The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig

January 6, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Cormorant by Chuck WendigThe Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
Published: December 31st 2013 by Angry Robot
, 384 pages
Series: Miriam Black #3
Genres: Urban Fantasy
GoodreadsThe Book DepositoryBooktopiaBookworld
Source: Publisher
Reading Challenges: 2014 Sequel Challenge
Rating: 4 Stars
Miriam is on the road again, having transitioned from "thief" to "killer".

Hired by a wealthy businessman, she heads down to Florida to practice the one thing she's good at, but in her vision she sees him die by another's hand and on the wall written in blood is a message just for Miriam. She's expected ...

Miriam’s back, b*tches! And she’s out for blood.

I have loved this series from the moment I picked up Blackbirds, but I somehow always manage to convince myself that Chuck’s books aren’t as raw as I remember them. I say to myself, surely you didn’t actually cringe when that person died, or feel nauseous when Miriam did that. And always, I pick up the next book and am hurled into the black world of Miriam Black and remember that yes, these books are that gritty.

Miriam is a wonderful protagonist – she just won’t quit and underneath her blasphemous, callous nature there is a person who wants to do right by the world no matter how many times she’s kicked down. I like that about her. This book sees her manage without Louis, and take on the sickest, scariest villain yet. Her enemy torments her, leaving messages for her in his murders, taunting her to come and find him. And finally, he forces a bloody confrontation I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Aside from the kick-butt protagonist, the other strength of this novel is Wendig’s writing style – alternating between Miriam’s sharp words and her tortured inner thoughts. I find this series stylistically brilliant – the words crackle with electricity and mirror the protagonist perfectly.

Wendig’s skill in storytelling is matched with a plot line that packs a punch – it never slows down and forever tantalises readers with glimpses of the larger picture. Aside from all the action, adventure and killing, I like that the author has chosen to frame this book around Miriam’s interrogation by the FBI. There are really two stories that are being told here – that of Miriam before she was apprehended, and what is happening to her as she recounts her story. Clever stuff!

My complaints are minor – I want Louis back, I wanted more growth in the mother-daughter relationship, and I thought the episode with Gabby, although aptly highlighting a kinder side of Miriam, was largely unfocussed.

There is a lot more to come in Miriam Black’s story. She has unearthed a clue about the origins of her strange power, has met people cursed with similarly horrifying talents, and is on her way to find out more. I’m looking forward to the next book!

If you like dark urban fantasies tinged with blood and murder, Wendig’s Miriam Black books are perfect for you. And if you think there’s no way you’d want to read them, I still urge you to try – you, like me, may find something that keeps you coming back for more in these novels.

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