Review: NOS4A2 – Don’t read this book if your kids sing Christmas carols in July

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This doesn’t help: my kids singing Christmas songs in the middle of summer. That’s right. While reading NOS4A2, a book about a draconian dream-weaver who kidnaps children, taking them to a macabre, bloodthirsty place called Christmasland—my own kids are scattering Santa notes throughout the house signing Jingle Bells in July. Not cool kids, not cool.

My introduction to Joe Hill (AKA Stephen King’s son) started with his graphic novel WRAITH, which was written after NOS4A2, but serves as its prequel. WRAITH proved to me that Joe Hill was a sick and gross man. I loved it. You can see through the colorful drawings the children with rows and rows of sharp teeth, chasing down mean, abusive adults; those adults would be the kids’ next dinner. Blood and Christmas—what could be a better match?

I am pleased with Hill’s non-illustrated foray into Christmasland in this book. If anything, the over 700 pages took me deeper into Charlie Manx’s twisted world, revealing the grotesqueness of it all. Even better: a kickbutt female anti-hero. Oh, yeah! Hill’s pages brought the build-up, mystery, and devilishness all to an exciting climax and sentimental close.

My only critique is, as true with many of his father’s writings, this book felt like the bellows of an accordion: the writing was built-up in places where I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, while in other places it was drawn out with over-detailed descriptions of comic outfits, airport food, or the carpet on the floor. You can tell he had fun writing this, but some of it should have been edited down.

I also appreciated the similarity to what I refer to as King-isms. Stephen Sr. has a habit of concluding his chapters with a laidback observation that makes you laugh at the absurdity of what you’ve just read. It could be an astute observation to a life-inspection-worthy quote. It’s a great tool to engage the readers.

If you can stomach, or even appreciate, the crude nature of its subject matter, or if you are just looking for more King-like writing, I think you’ll be pleased with NOS4A2.

NOTE: If you haven’t seen it already, can you guess what the NOS4A2 license plate stands for?

You can view this book’s preview and its other reviews, many of which are 5-stars, on Amazon: NOS4A2: A Novel

Happy Reading!


5 thoughts on “Review: NOS4A2 – Don’t read this book if your kids sing Christmas carols in July

  1. sjhigbee

    I enjoyed the review – but I don’t think I’m tempted by the book…:) As for singing Christmas carols in the summer, I don’t blame them. We have now reached the silly stage where in high summer we are now encountering all the Christmas episodes of the American series – so far we’ve had Castle and Perception…

  2. booknerderie

    ahhhh this one is on my TBR list!! I don’t do many “scary” novels but I’m looking forward to this one! I only perused this review because I didn’t want to read too much into it without reading the novel first…but I’m curious about what the plate stands for!!

  3. Pingback: August Summary, Jungle Book Review, and No More Amazon Affiliate–whew! | The Avid Reader – Books, Books, Books!

I love comments, so tell me what you think:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s