Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig I wanted to like Blackbirds, but I just couldn’t get into it. The first few pages were awesome, but after that realization sunk into me that Miriam – though amusingly crude – feels like a middle-aged man’s version of a spunky young woman. And the other characters felt a bit like they were extras paid to show up for the day. No depth, no presence. Just show up, say your lines, and go.

Then there was the scene where they’re talking about rape. “No means no,” she says. “Not usually,” he says. And I’m so tired of that. So bloody tired of that. Can we please stop putting crap like that in books? I’m also tired of reading about broken people in abusive, controlling relationships that are apparently at the mercy of their hormones even when they hate someone. (Maybe I’m just weird, but if someone has done something to me that’s deplorable, I can’t even begin to get turned on by them…)

Blackbirds felt incomplete. I can’t really put my finger on why, but it felt like it skimmed the surface of the story it could have been. I don’t expect deep, thought-provoking literature when I read, but I couldn’t have went into Blackbirds past my ankles even with a sledgehammer to knock the bottom out a bit. It’s not something I’ve experienced with his other works, so I have to wonder if it’s just my inability to believe in Miriam that kept me apart from the story.

However, Wendig knows how to write, and the frenetic pace of Blackbirds made the story easy to read. There’s a lot of naughty language, a hefty amount of blood, and enough violence to appease the crowd at an MMA fight. Even being completely detached from the story, I still zoomed through it. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a slog to get through.

I like Chuck Wendig. As an author I think he’s pretty good at what he does. Zeroes was awesome. Invasive was fun. As a person, I’ve admired his take-no-crap, sell-no-crap attitude that he’s demonstrated on Twitter. He’s blunt, supportive, and amusing. I respect that. But I do not care for Blackbirds.