Blackbird

Blackbird

A dark, biting literary debut for fans of Caroline Kepnes following the unlikely bond between two sociopaths―and the destruction left in their wake.“When I was eight years old, I was abducted from a fast food restaurant by a man who took me, in all likelihood, because of a small splotch of mayonnaise on his hamburger. And so I believe in neither free will nor predeterminat...

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Title:Blackbird
Author:Michael Fiegel
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Blackbird Reviews

  • Emily Hemenway

    What to say about this book... Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it alarming? Yes. Would I let my mother read it?

    Probably not. Despite the murder and mayhem, does it wiggle itself down into your heart and soul like some weird little worm and dig up little bits of emotions you didn't know you had? Most definitely.

    On every level this book isn't really something I would usually go for, and yet here we are with me gushing about it. Somehow in its own dark and twisted way it tugs at your heartstrings and l

    What to say about this book... Is it disturbing? Yes. Is it alarming? Yes. Would I let my mother read it?

    Probably not. Despite the murder and mayhem, does it wiggle itself down into your heart and soul like some weird little worm and dig up little bits of emotions you didn't know you had? Most definitely.

    On every level this book isn't really something I would usually go for, and yet here we are with me gushing about it. Somehow in its own dark and twisted way it tugs at your heartstrings and leaves you empathizing and sympathizing with two pretty messed up characters that are both people you can't imagine existing and so real that they could be your neighbors.

    In the end it's basically a love story. Not the sappy, frilly kind with a happy ending and noble selflessness. It's the Sid and Nancy kind, where there's a feedback loop and the chaos keeps amplifying until, like binary stars, they collapse into themselves.

    It's dark, disturbing, utterly engrossing, and oddly sweet in its own twisted way. I highly recommend Michael Fiegel's debut novel

    .

  • Corey

    I have read various editions of Blackbird over the last 10 years and it's only gotten better with age, so sort of like Helen Mirren. I am very pleased that a larger audience will finally be exposed to the Chronicles of Edison North - it's been a long time coming and has certainly been worth the wait. I hope that you'll all enjoy reading about our favorite pair of misanthropes as much as those of us lucky enough to have been along for the ride have.

  • Jaline

    This was not an easy read for me. Aside from the fact that one must pay attention or miss out on some important information, this book alternately attracted and repelled me. I had to put it down many times. I had to pick it back up many times.

    Of all my armchair journeys, I have never yet spent one in the company of a terrorist, or terrorists. If I had a little box for that, it would now have a check mark. I not only spent time with domestic terrorists, but I was in their heads. Most of their sto

    This was not an easy read for me. Aside from the fact that one must pay attention or miss out on some important information, this book alternately attracted and repelled me. I had to put it down many times. I had to pick it back up many times.

    Of all my armchair journeys, I have never yet spent one in the company of a terrorist, or terrorists. If I had a little box for that, it would now have a check mark. I not only spent time with domestic terrorists, but I was in their heads. Most of their story is told from journal entries made on an old laptop computer, giving this story both immediacy and intimacy. It is also why I felt so uncomfortable, yet mesmerized.

    Everything is in present time – thoughts and impressions of what happened immediately before the writer sat down at the laptop. There are two voices here: one known as Edison North, and one known as Christian initially, then Xtian (

    ). Both people are also known by multiple other names, depending on the situation, job, and where they are in the process.

    During the ten years chronicled by these main journal entries and the additions Xtian included, the two are involved in some ‘jobs’, but for the most part, they are caught in the cross-hairs (and cross-fire) of several “cell wars” – where various terrorist cells are attempting to kill the others off to gain supremacy. Spoken of dispassionately, one should be cheering. But I didn’t cheer.

    I also didn’t applaud, except for when one or the other managed to get the other person out of big trouble. Idealist me wanted to see redemption. In a way, I did get my wish; in other ways, a lot of tragedies occurred that didn’t look like any redemption I’ve ever seen.

    This novel is chilling, yet I couldn’t help feeling warmth for the two main characters. It is also brutal, callous, and heartless. Even the most redeemable of the ‘bad guys’ don’t always escape unscathed; nor do some of them escape alive.

    This novel is also tender in a convoluted way. It is filled with paradox; evil-thinking people doing evil deeds that I could never condone. Yet, I felt a connection with some of these evil people that I can’t even make sense of.

    I have a feeling that this book and these characters will remain with me for a long time. I have definitely been thinking about them a lot, and maybe that is this book’s greatest accomplishment: to get us thinking and wondering about situations in our world in ways that have nothing to do with any media reporting.

    There are always many different views of certain events that happen in our world. I’m quite sure that, right or wrong, good or evil, this novel offers a view I hadn’t perceived before. I’m still not sure I want to remember this story. I’m even less sure that I can ever forget it.

