Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
Format: Audiobook narrated by Kate Mulgrew
Summary Via GoodReads
My Rating: ★★★★
Don't slow downI have been talking about this book with friends from work and all I can say is, "IT'S SO CREEPY!!" If you didn't know that Joe Hill was Stephen King's kid, read this book and you can really tell. I will admit I think there are some shameless King references in this novel, but unlike other readers I actually enjoyed them.
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn't tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.
Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie's twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.
And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble...and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie's unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.
But Charlie Manx hasn't stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won't slow down until he's taken his revenge. He's after something very special—something Vic can never replace.
As a life-and-death battle of wills builds—her magic pitted against his—Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all...or die trying...
So this book takes Christmas, a wonderful holiday of joy, and makes it scary with a creepy villain in Charlie Manx. I find Manx to be an interesting villain, because he truly believes that he is helping the children that he takes to Christmasland. He finds kids that he believes are living terrible lives with bad parents and whisks them away to this magical land. When you put it this way it makes it seem like Charlie is the hero in this story. To himself he might be, but to the reader whom sees what happens to these children after they get to Christmasland can see that he is not.
Our protagonist Vic McQueen is the only kid to ever escape Charlie, and I really enjoyed Vic's narrative but I also found her life to be quite sad. She had some trauma in her life and it really effected her way into adulthood. There was a while in the book that I started to not like her anymore. She was making bad decisions, and I just felt disappointed in where she had ended up. At the same time Vic was a very damaged character who was being tortured by the phone calls from Christmasland, so I could understand why she had become so damaged. I don't completed love how her story ends, but at least she was able to redeem herself.
I'm not sure how it is addressed in the book, but in the audiobook the book ends with the narrator starting what seems to be the credits and notes, but then there is a little something else about this story there. So definitely pay attention to that.
The narrator of the audiobook was Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway to Star Trek fans, Red for Orange is the New Black fans) and I was really surprised at how good of a narrator she was! She did an amazing job at doing the creepy voice for Charlie Manx, and she really made this book interesting to listen to. I'd like to credit her narration for this book being extra creepy to listen to.
If you are looking for a weird book for Halloween that is super creepy I highly recommend this one!
Happy Reads Everyone!