This book was just plain fun. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. I started N0S4A2 when I was on a long drive with my boyfriend. I will admit that we both laughed at how crazy and unrelated everything in the novel seemed to be. A little girl can ride her bike across an imaginary bridge and find lost objects, there’s a vampire-like kidnapper on the loose, and there’s a seemingly psychic librarian who is a Scrabble whiz. What the hell is going on? Stick with it, my friends. After about a hundred pages I was totally hooked.
Because this novel is a bit thriller-y I don’t want to give much away. The little girl with the magical bike is Victoria McQueen, and she is our protagonist. She’s also a badass. She is as imperfect as it gets, but I grew to love her so much. In fact, all the main characters were written well. I want to be Vic, I fell in love with Lou, and I want Maggie as my best friend. The villains were sufficiently creepy too. Also, it hasn’t happened for a while (probably since reading the Song of Ice and Fire series), but I genuinely feared for my favorite characters. I had a feeling that this wasn’t the kind of book that would have a perfectly happy ending, and I was right. Joe Hill isn’t afraid to kill off his carefully crafted characters.
As I mentioned earlier, the plot sounds a little wacky, especially if you were expecting a traditional thriller. I would classify this as surreal horror, personally. Whatever you want to call it, it works. Of course the heroes get a little lucky, and of course the villains aren’t always doing the best thing to stop our heroes. Still, there isn’t anything that is particularly unbelievable. There is a fair amount of gore, but the novel did not scare me (and I consider myself a chicken). My main feelings while reading were anxiety for my favorite characters and curiosity about what happens next. The novel is very atmospheric, and it does the creepy Christmas theme extremely well.
I do feel a little bad that I haven’t read a Stephen King novel yet, but I just read a book by his son. Oh well! I do have 11/22/63 on my shelf…