Review: The Cormorant / Author: Chuck Wendig / Publisher: Angry Robot Books / Release Date: Out Now
Oh, poor Miriam Black. The foul-mouthed American gutter trash is back, still cursed with the power to know exactly when you’ll die simply by touching you. The Cormorant is the latest adventure featuring the vile yet sympathetic Miriam, a woman who has flipped the bird to fate so many times it’s impossible not to root for her through her alcohol-fuelled, blood-soaked escapades.
Those familiar with the series will know that the central protagonist is literally fated to end up in a big ball of trouble, and this happens early on. She saves some people and as a consequence winds up heading across to Florida to shake hands with a rich man who simply wants to know how he will die. Alas, the dark forces that are woven into her very being are at play yet again, and the reader finds themselves on the supernatural and emotional roller coaster that is her life. The Cormorant sees the main character whittled down to her very core, exhausted in every possible way but still standing, still screaming and still doing her best to turn the tables on the darkness that makes the world spin.
Chuck Wendig’s understanding of the rot that lies within the heart of everyday life in America is at the core of this series, and with The Cormorant many of the underlying themes of the series are stripped bare. This is a book about screaming into the darkness to carry a single bead of light, even though the cost is always more than anyone could ever pay. Though marketed as urban fantasy, this is really a horror adventure thriller blended with the best of all things uniquely American and Gothic. The narrative flows quickly and laconically, shifting into cinematic action for the gorier and more graphic scenes before dipping back into a free-flowing storytelling style that makes the main character all the more engaging. Wendig makes the reader want to hug his protagonist and give her some words of encouragement, whilst at the same time being utterly terrified of going anywhere near her.
New readers should begin with the excellent Blackbirds; this book is too filled with the mythology of the previous two books to be enjoyably navigable by those unfamiliar with territory. As always, Chuck Wendig is a dark and bitter treat to be enjoyed by those in the know.