Friday, June 14, 2013

NOS4A2 - Review

NOS4A2 Title: NOS4A2
Author: Joe Hill
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

My thoughts:

Angst. This book caused me to angst. And hard. I also freaked out, couldn't sleep, and when I did it was fitful and in spurts, due to nightmares about the Gasmask Man.  I fretted and debated over things that might possibly happen, and in some cases did happen. I even tweeted Joe Hill, for spoilers, although it was a no go, as I kind of figured. I really wanted a warning about some stuff, because I sure didn't see it coming most of the time.  This book not only scared the pants off me, it also made me cry.

Wow, right? Not what I expected either.  Sure, I expected to be scared. This scared me and disturbed me sometimes to the point I considered abandoning the book! A woman on twitter told me to persevere, so I did. And I am glad that I stuck with it because this book was amazeballs.

NOS4A2 is an amazing journey of love, imagination, and grit.  Grit, because Vic McQueen is one tough cookie.  I loved Vic and her take no prisoner’s attitude, her will, and her determination.  Covered in tattoos, a hard drinking woman at times, who hangs with bikers, Vic is the first female antihero that I have enjoyed reading about since Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Also, is the reader supposed to make a connection between Vic and Steve McQueen? Both ride Triumphs, and share the last name, so I am assuming yes?

Vic. also known as The Brat, and bikes go way back– when she was just a young girl, she desperately wanted a Raleigh Tuff Burner. The store owner laughed and said that maybe when she was older, she could get one.  A few weeks later, her father surprised her with the bike for her birthday, saying she was older now, wasn’t she? (one of my favorite parts of the story!) Vic soon learns that she and her bike together can do something spectacular – when she rides the bike, she is magic. If someone has lost something, she can find it – by riding her bike across a special bridge, one that no longer exists, except in Vic’s memory.  Vic is not the only one able to create these “inscapes” as the author calls them. A librarian in Iowa by the name of Margaret Leigh (a reference to Psycho?) can tell the future with her Scrabble tiles, and Charlie Manx, has his 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith. When Charlie is in his Wraith, he can do things too, just like Vic. But his intentions are not quite as noble.  Charlie kidnaps children and takes them to a place in his mind, called Christmasland. His partner in crime is a murderous manchild named Bing Partrige, who is the Gasmask Man. Bing’s job is to get rid of the pesky parents of the missing children, and Bing uses his imagination too, although in a disturbing, horrible way.

Vic grows up, crossing her bridge when she needs to, although every time she uses it, it takes a toll.  Her home life is dissolving with the divorce of her parents, and her father’s new young girlfriend, that he is living with. Feeling abandoned by her father and angry at her mother, Vic decides to find some trouble.  And she does, trouble that is named Charlie Manx. The showdown does not go well, and Vic barely escapes with her life. On her escape from Manx’s home, the Sleigh House, she runs straight into the arms of morbidly obese biker Lou.  From this meeting on, their lives are intertwined, and the build a dysfunctional life together.  She has not forgotten about Manx and the children, nor has he forgotten about her.

One day, this all comes to a head.  Here the story picks up speed, taking you to the end of the story with Manx and Vic.  I skipped a few pages, I have to admit.  I also cried. I cheered. And after the full range of emotions I experienced reading this book, I finally finished mostly unscathed, and without ending up on the “naughty list”.  The only thing I could have asked for was a bit more about Charlie Manx.

  I found the end to be bittersweet, and perfect. If you are squeamish or easily scared, I would skip this book. But if you like to be scared, like I do, then run to the nearest store or library or the internet, and get this book!


  1. I've been debating about trying Hill. Holy cats, you've talked me into it!

    1. You can hang with the King, you are good. ;)

  2. I cannot wait to read this! I actually received an ARC in April, but the timing didn't feel right. I'm saving this one for fall - September or October when scary books are perfect for the colder nights and blustery days. I've been hearing nothing but amazingly awesome things about it, so I can't wait for fall to get here!

    1. I had the same thought, wait for fall. But I just couldn't do it! I thought I wouldn't get into it as much, since I am a seasonal type reader, but nope .. loved it.


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