Joe Hill considers NOS4R2 (sometimes published as NOS4A2 for some silly reason) his senior PhD thesis of horror, and I can totally see why.
This is the story of a Christmas-obsessed 140 year old serial killer named Charlie Manx and his silver Rolls Royce Wraith – that is also magical! Manx lives to save children. He saves them from their evil parents and takes them away to magical world called Christmasland.
It is also the lifetime-spanning story of Victoria, a girl who has an uncanny talent for finding things using her magical bicycle.
“Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on.”
While she usually uses her bike to distract herself from her ever-bickering parents and generally sucky reality, when she finds out about Manx she figures that she just might be the only person who can find him.
“Innocence ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Innocent little kids rip the wings off flies, because they don’t know any better. That’s innocence.”
This is also a coming of age story, and a story about grief and trauma, mental illness, and love.
“The difference between childhood and adulthood, Vic had come to believe, was the difference between imagination and resignation. You traded one for the other and lost your way.”
It is also one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. IT. IS. CREEPY. This book contains the most unnerving chapters I’ve ever read. All the trigger warnings here folks. All the trigger warnings.
but it’s also funny at times.
“he paddled away in his douche canoe.”
“She breathed deeply of the scent of decaying fiction, disintegrating history, and forgotten verse, and she observed for the first time that a room full of books smelled like dessert: a sweet snack made of figs, vanilla, glue, and cleverness.”
Now doesn’t it sound just awesome?
Find it here: