Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig is a story that takes a few plot elements I’ve seen before – in SciFi, fantasy, and thrillers – and reimagines them in an entirely new and thoroughly mind-blowing manner.
The story is told in 3rd person focused narration primarily from the point of view of Nate, Oliver, and Maddie Graves. This family recently moved into Nate’s childhood home upon the death of his father. This narration style kept the story clear and focused and, coupled with the short chapters and fast pace, makes for a quick read despite its near 600 pages.
I love the combination of SciFi, fantasy, and thriller genre elements. Brought together and imagined as only Wendig can do, it creates a fascinating tale that held my attention and pulled me in completely from start to finish. The combination also keeps the story from getting uncomfortably intense since I was too busy marveling at its creativity ever to be brought down to a profoundly dark and disturbing place.
The characters are complex and intricately detailed, from the main characters to each supporting character. Nate survived a childhood full of abuse but stopped the chain of domestic violence with his own son. He is a loving and patient father to Oliver and husband to Maddie. Maddie is an artist with a secret about her artwork that leaves her in equal parts, wonder and fear. And Oliver is their teenage son who feels too much empathy for others’ pain to the point where he has had episodes that led to their decision to move. They are a strong family unit, and that strength will be tested in the most horrifying of ways.
I also loved the ending. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what to make of it, but I fell in love with the possibilities once it settled in. Of course, I can’t say any more but know that it is as fascinating as the rest of the story to that point.
If you are looking for a story that is packed full of chills and thrills, that will hold you in awe from start to finish and that will stay with you long after you finish it, The Book of Accidents should be your next read.