Date started: June 23rd
Date finished: June 25th
Apologies, this one is late. I read The Blue Blazes while away in Amsterdam for a few days and haven’t really got my shit together to write up this review since getting back. Well, until now.
The Blue Blazes centres on Mookie Pearl and his wayward daughter Nora, both big players in New York’s gang scene. Mookie is a soldier, running as part of a crew to take down threats within the criminal underworld and the supernatural underworld. Nora is fairly new to the scene, but carries a grudge against her father, and sets out to ruin his plans at all costs.
I really don’t want to say much more than that, because it would risk spoiling the whole thing. The story’s tight, but packed with twists, and loads of fun stuff like an undead stuntman with a quad bike, and an all female roller derby gang (prominently featuring a member called Lulu, much to my chagrin, but I digress).
Once the character introductions are out of the way and the story really kicks off, it never lets up until the finish line. It’s not quite the shiv to the guts that Wendig’s Miriam Black novels are, it’s more like a good old pummelling with a sledgehammer. Which is actually a good way to describe Mookie himself. He’s a sledgehammer. A blunt instrument of destruction, a wall of muscle, but with a surprising amount of heart.
Honestly, I was worried going in that I wouldn’t be able to relate to Mookie at all, but he’s packed with fun quirks beyond his initial sheer build and strength. I don’t think I’ve come across a bruiser character before who’s described as having the tendency to ‘eat his emotions’.
Nora balances it out by being more quietly psychotic, but no less fun to read for it. She has a sarcastic bite to her dialogue, and is very believable as the jilted daughter in terms of her motivations. Of all the characters in the book, her arc is my favourite, and given where she ends up, it’s her story I’m most looking forward to continuing, assuming there’s to be a sequel.
Honestly, after struggling through A Feast For Crows, The Blue Blazes was the exact breath of fresh air I needed. It’s fast paced, funny, and legitimately heartbreaking in all the right places. Between this and the Miriam Black novels, Chuck Wendig has built himself up as one of the must read authors within the urban fantasy genre. Highly recommend reading this one.
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