NOS4A2 – Joe Hill

Posted 7 November, 2013 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 16 Comments


Title: NOS4A2
Author: Joe Hill
Published: 2013; Pages: 686
Genre: Fiction (Horror/Thriller)
Rating: 4/5

NOS4A2 In Short: Vic McQueen has a knack for finding lost things and looking for trouble, but when she crosses worlds and escapes from child abductor Charles Manx and the horror of Christmasland, she will enter into a game of cat and mouse that defies all laws of logic. Or something. It’s hard to sum up a 700 page book in a sentence.

Why I Read It: I’ve been curious about Joe Hill for a while, especially given my recent Stephen King kick, so when I learned of TLC Book Tours coverage for NOS4A2 I jumped on it! See more tour information on the TLC page.

Thoughts in General: I was immediately drawn into the story of NOS4A2 and it is clear that Hill is a masterful storyteller with great vision. It was easy to read “just one more chapter” and a whole hour would pass away before I would even look up at the clock (thank you dear baby for napping so well). But for the first third of the book, I could not read after dark because of the images drawn in the beginning. The bad guy, Charles Manx, is a really really bad guy who has been “saving” children from their terrible parents for years and years and the thought terrified me. Plus they all have really horrible teeth which more than anything else gives me nightmares (I’m still trying to get over Christopher Walken in Sleepy Hollow).

One-third into the book, though, my terror turned to sorrow due to some of the twists and turns of the plot. While I’ve heard that Hill’s other books have stronger character development than NOS4A2, our protagonist Vic was carefully fleshed out and the decisions she made were sometimes difficult to watch. The twists and turns made me uncomfortable, especially as a mother, and I’m still not sure that I’ve fully to come to terms with the ending. Around two-thirds of the way through the book, I began to grow bored with the story. I think this was partly my own fault as by this point I was only reading 10 pages at a time and couldn’t ever really sink my teeth in properly. In short, the second half of the book felt drawn out and long.

In the end, though, I really enjoyed NOS4A2 and I look forward to reading other of Hill’s novels in the future. His storytelling felt very natural and his characters were easy to sympathize with and be angry at. While I could never relate to Vic, I still wanted to cheer her on and wished the best for her. As crazy as this sounds, I actually would have liked to have known more about Charlie Manx–though I’m just not sure I could mentally go there if additional stories about him and Christmasland popped up. Ha! Always the wimp.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fun ride and great storytelling, look no further. NOS4A2 will keep you turning the pages faster than you can figure out how to say the title of this book. If you’re looking for something that will terrify you down to your core, I don’t know that this is it–which is probably good for you scaredy cats like me. While the is plenty of creep and terror in NOS4AS, ultimately this book has a whole lot of heart.

Thanks so much to Trish, TLC  Book Tours, and William Morrow Books for providing me with copy of NOS4AS to review. As always, all opinions are my own thankyouverymuch.

Have you read anything by Joe Hill? What’s your favorite? Andnotthat it matters, but did you know that Mr. Hill is Uncle Stevie’s son? And yes, I felt a lot of King’s influence in this book–all good of course.

16 Responses to “NOS4A2 – Joe Hill”

  1. I’m glad this one ultimately worked out for you. I experienced some of the same when I read Heart-Shaped Box. The story took some turns that ultimately left me bored in spots. I read his short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, and I absolutely loved it. I think his talents may be even better suited to stories.

  2. I recently read Hill’s Horns due to the impending release of the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. It’s really good. I like his style. I’m next interested in his 20th Century Ghosts collection. But there was a sample of NOS4A2 at the end of Horns that I liked, so I’d probably give this a shot.

  3. I really enjoyed your review, Trish. I’m also so happy you reviewed this book. I have it sitting on my shelf and have been trying to decide if I want to read it. Just before I received NOS4A2 I began reading Heart-Shaped Box and I just cannot get through it. I picked it up and read a few chapters several times but the story and the characters just don’t hold my attention. Maybe NOS4A2 will be different. It sounds a lot more interesting than Hill’s debut but I’ll be sure to read more than ten pages at a time after the 1/2 way mark! Great review!

  4. I am glad you liked this one, Trish. I read Heart-Shaped Box and really liked it, although it wasn’t really to my usual taste. I think Joe Hill is a great writer in his own right, and I’m glad to see that. So many children or authors try their hand at writing and they never come out from under their parents’ shadow (sometimes with good reason), but I think Hill manages on his own quite well.

  5. Man … i wish Joe Hill would’ve stopped by the blogs on this hop! I want to read this book soooooooo bad (you know how I love King too). Plus I really loved Horns!!! Great review!

  6. Speaking of figuring out the title, I’m embarrassed to admit ho long it took me to finally figure it out!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  7. I’ve had this one on my list. Read Heart-Shaped Box a couple of years ago and thought it was great. But wow, I did not realize this was a long book!

  8. I was really excited when this review popped up on my feed reader – I actually bought it yesterday based on a complete and total whim! I’ve never read any of this books before either, although I do own Horns.

    I’m glad you said it’s a mixture of horror and heart – that’s exactly what I was hoping! :)

  9. LBC

    I liked the book a lot, although I agree that I have mixed feelings about the ending. I also definitely concur that the book makes it so easy to read “just one more” chapter! It was a pretty quick 700 ish pages.