Right from the beginning you get sucked into Miriam’s life as a drifter, scavenging from the dead. But the quirky heroine has a certain spunkiness that you just have to admire as she flits from place to place, coping with her power.

Between every couple of chapters, you also get interludes, which complement the main storyline. The first few are an interview between Miriam and a young man named Paul, which gives insight into Miriam’s life prior to the book. Later interludes are stories some of the other characters tell Miriam about their own pasts, creating a much richer experience for the reader.

If you like gritty urban fantasy, Blackbirds is for you.

(Shauna Kosoris is a member of the Thunder Bay Public Library staff.)

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