July Bookclub Review: Nos4r2

Wednesday 30 July 2014 by

NOS4R2, Joe Hill, Gollancz, Book, HorrorNOS4R2 by Joe Hill

Published by Gollancz

Summer. Massachusetts.

An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business.

Anyone could be next.

We’re going to Christmasland…

NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep. With the horrific tale of Charles Manx and his Silver Wraith, Joe Hill has established himself as the premiere horror and supernatural thriller writer of his generation.


It was another horror for this month’s bookclub in the form of Nos4r2 by Joe Hill. It tells the story of Vic, from her childhood as she discovers her magical bridge, to encountering the vile Charlie Manx, to her adulthood as a mother and having to battle Manx again.

I am not easily scared when it comes to reading – only Stephen King has really been able to frighten me in to sleepless nights. So I’m constantly looking for something to really scare. And Nos4r2 got relatively close… Manx is a terrifying adversary, and the line between the natural and supernatural is so cleverly done that you don’t know whether it’s simply delusion or there really is a Christmasland right to the last minute.

And as heroes go, Vic is a pretty good one. I kind of want to be her – she (quite literally) kicks ass. All the characters are tremendously flawed, and Vic perhaps more so than most. Hill is an expert at driving these characters to verge of insanity and back again, and he takes you along for the ride, creating a brilliant arc of supernatural versus natural, until he slings you in to the finale with a powerful slap. There might be some shaky bits (and the mentions and uses of rape over and over again is like being beaten over the head with a sledgehammer), but overall this is a great plotline, expertly wielding the real and the imagined in much the same way King does, making you doubt until the last moment.

Manx is terrifying – perhaps more as the serial killer of reality than the master of Christmasland (the “real evil” stuff has always scared me than monsters) – and it’s the scenes with him that get the skin prickling in fright. The dialogue is punchy, the action scenes not overdone, and the characters are well thought through with depth and clarity.

My only complaint is the joyful use of the supernatural – it starts to get out of hand as Hill begins to throw an awful lot magic and mayhem which, in normal circumstances, I’d enjoy, but it ceases to be horror and starts to become an adventure story. It was still a gripping tale, but it stopped being a horror when the climax arrived – which seems a little backward.

I was definitely pleased I read this – it’s not one I would have thought to ever pick up and it really is a hidden gem for anyone who wants to read horror and supernatural.

What did others think?

The lovely Liberty over at Liberty Falls Down wrote a whole review!

What did you think of Nos4r2?

August’s House of Blog Bookclub is The Crimson Ribbon by Katerine Clements! Tweet your thoughts through the hashtag #HoBBookclub on Twitter or write on the wall on the House of Blog Facebook page.

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  1. NOS4R2 by Joe Hill ~ A Review | Carole Finds Her Wings - […] am so glad I have finally picked this up and read it, thanks to Fran for taking it up…

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