NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2

The first time I saw this book, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to get what the title was supposed to be. Like an hour later I was like “OHHHH, I get it! Nahs-for-ah-tu.” Duh, Sarah.

So, what is NOS4A2 about? So, Victoria McQueen has grown up with a special talent – any time she needed to find something, she could ride her bike over a bridge that no longer existed and instantly come out to the location of whatever she was looking for. I know, cool right? Except that there’s a bad man named Charlie Manx, who has a talent similar to hers. But he kidnaps children in his old Rolls Royce called the Wraith, and drives them off to a fantastically-creepy place he calls Christmasland, where they lose their humanity but get to live forever and ever and do whatever fun things they want. One day Victoria goes looking for trouble and finds Charlie Manx, and she becomes the first child to ever get away from the terrifying playground that exists in his head.

Now it’s years later, and Vic has a child of her own. But Charlie Manx is back, and he’s coming to take her son to Christmasland.

That’s an abbreviated summary, you can look at Amazon or something if you want a bit more detail. But yeah, a kidnapper who steals kids to an evil place called Christmasland! I started reading this right around Christmas, and considering I was in a non-festive mood, it was kind of perfect for me. It’s creepy, and disturbing, and makes the thought of snowman and Christmas ornaments kind of unsettling. At first, I didn’t really like where Joe Hill was going with Vic’s character, and then somewhere along the line I was totally sympathizing for her and rooting for her. There’s an impressive little spread of secondary characters that worm their way into your affections.  And I liked the idea behind the special talents that some people have – I won’t get into it because sometimes that stuff is more fun to discover for yourself, but it’s a cool idea. There were some really great, beautiful passages in here too, which I’m intending to write down but will probably forget to. But they’re marked in my copy.

I enjoyed NOS4A2 – pretty much flew through it because I sat for good 2-hour long stretches totally absorbed in it. BUT. I will say this – I liked Horns by Joe Hill better. I don’t know why… I just did. Horns grabbed my emotions more. And maybe because NOS4A2 does have more of a creepy, scary factor to it, and while I enjoyed it, horror isn’t usually my jam.

Anyways, thanks, Joe Hill. In a weird way, this was the perfect holiday read for me this year. And kudos on working a nerdy reference to Firefly in there.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

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20 comments

  1. Joe Hill is one of my favorites. I loved NOS4A2. I loved Horns. I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation of Horns. I was so excited when Shia Labeouf was dropped from casting and replaced by Daniel Radcliffe. I have no idea when it will be released, but I am looking forward to it.

    NOS4A2 is kind of a perfect Christmas read.

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    1. Whooooa, Shia Lebeouf and Daniel Radcliffe both seem like bad picks! Although I don’t have any particular fondness for either of them, so maybe that’s why. I feel like Radcliffe will always be Harry Potter to me, which isn’t really fair to him, but oh well. I still can’t wait to see it!

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  2. I’m reading this at the moment too. I love Vic and supporting characters like Maggie, and the Shorter Way bridge and Maggie’s Scrabble bag are genius. Finding Bing’s chapters make me feel sort of… unclean. I’m finding him worse than Manx because you get to see inside his head which is a very disturbing place indeed! *shudders*

    Firefly reference, you say? I haven’t got that far yet. I APPROVE MOST HEARTILY!

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  3. Well, thank you for spelling out what the title means because I COMPLETELY missed that. I just thought “licence plate” and left it at that.

    I really want to read this! I would have read it anyway, on account of Joe Hill, but your review made me really *excited* to read it. Sounds wonderfully creepy.

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  4. This is the best recap I’ve seen for this book and it sounds really good! Not something I’d normally pick up, but since I had this amazing recurring dream as a kid where I would crawl through a hollowed out log to get to this amazing playplace in the woods, I think I’ll enjoy it. Or, it will ruin my childhood dreams, but that’s okay.

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  5. I totally didn’t get the title of the book until I read it out loud. Then I had my “oh…OOOOH” moment. Good times.

    I recently found a copy of this on sale and can’t wait to check it out. Even if it’s not quite as good as Horns.

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  6. The first time I saw this book, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to get what the title was supposed to be.

    Oh thank God! I thought I was the only one. I was about halfway through when my boyfriend looked after and said “Is that a vampire book then?” and I was all “Huh? Oh! OH!” Yeah, not my finest moment.

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    1. Well I’m glad I’m not alone! I showed the book to my bf and told him that at first I didn’t get the title, and of course he got it right away… he’s used to me doing stuff like that, sadly.

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