*I received an ecopy of this book via Kindle Scout. This has not influenced my review.*
I was hesitant to even read this after the first book, not because I didn’t enjoy but because I knew this would have a totally different feel to it. What I loved most about the first book was the quirky, offbeat, feel-good vibe of Meg and Sparrow traipsing through the continent, killing zombies, collecting feathers, and getting to know one another. I was sad when the book changed and took that away from me and introduced certain supernatural creatures into the mix, creatures I generally don’t like reading about. But I am SO glad I decided to continue because I loved this book!
First of all, Meg’s characterization and voice really stood out in a great way. It was fantastic. She grew up in a trailer park with a dad who beat her. She spent her time smoking, drinking, stealing, speeding down roads, having underage sex, and doing all sorts of illegal things. She spent time in juvie as a kid. She likes to party and drink beer to unwind. She’s the opposite of little ol’ goody-two-shoes, bookworm me in so many ways, yet somehow I was able to like her and understand her and empathize with her and even relate with some of her emotions. She also cracked me up quite a bit. And she was a strong person, someone who dealt with a lot but still kept fighting. So I just loved her character.
By the time I reach the stairwell, I wish I had something more appropriate on. I’m wearing nothing but a long T-shirt and underwear. Oh well, I’ve worn less into Walmart.
(I also just really love quotes about Walmart because they’re always so accurate, but I digress.)
In fact, the characters in general were what made this book shine. There really wasn’t much to the plot until the very end, but I was drawn in regardless. I loved seeing the interactions between all the characters and how they were all handling things.
I was surprised that Jim seemed so docile; I thought he’d be a lot more angry considering the things that have happened, but no, he displayed his asshole-ness in a more subtle way by sneering and using words to fuck with Meg emotionally, knowing just what to say—or tell Sparrow to say—to poke at her fears and doubts. I loved seeing how Meg dealt with him (I give her props for even being able to deal with him at all after what he did), and I was always leery of what vile thing he might do next.
I also loved Meg’s friendship with Noah, and Noah himself totally won me over. He may not have been a typical “knight in shining armor” kinda guy, but it was clear that he had always cared about Meg and still did, and he ended up being really lovable.
I am kind of worried though, like Meg, that I won’t like Sparrow’s “normal” because his quirkiness was what I loved so much about him in the first book, and that was another reason I was hesitant to continue, but he still wasn’t entirely normal in this book because of the situation, and my love for the other characters made up for the differences in Sparrow.
“Cool threads, man.”
Sparrow whistles something that sounds like a blue jay call. The guy at the counter looks confused. I should tell him not to mind my man, who has apparently decided to communicate with birdcalls.
I was also intrigued by the whole Hellion thing. I don’t know, like, they’re awful, but they have this crazy lair stocked with alcohol and blood and chains and a pool table where they hang out and then they go off during the day and do mysterious Hellion stuff, all while wearing leather and flying around with leather wings. How is that not intriguing?
I don’t even know… I just found so much about this book intriguing. I don’t have any other word for it. The whole book had this kind of oddly surrealistic yet realistic feel.
I was also super glad that the book was really focused on the characters and not about *SPOILER (for Book 1)* angel-demon fighting, *END SPOILER* which is what I had thought it would be about. And I was glad it was set mostly in *SPOILER (for Book 1)* Hell rather than Heaven because Heaven is great, of course, but Hell is just so much more interesting to read about. And this author has the most unique, interesting, original version of Hell I’ve ever come across. *END SPOILER*
I also cracked up a lot, what with Meg’s thoughts and her interactions with Noah and even just the way *SPOILER (for Book 1)* they were in Hell and Meg was Lucifer’s granddaughter but they spent their days bird watching and playing cards. *END SPOILER* And hearing about how Noah got all the food was kind of funny but also kind of horrifying and I wasn’t sure how I should feel about it lol.
“Never wore dirty underthings like this for me, Meg.”
“I couldn’t afford that shit when we were kids.” I pull a gray top from its hanger. I didn’t have a bank full of money until I turned twenty- five.
“What’s there to afford? It’s just string.” Noah closes the drawer. “I could go get some fishing line and make you something.”
But I also really felt for Meg. She’s this super tough, thick-skinned, been-through-shit, not-emotional kind of girl, but, somehow, she was never cold or emotionless either. And seeing her actually feel heartbroken just made me feel for her even more.
The only negative thing I have to say is that all this stuff started happening near the end, and I just couldn’t quite make sense of all of it or all the characters’ parts in it. Like why Clea kept being so cryptic and didn’t step in to help if she knew everything that was going on and wanted Meg and Sparrow to be happy together. Or how she could have known that the random things she did would lead to the desired outcomes. Or why the man running the place didn’t seem to know, or maybe just didn’t care about, what was going on right under his own roof.
Overall though, I loved the book and the characters and the completely unique premise, and I’m definitely glad I decided to continue the series!
Fans of Book 1 in M. R. Pritchard's Sparrow Man Series. Anyone looking for a somewhat offbeat supernatural read, especially if you like quirky and/or really developed characters.