Illustrated by: N/A
Published: Gollancz, 2013
Narrated By: N/A
Length: 692 pages
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, Thriller, Fantasy, Supernatural
Where Did I Get It? Bought from Waterstones with my Christmas money!
Summary (from the book blurb): Summer. Massachusetts.
An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business.
Anyone could be next.
We’re going to Christmasland…
NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep. With the horrific tale of Charles Manx and his Silver Wraith, Joe Hill has established himself as the premiere horror and supernatural thriller writer of his generation
Nurse Thornton dropped into the long-term care ward a little before eight with a hot bag of blood for Charlie Manx.
My Review: You know sometimes a book sucks you in so completely that you can’t read anything else for a while afterwards? This was one of those. There was too much rolling round my head at the end to pick up the next book in my pile even though I really wanted to read. I had a NOS4R2 hangover.
I had heard good things about this book from friends and I absolutely loved Horns (totally can’t wait for the film!) so when I received some Waterstones vouchers for Christmas NOS4R2 was one of the first things I grabbed off the shelf. The edition I have has the cover pictured here and I think it is fantastic. Viewed from a distance it looks like a jolly Christmas wreath with a rusty number plate underneath but closer inspection reveals the rust to be suspiciously blood-stain like and the light reflections in the baubles aren’t lights at all, but skulls. It’s joyfully creepy and I love it.
I loved the characterisation in the book – one of the key things in horror, for me anyway, is that I have to care about the cast. If I don’t care about anyone then I don’t particularly care and am not particularly horrified if anything happens to them and theirs. It just turns into aimless gore and people jumping out from behind walls for a cheap scare – okay but nothing that crawls under your skin and haunts you. When the author takes the time to make you care about people in the story though, it’s a whole different ball game because then all manner of emotions can be played with and manipulated to build the suspense: fear, hope, disgust, worry, love, sadness, anger, confusion. All of that together worms its way into your mind and makes everything more effective – even the out and out gorey scenes.
I cried at least three times in NOS4R2 and I stayed up reading into the night a good couple of times purely because I was too creeped out to put it down and go to sleep.
What I liked about the story was that it wasn’t horror in a ‘THE MONSTERS ARE COMING WE HAVE TO SURVIVE’ relentless kind of way, it was a subtle building of fear based on possible insanity, the idea of somebody preying on children and the struggle of just a few people to try and stop something nobody else will believe in. Also the twisting of the goodness of Christmas is a bit creepy in itself.
Charlie Manx is terrifying purely because he believes so completely in what he is doing. There is no remorse in taking the children and he genuinely believes he is ‘saving’ them from everything bad whereas in fact he is stripping them of what makes them human and turning them into something else entirely. And that’s before we even get to the whole multiple rows of razor sharp teeth thing.
I am so glad I have finally picked this up and read it, thanks to Fran for taking it up as the House of Blog July Book Club read and thus bumping it to the top of my reading list!
My Rating: 5/5*