Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review of NOS4A2


I've just finished this novel, like not five minutes ago. The only thing standing between me finishing it and writing this review is choosing another book which feels like having not enough money in an Oreo store that carry all the different kinds; and closing my window because a thunder storm suddenly erupted above my house.

It's late, but not too late to get a start on getting a grip on my thoughts about this novel. Since I don't always give myself the time of day to think about a novel once I finished it since there are just too many books I still need to read, this is done best when finishing it still feels lukewarm.

Joe Hill's Nosferatu as it's title in dutch is, a clever pun with the licence plate, I grabbed it in the library, not expecting much of it. Isn't that the best though? That you think you've grabbed a mediocre novel and it turns out to be freaking awesome? I like that, A LOT! Joe Hill delivered. I've read Heart Shaped Box before and I wasn't too thrilled about that particular novel, it felt much like the first novel I read of Clive Barker. Just too strained like everything had a sheen of trying too hard to make it all fit. But enough about the one I didn't like, let's focus on the one I loved!

Nosferatu is about a car, which is definitely a returning trick in the family, but it's mostly about a girl, Victoria,  who can accomplish something extraordinary. But as the supernatural can be scary she denies being able to do it, until it gets her into trouble. Soaked in gasoline and set on fire kind of trouble. She meets a man, the driver behind the wheel of the car marked with the remarkable licence plate, and she knows he can do what she can, albeit with a different take on it.
As time goes by and Victoria, also known as Vic, captures him once but since no one believes in the extraordinary he eventually escapes and he's coming after her with a vengeance. Vic already has a son by that time and you might figure it out, he's her achilles' heel. She goes after his abductor, determined to end everything once and for all.

I loved reading this novel. I know Joe Hill is the son of one of my favourite authors, and since he's writing in the same genre, he has big shoes to fill, but he has his own style which I fell in love with reading this novel. As craftly as King, as ruthless as George R.R. Martin (why did Chris have to die?), but as human as he made his characters. I like the use of the short chapters, also the overlapping chapters when events were seen from different vantage points. The struggle feels real, what wouldn't you do to protect your child? In the beginning a technique I hadn't seen before recurred a couple of times, just enough times to make me wonder if it would go on like that throughout the novel. You've stopped in time, Joe! The first time you notice the last words of a sentence are also the words of the next chapter, is fun, but it takes away the focus on the story and instead it gets pointed to how its written.
But it's only so in the beginning, soon after I was lost in the story and I've loved every bit of it. It was fastpaces, never boring, maybe a little predictable but nothing to shocking, the point is that you know where she's going, the novel isn't about cliffhangers or swift plot turns, it's about the emotional struggle of a woman who thinks she's crazy until the craziness takes her son away. An emotional horror sleigh ride I'll be taking again, and no ticket for me! I've read the thank you's, as I always do.

Well done, Mr Hill, I'll be looking forward to your next novel.

I'm giving this 8 out of 10.

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