Reviews

NOS4A2, by Joe Hill

mznomer's review against another edition

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3.0

Like many other reviewers here, I thought this book could have done with some editing. I listened to it as an ebook from the library and it actually came due before I finished, and I don't really care. It is long enough that I was tired of the characters, and the reader's voice anyway.

That said, it's a pretty solid horror idea, it just drags.

rngilmer's review against another edition

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4.0

I liked it a lot, but thought it could have been a lot shorter without really losing much. It's one of the more disturbing books I've read in a while and made me think about Christmas songs in a slightly different light!

macthebrazen's review against another edition

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3.0

I liked the story, but the narrator for the audio book got on my nerves.

andykenney's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

hayleys_comment's review against another edition

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

On a technical level, NOS4A2 is an imaginative, well-written horror novel. It takes familiar concepts, (magic, murder, and Christmas) and twists them into strange, blood-soaked treats. The protagonists are ragged and complicated. The villains are creepy and weird. The plot is interesting. The pacing is good (especially in action sequences—Hill’s got some crazy rhythm). It’s gritty, off-the-wall, and freaky to the max.

Technical-goodness aside, I have a some mixed feelings about Hill’s work. The book’s a bit like Dracula, in that every once and a while, there will be a scene that really grabs you, or a line that makes your pulse pound. Everything in-between is just background noise. Of the (roughly) 700 pages, only a handful are memorable.

If you’re not sure whether this book is for you, here are a few things to consider:

1. The novel relies heavily on themes of sexism, sexual assault, and child abuse. There are a few scenes that feature existential/body horror, but they’re less prevalent.

2. Hill is fantastic at scene descriptions. When he’s describing something cool, it’s awesome. Really, really awesome. When he’s describing something gross, it’s visceral. And this novel gets gross. Really, really gross. Nothing too crazy for a horror novel, but it’s definitely worth mentioning, especially with point #1.

3. Ask yourself this: could you ever think of Christmas as something strange, or scary? If the answer is no, you’ll have a hard time suspending your disbelief. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try, but it may have an effect on how you engage with Hill’s story. Christmasland is a big deal.

4. If you’re hesitant, check the content warnings. Seriously. There’s no shame in saying, “this isn’t for me,” or, “not right now.” You can always come back later.

Bonus
The audio book, narrated by Kate Mulgrew, is absolutely bonkers. 10/10. If you’re an audio person, you’re in for a treat. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

deirdrizzle's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

chelsrmac's review against another edition

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dark slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

1.0

This book was so close to being DNF'd by me SO many times. There were so many things that Hill kept repeating. Yes, we know this character is big, you don't have to mention it every time he's in a scene. There were also a lot of things that were predictable, too many to list. I feel like the characters aren't described well enough and are kind of unplanned throughout the book until he decided what their purpose was. My main gripe:
Spoiler how can Find My Phone work when they're in an imaginary inscape made in Charlie Manx's mind? Google wouldn't ever have been there before!
This book was 700 pages long and honestly, the story could have been told in 350 less pages. 
 I feel like I'm an outlier because this book has such high ratings... but, it just wasn't for me. 

3vena3's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional hopeful tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

[20 hours. Time spent listening: 13 hours, 11 minutes.] Oops, fell asleep twice while listening to this, at least I didn't have bad dreams. What a fun ride! If you could describe this book as fun. Christmas horror stories are my jam (I saw Krampus 3 times when it came out in theaters lmao) but this was so much more than that. A good main character is so important and I loved Vic, what a badass (and damaged) girl. The book wasn't super scary or anything, but maybe I'm too used to poorly translated Japanese light novels scaring the pants off of me to get a kick out of western stuff anymore because I feel like I say that for every horror book I read nowadays. I'm definitely on the hunt for something that'll actually feel like horror, The Troop and Birdbox are the only books I've read that's given me the shivers these past few years. Anyway, the scariest part about this book was the themes around parenting. Parents can fucking suck and still love you more then anything, i guess. I've got a dope mother so I can't relate but just the ideas about motherhood and fear of messing up your kids can resonate with anyone who wants to have a family one day. 

Also is Joe Hill single??? Asking for a friend........

Definitely putting some of his other books on my TBR.

ddoney2001's review against another edition

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3.0

Weak ass start, fantastic ending

nylaraven's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

This is my first Joe Hill and I will definitely be reading more. I loved the interplay of horror and fantasy in this book. The characters are great and have a lot of depth. The horror elements are really striking and definitely stayed with me after reading. My only issue with this book is that I felt it didn’t quite need to be as long as it was. Other than that, I’d definitely recommend it.