On Trial: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Posted September 27, 2014 by Kayla in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review Type:

NOS4A2 Book Cover NOS4A2
Joe Hill
Horror, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
William Morrow
April 30, 2013

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. . . . NOS4A2 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.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

My Impressions:

Joe Hill introduces and develops our main characters until we feel like we know and understand them but the truth is, I never really liked anyone of these characters but Lou. Lou is Vic’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her son Bruce Wayne (who just goes by Wayne). Lou isn’t really a hero type character and doesn’t really save anyone but he is willing to do things even if it means putting others before himself. I don’t really think that Hill intended for us to like Vic but we do still root for her because of her cause, saving her son from Manx.

Vic has a hard time coping with her father leaving her mother around the time she starts high school. Her father was a wife beater. You’d think she’d be glad that her mother wasn’t being beaten any more but no, she is angry at her mother and father and never really has a relationship with either of them.

Bing Partridge is a really gullible person with no self-esteem. He’d do anything for Charlie Manx and is too stupid to realize that Manx has never seriously considered to take him to Christmasland as he has promised. He assists Manx by drugging victims and “taking care” of the parent which is almost always kidnapped at the same time as the child.

Charlie Manx is a psycho in its true sense. He believes he is saving these children from growing old and possibly becoming a lost soul like their parents. He believes in his crazy mind that some day, these parents (who may not even be bad parents) will let their children stray into a life worst than they deserve.

This book was rather long and it did feel like two books put together to make one. In the first half we follow Vic’s childhood as she discovers her hidden talent to find missing things and to discover where things are. This eventually leads her to her encounter with Manx, and almost causes her death. The second part is the Vic after all these events of her life, a broken person, she struggles to figure out what is real and not real especially when she keeps getting phones calls that no one else can hear. She eventually tries to pull her life together (but here comes the cliché) and then Charlie Manx gets hold of her son.

Vic, together with Lou and some other minor characters, will try everything she can to get Wayne back, however, they start doing things the correct way rather late, and it is hard to tell whether Wayne will make it or not. This part was one of the parts that really annoyed me. I didn’t care to learn about every description of what Christmasland was. To me, at the end of the book in the climax, too many descriptions can take away from the readers fulfilment. It is for this reason that I couldn’t give this a perfect score. I did skip a lot of the descriptions and could not really enjoy the end of the book because it was so tormenting to read.

About the Author:

Joe Hill lives in New England. He has won two Bram Stoker Awards and has received the Ray Bradbury Fellowship. He is the author of Heart-Shaped Box, 20th Century Ghosts and the Comics Locke & Key. This particular book is a Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel (2013) and Goodreads Choice Nominee for Horror (2013).

The Verdict:

Highly Recommended

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