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