When Vic McQueen first road across the Shorter Way bridge she was searching for something just as much as she was running from something. Her mother lost an item that was precious to her, but Vic didn’t search for the item to appease her mother, she searched for the item as a way to get out of a home where her parents drank too much and fought too loud. Vic’s father always warned her to stay clear of the bridge, it wasn’t safe, but Vic didn’t listen and found that she was able to use the bridge to find lost things. She was even able to travel the bridge much after its physical collapse.
As Vic grew, she began to doubt her own experiences. She would enter the bridge and end up wherever the item would be; she would sometimes exit the bridge and be an entire state away from her home. How is it possible for this to work? Who believes in such things? She asked the bridge to help her find someone that could understand her. She then met Maggie Leigh, the librarian of the Here Iowa Public Library. Maggie assured Vic that what she could do was quite real, and also that she wasn’t the only person with such a talent. In fact there was a dark force with a similar talent, and Vic may be the only person who could stop him.
Charles Manx “saved” children. He saved them from their dreary futures and took them to Christmasland, devouring their souls on the ride there. The first time that Manx encountered Vic, he was curious, and that curiosity led to a life sentence in prison. The second time that Manx encountered Vic, he wasn’t curious at all.
I adored the book. This is a great example of well-crafted genre fiction. Not only was the story amazing, the literary references in this novel made me feel like I would explode. Joe Hill pulls from His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, Locke and Key and heavily from his father, Stephen King. Spoilers at this point…. in the novel, there is a map of the “United Inscapes of America” which is pretty much the dreamscape that connects all the eerie things in America INCLUDING Pennywise’s Circus. Yep, Joe Hill just pulled Pennywise in this shit, meaning that Manx is the same type of monster as Pennywise… then, just to make me pass out with excitement, he then pulls in a reference from Doctor Sleep which was published after NOS4A2.
This was such an exciting book to read. If you have any nerd in you, if you have any love of the eerie and the weird read NOS4A2. Seriously just read it.