Blue BlazesThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
(Mookie Pearl #1)
Angry Robot (May 2013)

Ebook, 400 Pages
Urban Fantasy

The Blue Blazes is an urban fantasy novel by Chuck Wendig and is set in a version of New York that has a literal Hell below it. The eponymous Blue Blazes refers to a mineral compound, cerulean, found down below that allows users to see demons and half-breeds as they really are, it also makes the user stronger and more resilient. The protagonist is Mookie Pearl, a mob enforcer and user. He ensures his team of down and outs mine the cerulean. He cures his own charcuterie as a hobby.

The novel opens with Mookie encountering his wayward daughter Nora. She warns him that trouble is ahead and when he refuses to listen she poisons him and leaves him to it. Mookie is then summoned to a mob meeting by his business partner, Werth, where the news is as bad as Nora predicted.

From there things get complicated. I really don’t want to give any more of the plot away. The novel is a blistering dirty-bomb of a book. Wendig’s narrative voice is a bit like classic pulp noir ramped up to contain this alternative New York that is sitting on top of a hell. The pace of the novel is relentless, there are so many twists, turns and back-stabbing that it is hard to keep them all straight, but in a good way. There’s also a memorable cast of characters and gangs, including one of Roller Derby Girls who sound like they are out of the 50s.

Needless to say I loved The Blue Blazes. One of the central strands of the novel is the relationship between Mookie and Nora. Their warped father daughter dynamic was a big pull for me. I also loved the vibrancy with which Wendig brings to life a subterranean labyrinth with all of its creatures bad and worse.

It’s strange. Still could’ve been a trick of the eyes. Easy to lose your way down here, think you’re seeing something you’re not. Especially the deeper you go. You leave the shallows and wander around the Tangle for a few days, every shadow jumps out at you, every glint of light on wet stone is a pair of eyes, every underground river has shapes swimming beneath the milky waters.

VERDICT:

The Blue Blazes is one hell of a read, with a complex cast of morally grey characters. It’s a heart-stopping ride from beginning to end. I think it is my stand out book of the year so far.

RATING: 5stars

CHUCK WENDIG ONLINE
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Jane

A software wrangler and geek who carries at least one book everywhere. A fierce lover of good writing and characters especially if they include vampires, werewolves, fae or flawed protagonists. [Jane no longer reviews for BCC]

4 Comments


Gemma June 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

I have heard lots of great things about Chuck Wendig but have yet to pick up one of his books. This looks like a really good book and I really need to buckle down and read one of his books.

Great Review, Jane and thanks for no spoilers! :)

Reply

Jane June 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I hate spoilers with a fiery passion so try and keep them to the utmost minimum in my reviews. Nothing worse than picking up a review that ruins the book for you.

But go read this one, it is fantastic. I’ve also read some of his Atlanta Burns Novellas and they are great reads too.

Reply

Carrie June 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Definitely putting this on my to-read list :)

Reply

Jane June 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Well worth it.

Reply

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