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Joe Hill ‘NOS4A2’ Review


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Written by: Vitina Molgaard

“ The weight of the bike was almost too much for the old wood. If she stopped, the rotted boards might give away beneath her and drop her into that…that … whatever that was. The chasm between thought and reality, between imagining and having, perhaps.”
-Vic at the Shorter Way

Off we venture into the life and mind of one Victoria ‘Vic’ McQueen, a woman who – during her youth – escaped from a near death experience, and then as an adult finds herself battling the same peculiar, not-quite-human “man” and his wicked ways. Now she’s trying to hunt him down because he has abducted her son. The years have not been kind to our protagonist, through her own poor choices and inability to come to terms with what is and is not real. Vic has a secret and this is what has piqued the interest of her one time tormentor. With a wealth at risk the fight to rescue her son ensues.

Vic’s vile counterpart is known as Charles Talent Manx. A man who travels around in a Rolls-Royce Wraith that bears a personalized license plate. That plate carries the name NOS4A2, which Manx proudly declares as his one and only self. The car is not to be overlooked as it is just as much a character within this story as anyone else with a pulse… or without, for that matter. Wayne Carmody serves as the victimized son. This story has a whole plethora of characters that are important in carrying this tale to conclusion and while I am tempted to list them here I am not going to do that. Chances are I’ll end up delivering a major spoiler here.

What kind of impact did the novel have, and did I like it?  Well, I think this is one excellent read that really took me on a diverse journey of wonder and loss. If you read this expecting an abundance of blood and gore, you’ll be disappointed. While we are dealing with a vampire here, the obvious or predictable road is not traveled within the pages of NOS4A2. Joe Hill has brought to life an exciting and totally different manner of monster here. While I am well aware of the many comparisons other reviewers have made in regards to Hill and his legendary father Stephen King, I am choosing to steer clear of those parallels. This isn’t a Stephen King novel, it’s a Joe Hill novel. Let’s allow the man’s work to stand alone. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of references to his father’s past works here, but I’d consider those more tribute than anything else. NOS4A2 is somewhat of an homage piece that stands out on the merits of Hill’s writing alone. Hill has done a fine job here. Obviously this had a very positive impact on me. Would I recommend this to you? Without hesitation, most certainly.

At the end of the day my only regret is that I did not pick this up and read it earlier. And my desire is that this little review will encourage you to reserve a touch of time to enjoy a beautiful piece of work. NOS4A2 is definitely worth your time and money. This is a slow burn book that builds up to a full on raging wild ride.

Rating: 4/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

11 Comments on Joe Hill ‘NOS4A2’ Review

  1. I am just reading ‘Horns’ now and I feel the same way, ‘Why haven’t I read this earlier?”
    N0S4A2 is on my list but it just may take a while for me to get to it 🙂

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  2. I recently read ‘Horns’ and enjoyed that one also. When you get to NOS4A2 I believe you will enjoy it. Joe Hill is an interesting read. as always…just me …vitina

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  3. Wayne C. Rogers // May 29, 2013 at 12:18 am // Reply

    Vitina, I’m getting ready to start NOS4A2 in the next couple of days. What made you give it a 4 out of 5 rating, instead of a 5/5? This might help me in reading it. I’ve been anticipating this vampire novel for nearly a year now and have been considering it Joe’s breakout book like The Shining and The Stand were for his dad.

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  4. Wayne…before I give out a 5/5 rating the book needs to be near perfect .Since perfection is not actually attainable …I go with near perfect . The book is really something you should go ahead and read with full expectations of only enjoying it. I completely did. Just keep in mind that it is Joe Hill and not King that is doing the writing. He constructs an excellent tale and I really don’t think it will disappoint you. I don’t believe I have given more than one maybe two 5/5’s in the past. That is kind of hard for me to do since I read so many new authors …as always…just me…vitina

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  5. I’m inclined to agree with that. 5’s are VERY rare (Something Wicked This Way Comes, ‘Salem’s Lot are 2 for me) in my mind. For me personally, it’s got to be REALLY, REALLY close to perfect to pull a 5. That said, anything around 3-3.5 or higher is a book I’d invest in.

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  6. Wayne C. Rogers // May 30, 2013 at 1:25 am // Reply

    Vitina & Matt,
    I’ve never liked rating a novel. That’s why Matt has to write me nine times out of ten for a rating. I just don’t think about it. One person’s 3 might be another person’s 5 or 10. Ratings are very subjected. When you give a 3 and think it is a high or good rating, another individual might think the book is so-so and ignore it because it didn’t receive a 5.

    As everyone here knows by now, I usually rate the books I’m reviewing 5/5. Maybe a 4/5 every once in a while. Hardly ever a 3/5. If I don’t like a book I won’t review it. Why give a book a negative review when someone else might enjoy it? Also, how someone feels about a book may be depended on their frame of mind at the time of reading. Maybe they had a bad day or just broke up with their significant other. It can affect how you feel about a book you’re reading.

    To me, the really important thing is whether or not you enjoy the novel. That’s all that matters. Period. End of story.

    I’ve just spent four-to-five weeks reading Owen King’s new book, Double Feature. I was also sick a lot during this time which affected how much I could read at one time, or if I even felt like reading, which I didn’t for most of the month. Still, I will give the book a good review, but not because Owen is Steve’s kid, but some of the characters touched my heart near the end. They grabbed it when least expected and gave me a clearer view of life and maybe how to live it.

    That’s all any reader can hope for.

    I bet I drive both of you nuts with my 5/5 ratings. :-))

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  7. I appreciate knowing what this new novel’s about. I bailed on Heart-Shaped Box (unlikeable characters, boring villain, no atmosphere) so I’m rather on the fence about trying anything new from the “wunderkind.” I hate to say that knowing it’s about a vamp makes it even less attractive. Haven’t we seen enough of those already?

    The review was extremely well-written though! 🙂

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  8. Thank you lexacain…I don’t usually care for Vampire stories either…but he did handle this with a different idea…or take on how the vamp feeds to survive…I found that to be a fresh idea …but sooner or later we all decide what we want to read and what we don’t…I have ‘Heart-Shaped box although I have not read it yet…as always…just me…Vitina’

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  9. Maybe you should get her last name right before writing a serious review. It’s McQueen.

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  10. Sounds way too much like his father in this novel. Almost had the feeling he wrote it with his dad. I didn’t get that sense with horns or heart-shaped box. I liked those alot. Did enjoy the references to mid-world and pennywise though.

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