Miriam Black is back. Irreverent and sardonic as ever. I don’t know how Chuck Wendig manages to find that balance of brash irreverence without taking it too far, but he is a master. I’ll also be honest, while still good, I did have a couple issues with Mockingbird, the second Miram Black book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. I loved Blackbirds and really liked Mockingbird, but this third one blew away my expectations, or rather maybe Miriam put them in their place with a good dose of foul language and bad assery. In other words, I absolutely loved it.
Miriam’s character, once again is wonderfully complex. And wonderfully blunt. I think part of the reason I love reading her so much is she gets to do and say all the things that I wish could. Well, I guess technically I could, but I like to function in society, so that holds me back a bit more than Miriam. But she is more than just her attitude. She is given a very morose ability, power or curse, depending on how you choose to label it. To see death before it happens, to always associate a person’s end with who they are while they live, it has to mess with someone’s mind and their ability to form relationships. She has the internal conflict of feeling powerless, yet wanting to prevent some of these deaths. Even if they are not preventable, who wants to see that?
As we learned in the previous books, there is one way to prevent some deaths, but that means that Miriam must take the life of another to fill deaths place. Like there is some grim reaper quota that she is able to swap one death for another. While Miriam is far from Miss Manners, I do think she is a good person. She is given this dilemma, the power to choose one life over another and to do so, to take the replacement life (death). Does this make her a hero? Saving those who would die wrongly, at the hands of another? Or does it make her a serial killer? That’s a tough question to answer. Personally, I like to think of her as closer to hero. Kind of a justified robin hood style serial killer.
Miriam’s latest death vision includes an eerie and disturbing message. A message meant just for her and written in blood. As if the death visions don’t mess with her mind enough, now she has someone toying with her in them.
In this book, there are multiple timelines. In one, she is being questioned as if a she is a serial killer. And from there, she looks back at her story up to that point, how she came to see the message in that death vision and what to her from there to the point of questioning, which as you imagine is full of some seriously fucked up shit with Miriam stuck in the middle of it.
I highly recommend this one, I think it may have taken seat as my favorite of Chuck Wendig’s books and put the fourth Miriam Black on my must read list (please tell me there will be a fourth!). So, yeah, go read it. Miriam once again kicks ass.
The Cormorant will be released December 31st by Angry Robot Books. Many thanks to the Angry Robot and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.