Where I got it: I received a galley from Angry Robot through netgalley.com.
It is my personal opinion that 99% of urban fantasy is utter crap. Perhaps it is because so many people write in this genre, but it just tends to have a much higher percentage of badly-written, badly-executed novels.
Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig is not one of those. It almost made me late for work. It almost made me miss my bus. It sucks you in (and no, it’s not a pun, there are no vampires in it, which is perhaps another point in its favor) and does not let go. It is fast-paced and engrossing. It is pretty much everything I look for in a good urban fantasy book.
I have to say that I had not read Blackbirds, which is a the first book in this series. In fact, I didn’t realize there was a prequel when I requested a galley. It didn’t seem to matter in general. There are some flashbacks in Mockingbird that fill in the blanks quite nicely. But it did make me want to read Blackbirds just to add that extra bit of backstory and depth to the characters.
In short: Miriam Black has a curse — when she touches you, she can see how you die. In complete, movie-in-your-head, graphic detail. Add to this some seriously rough shit in her life, and you have somebody very flawed and very disturbed. Miriam is not a nice girl. She has a dirty mouth and an attitude. She will call a spade a fucking spade. And yet there is more to her than just a sharp tongue and irreverence. She tries to use her curse to save some people, to prevent the horrors seen in her visions.
Mockingbird is a veritable parade of ‘damaged and weak’ people. Everyone in it has been screwed over by life and circumstances, but the difference lies in what kind of lemonade they make with their lemons. What kind of person you become and whether your fate is written in stone are in fact the main themes of Mockingbird (yes, I am talking about themes in my review of a genre book — take that, New York Times).
The book is dark. Terrible things happen to people in it. There are gory bits. Some scenes might haunt you. And that’s another great point in favor of Mockingbird — it does stay with you for a while after you reach the last page. You have been warned.
Mockingbird hits the shelf in a couple of weeks. I give it 5 out 5 blackbirds.