I read nearly sixty books last year and N0S4A2 was easily my favorite. I started it on a plane flying up north for Christmas. By the time I landed, for better or for worse, I didn’t care as much about holiday fun with the family as I did for finishing this amazing book that had hooked me through the gut.
The three feet of snow on the ground and the Christmas cheer deepened N0S4A2‘s amosphere, especially after living in Miami for so long. The story never took a breath, keeping me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep. That undoubtedly led to my first night of bad dreams.
That was just general nightmare activity, but the second night Joe Hill‘s creations climbed into my head and had their wicked way with me. Charlie Manx? There. A Rolls Royce Wraith? Also there. Shark-fanged demon children, horribly frollicking in a winter wonderland? Unfortunately, they were there, too. Hill’s take on how fantasy becomes reality will make you understand why this was such a horrible night for me.
Yet I woke up thankful, and eager to keep reading.
A few weeks ago, I had one of the most vivid nightmares I’ve ever had. Aliens invaded and started freezing the planet, slowly transforming the people of earth into nightmares like themselves, ones who thrived in the cold and couldn’t tell pain from fun. When I went to work that morning, I saw the N0S4A2 promotional gingerbread men we’d gotten at Books & Books the day before, hanging above my desk. Bing Partridge’s sigul had pried open another wedge in my mind that Hill’s demons gleefully capered through.
This book is so much better than anything else you’re thinking of reading, in so many ways. Miles of heart, unparalleled imagination, and genuinely unsettling horror. Yet somehow, it manages to be fun, thought-provoking, and even poignant. Again, Joe Hill proves he isn’t so much an author as an alchemist.
As far as storytelling goes, it will be a long time before you come across a book this good.