  • Jennifer

    [considering 3.5 stars]

    , the author of

    and

    , subtly recommended

    's

    on her Facebook page. It was just a little tidbit at the end of a long post about this book she was currently enjoying...subtle but intriguing. It's not scheduled for release until November 2017 but now I have to get my hands on it, right?! Edelweiss had a review copy available and I snapped it up. It took me two weeks to read it: some issues with my own time availability an

    [considering 3.5 stars]

    , the author of

    and

    , subtly recommended

    's

    on her Facebook page. It was just a little tidbit at the end of a long post about this book she was currently enjoying...subtle but intriguing. It's not scheduled for release until November 2017 but now I have to get my hands on it, right?! Edelweiss had a review copy available and I snapped it up. It took me two weeks to read it: some issues with my own time availability and some issues with story engagement/investment. But after finishing, I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I loved how character-driven this book was. If you asked me what it's about, I could say it's about a serial mass murderer for hire and a kidnapped girl. And it is. But it's also about an unconventional family, mentorship in the art of terror, coming of age in the height of dysfunction, it's about turning pain into life lessons, turning fear into indifference, and the gradual shifting of roles. It's not about any specific storyline that can be conveyed. It's about the strange companionship between a man and a girl. Admittedly, I was afraid this story was going in a direction I didn't want to read due to genders and ages but know that it's not

    kind of book. I have my complaints but pedophilia thankfully wasn't one of them.

    In an effort to provide a well-rounded and honest review, I must also add some distractions I experienced during my reading of the review copy I received. I found

    to be choppy and a bit difficult to follow at times. POV shifts between the two characters weren't consistently clear during my reading experience. Sometimes, it took a minute to process that a section was a new character perspective and/or timeframe. Also, it appeared to me that Mr. Fiegel skirted along the edges of darkness without giving this story the heaviness it needed to tip over the edge. Some readers may appreciate this and some may find frustration in its absence. Personally, I needed just a little bit more. *Please note that the review copy I received may or may not be the final edition so some of these issues may still be in the fine-tuning process.

    Overall,

    was an interesting debut novel that could be easily recommended to fans of character driven, borderline-dark novels. In my opinion, the positives outweigh any negatives mentioned in this review. I'm glad I read it and am appreciative of the opportunity. I will be keeping my eye on this very talented author. Check it out!

    Edelweiss

    Michael Fiegel

    Skyhorse Publishing

    November 7, 2017

  • karen

    i caught the tail end of an episode of

    this morning, which was focused on the way that the idea of the ‘hero’ has become more and more blurry throughout the history of television; the rise of antiheroes and situational morality and drama reflecting a violent reality and the catharsis of applauding a vigilante sensibility if the end result is just. or something like that - i didn’t catch all of it. but i did catch the david simon parts, first when he was discussing

    , and omar in particular - who never put his gun on no citizen, and then in his reaction to

    , which was respectful, but also firm - david simon is

    on board with a show that celebrates violence to the extent it does, or glamorizes a serial killer into hero-status.

    and all that is on my mind now as i sit down to finally review this book. because this is an unequivocally violent book, and while edison, the central character is indeed a killer - for hire, or strategically, for self-preservation, or occasionally recreationally, he’s never cast in a heroic light. or even an

    heroic light. it’s a really unusual angle to approach a character - it’s not about sympathizing with a sociopath, the way

    or

    are designed and it’s never passed off as an essentially good person doing bad things for noble reasons, or because of trauma or abuse or affective shortcomings. fiegel knows how he wants readers to respond to edison, and he leaves no room for ambiguity. i have the pagehabit copy, annotated by the author, and one of the post-it notes reads:

    (it’s on page 49, if you’re curious)

    i had expectations going into this book that were slightly off - i thought it was about a man, a killer, who kidnapped a little girl and raised her up in his image, and they went off on a léon:the professional/natural born killers/take your daughter to killing spree adventures. and it’s

    like that, but with many unusual details that make the relationship less…chummy. i’ve read two books this year, with criminal daddy/eager daughter relationships:

    , and

    , but this one is the least likely to be made into a hallmark channel movie. unless hallmark drastically changes their stance on spree killing.

    don’t get me wrong, i really enjoyed this book, but it plays rough and it never lets you become complacent with the character’s acts. it’s a lot like

    that way, where you kind of get desensitized to the body count until ellis is all, NOW I BRING TINY MAMMALS INTO IT, and you’re shocked anew. there is nothing as graphic as that scene anywhere in this book, and edison is less irredeemable a character, but there are several moves i didn’t see coming, and i was like “damn, edison, wtf, dude?”

    it’s not just edison’s story; it’s split between him and xtian, the girl he kidnaps at age 8, and the novel covers ten years of their exploits, but while her perspective is interesting, she gets a little harley quinn-flamboyant in her teens, and he’s a more subtle puzzle-box, which to me is more compelling and lasting.

    i am very grateful to pagehabit for sending this my way, and i look forward to whatever this author has planned next.

