Book Review: The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig


“Adrenaline pumping action!”

Writing the blurb for a Chuck Wendig, ‘Miriam Black’ book must be amongst the hardest tasks in publishing. Just how do you distil such an exhilarating, twisty narrative into a mere handful of words? Writing a review, even with a larger word count at our disposal, isn’t much easier. Giving consideration to the plot developments and surprises that the author peppers throughout The Cormorant, Miss Black’s third outing, without spoiling it is trickier than changing a person’s destiny.

The story finds our foul-mouthed, less than even-tempered, heroine being interviewed by two FBI agents. What has happened to Miriam since the game-changing finale of Mockingbird is told in flashback, starting with her seeking out a living predicting deaths for tourists in exchange for food money whilst crashing in an apartment with a trio of young students, which leads to a trip south to Florida after out-staying her welcome at her temporary digs, where she is forced to take the offer of a sizable sum to foretell the death of an eccentric millionaire. This being Miriam, things go spectacularly out of control.

While this flashback framing technique does rob some of the sense of jeopardy that you feel for Miriam, this series has always been more about the amount of havoc she brings down on herself and those around her and the interesting means she has of extricating herself from the mess.

The acerbic wit of Miriam and the variety and ingenuity of her visions, which made the previous volumes such fun, are again in evidence, but Wendig takes the opportunity this time around to further explore Miriam’s personal history, in particular her relationship with her mother. Secrets are revealed and Miriam’s own perceptions and recollections are challenged in a series of scenes that illustrate the author has the skill for the tender character-based moments as well as the adrenaline pumping action scenes.

Miriam’s escape from her most perilous situation so far comes with further revelations about the nature of her gifts and sets her on course for even more intense discoveries to come. At the culmination of the acknowledgments the author promises that Miriam will return in Thunderbird, and on the strength of the series so far, so too will the readers, eager to once more spend time with the fascinating Miriam Black.


Publisher: Angry Robot Books
Paperback (384pp)
Release Date: 2 January 2014

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1 comment

  1. Looking forward to this book.

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