A review by sarahasyouwish
NOS4A2, by Joe Hill

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


 I’ve been anticipating reading this book in the hopes that I would love it. Turning the nostalgia and whimsy of Christmas on its head and making it the center of a horror story sounded like a creative way to make my spine tingle. NOS4A2 starts off with a bang and really drew me in. Even after a quick jump in the perspective to 20 years earlier when we are following our protagonist Vic as a child, I found the story gripping. I ran into trouble after the first third or so when things started to feel unnecessary drawn out, and I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. If I have a strong connection with a character, I will happily hang out with them for a few hundred pages without need for much plot. When I don’t care about them, I find myself getting bored and wishing an editor had trimmed things down considerably. These characters just didn’t feel fully developed to me. Even the villain felt more like a caricature of a villain instead of someone who elicited fear or horror in me. The only scene that elicited any shivers was a description of someone post-autopsy. When I finally arrived at the climax and the dramatic events that take place in the last 50-100 pages, they had no effect on me and felt a bit predictable in terms of setting this book up for a sequel. I also could have done without the body-shaming and fat-phobia sprinkled throughout, though the character most of it is directed at ended up being the one character I found I cared at least something for. While this book was a miss for me, I’m definitely up for trying another Hill novel. The concept for this one is brilliant. I just need a bit more depth and believability from the characters. 

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