    ****************************************

    three literal jaw-drops. not bad, book...

    review to come!

    ****************************************

    oh, my god -

    ??

    this one might be the best one yet: this book (which i had been really wanting to read), a short story by brian evenson ♥, a cute tote bag, and a tiny magnifying glass for my old-ass eyes that manages to make the body's failings fun!! plus all the annotations & etc. i am AMPED!

  • Rebecca McNutt

    Fans of

    will really enjoy this story. It's a gritty and shocking character study, offering a glimpse into a world best not explored, and it's deeply psychological in nature. There's also a lot of wit and dark humor, but ultimately

    is a look at what it means to be evil, and more importantly, what it means to be good.

  • Talk Supe

    It started with mayonnaise.

    BLACKBIRD is a tale about a domestic terrorist that abducted a child and trained her to be like him. You’ll probably expect a lot of blood and guts, and you’ll get that. What you probably won’t expect is how human this book is.

    That said, Michael Fiesel didn’t try for the sympathy vote, at least not IMO, he was very straightforward in showing how bad Edison North is and unapologetically so. What I liked here is the balance, it didn’t try to shock or scare, it presente

    It started with mayonnaise.

    BLACKBIRD is a tale about a domestic terrorist that abducted a child and trained her to be like him. You’ll probably expect a lot of blood and guts, and you’ll get that. What you probably won’t expect is how human this book is.

    That said, Michael Fiesel didn’t try for the sympathy vote, at least not IMO, he was very straightforward in showing how bad Edison North is and unapologetically so. What I liked here is the balance, it didn’t try to shock or scare, it presented the story as is and despite Edison’s methods and beliefs, that he’s still human and probably even more decent than others.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    I'm going with 2.5 stars but I'm rounding up to three stars because I'm really not sure how I feel about this book.

    The first part of the book I liked more than the second. Edison is a serial killer for hire. He doesn't have real emotions and freely admits to that. Then one day he is at a restaurant and sees eight year old Christina. He takes her. She deserves a better life than the one she is living (he feels.)

    Don't get all excited, he doesn't take her because he is an old pervert. He is just we

    I'm going with 2.5 stars but I'm rounding up to three stars because I'm really not sure how I feel about this book.

    The first part of the book I liked more than the second. Edison is a serial killer for hire. He doesn't have real emotions and freely admits to that. Then one day he is at a restaurant and sees eight year old Christina. He takes her. She deserves a better life than the one she is living (he feels.)

    Don't get all excited, he doesn't take her because he is an old pervert. He is just weird and don't forget..a killer. So why does he take this child? He is not really sure himself either. He keeps debating on just when he will kill her and leave her behind. But he doesn't.

    That begins their weird relationship. Christina now called Xtina by Edison doesn't go to normal school. She gets taught by Edison. Not the ABC's like most kids. Her training includes how to kill herself if they ever get caught, gun usage, how to kill as many people as possible...you know, the normal stuff.

    Then once Xtina is old enough she gets pulled into Edison's line of business. This is when the book started losing me....it got rambly and hard to read.

    Honestly, I was bored and didn't really care anymore.

    I think it's supposed to be a character study on these two characters but the skills were just not there to pull it off. (Don't start with me trolls...it's just my opinion.) The book had an interesting premise but it just didn't get it for me. I kept making myself read the thing..and honestly you shouldn't have to do that for a better book.

    **no gifs for this review because my internet is acting a damn fool and I'm too lazy to fight with it**

  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    The whole time I read this, it felt like I could just set it down and forget about it. And, I did that, actually. Each day, I’d put it down after reading the page number I needed. The next day, I’d pick it up, vaguely remembering what happened.

    Edision and Xtian were interesting characters. One day, Edision goes into a fast food restaurant, gets into a fight, and shoots people. He takes a little girl with him, Xtian. And they live together, him raising

    The whole time I read this, it felt like I could just set it down and forget about it. And, I did that, actually. Each day, I’d put it down after reading the page number I needed. The next day, I’d pick it up, vaguely remembering what happened.

    Edision and Xtian were interesting characters. One day, Edision goes into a fast food restaurant, gets into a fight, and shoots people. He takes a little girl with him, Xtian. And they live together, him raising her to know how to fight and kill.

    There was no real plot and I’m sure if I kept going, everything would have amazingly connected together… but it wasn’t so amazing that I couldn’t remember things and I didn’t find it worth it.

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