30 Jul


Author: Joe Hill

Genre: Horror

First Published: 2013

Page Count: 686

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 4/5 Stars

N0S4A2 is for Christmas what It was for clowns.


*Christmas Gone Bad     *Horror Meets Super Heroes


*Messy Ending

“Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on.” Victoria McQueen has a secret. When she rides her bike over an old, decrepit bridge in the woods near her house she is able to transport herself to the destination of her choice, usually to find something she is missing. However, she is not the only person with an unusual ability to transport themselves to various places at a whim. Charles Talent Manx is a twisted kidnapper of children who is able to transport them to an alternate universe of his creation known as Christmasland using his 1938 Rolls Royce. When McQueen and Manx’s paths cross and she becomes the only kid to ever escape his clutches, Manx’s only goal becomes getting his revenge on the now adult Victoria McQueen.

While I’ve never read It or watched the movie the whole way through, this book reminded me so much of the premise. Hill is taking something so beloved, especially among children, the holiday of Christmas, and he turned it into something terrifying in the same way King turned clowns from fun party entertainment to the epitome of a nightmare.  The author uses all the elements of Christmas to the max while crafting the villainous Charles Manx. There is nothing more chilling than imagining a deranged serial kidnapper/murderer rolling up in a vintage vehicle to the tune of Jingle Bells. Besides perverting the image of Christmas for me forever thanks to one of the creepiest horror villains I’ve ever read, I loved the alternate element of this book which was the classic super hero theme. Our main character, Victoria, has the power to transport herself anywhere she needs to go, as does Manx, though he uses his power for evil. We also meet another character with special abilities and are given hints that there are whole groups of people with these special powers that can only be harnessed when they have their “special item” in their possession that allows them to activate their powers. It is an unexpected twist to the book that makes this so much more than a basic horror story.

The ending is gritty, and action packed, much like the rest of the book, but the conclusion didn’t feel very clear-cut. Good must conquer evil meaning Victoria must defeat Manx, but the way she goes about it felt a bit messy. It’s not as easy as killing the man himself as we are told in the book, but how she approached the subject of getting rid of the man himself and Christmasland was a bit chaotic and confused. I felt I had a good grasp on the idea of the different super powers of the characters and how Christmasland existed but it’s demise and the fate of its residents didn’t really make sense with what I thought I knew. It’s hard to explain without giving away the ending, but make sure to read every page of the book including the acknowledgements, etc because the story continues with some surprise twists that threw me into even more of a loop.

At this point, if I see a book with Joe Hill named as the author, I’m not going to hesitate in picking it up. He is a master storyteller and in N0SA42 he demonstrates he is also a master of the horror genre. This book is an instant classic because of how well Hill has turned Christmas, a cherished holiday, into the thing of nightmares. Pick up this book and while you’re at it, just buy his entire collection. It’s worth it.



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