Audiobook Review: The Raptor & The Wren by Chuck Wendig
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
The Raptor & The Wren by Chuck Wendig
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book 5 of Miriam Black
Publisher: Audible Studios (July 3, 2018)
Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Narrator: Emily Beresford
The Raptor and The Wren is the fifth book in the Miriam Black series, in which our eponymous protagonist returns to her roots. But instead of living like a vagrant, hopping from city to city trailing people that she knows will soon die in order rob them at their time of their deaths, Miriam is now living in Florida, in a house that used to belong to her mother, and she has taken her scam to the next level. With no shortage of death in retirement mecca, where folks expire naturally from old age or health conditions all the time, the world is her oyster. No one will miss a little breaking and entering, or a few missing valuables or bottles of prescription drugs. To some extent, Miriam has accepted her dark powers, and there’s no sense in letting a good opportunity go to waste.
And yet, a lot of things still bother her. With just a touch, Miriam can see how someone will die, and this is how she knows that her good friend Louis, whom she still loves, will murder his fiancée in just a few months’ time. The mistakes of her past have also come back to haunt her, inspiring the actions of a new copy-cat killer. Those who have the misfortune of being caught up in Miriam’s trail of destruction often end up damaged and broken, even if they manage to survive, as Lauren AKA Wren can attest. The girl we first met in Mockingbird is now a teen, struggling with her own dark side. In order to save Wren, Miriam must confront her own demons, right the wrongs of her past, and continue her journey to understand the origin of her powers.
While I still love Miriam to bits, I can’t help but feel that the series has lost some of its edge since Thunderbird. In my review of the previous book, I noted how the plot developments and characters failed to impact me as strongly, and the series as a whole has become…well, more pedestrian. Likewise, The Raptor and The Wren continues this trend, recycling old plot points and limiting the story’s potential. It probably didn’t help that this book was mostly filler. It was a fast read, but after finishing it, I was left with a nagging feeling that not a lot happened, and that none of the newer, more interesting conflicts introduced here ended up being resolved. In other words, it felt like the entire purpose of this book was to be the setup for the next one, which I believe will be the last book of the series.
Thank goodness for Miriam. She is the one bright spot in this general state of stagnation, because of the way she has grown with each book. It can’t be denied, Miriam Black has come a long way since Blackbirds, despite certain aspects of her life coming full circle. She has wrestled with the horrific nature of her powers, emerging stronger if not victorious. She has forged new relationships, learned to care about people other than herself. Some of Louis’ goodness has also rubbed off on her, teaching her the value of responsibility and the power to shape her own life through her own actions. The days of running away and never looking back are over; this new Miriam tackles her problems head on, even when the fear threatens to overwhelm. Rest assured though, all the things that have made her character so entertaining and addictive to read about have been left intact. Miriam is still the undisputed queen of the potty mouth and dirty metaphors, and we should all cherish her for it.
All in all, The Raptor and The Wren was fun to read, even though it was short and most of the plot was bridging and biding time for the final installment. The ending was pretty shocking though, I won’t lie. Poor Miriam never seems to catch a break. I’m still sitting here, thinking “Please don’t let me to be so!” but as with all of Chuck Wendig’s books, you never know what will happen next. Despite this one being an overall lackluster sequel, at least compared the earlier volumes in this series (which, in my opinion, ranks as some of the author’s best work), I’m waiting on pins and needles for finale. If the foundations built here are any indication, Vultures promises to bring an epic conclusion.
Audiobook Comments: I took a break from the audiobooks in this series after Mockingbird, but I was glad to pick this up again and see that Emily Beresford is still the voice behind Miriam Black. I’ve always felt there is a quality to her voice that makes her the perfectly suited for the main character, a certain sharpness that brings out Miriam’s devil-may-care ways and sass. I’m glad that hasn’t changed. It was a joy coming back to her superb narration.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Blackbirds (Book 1)
Review of Mockingbird (Book 2)
Review of The Cormorant (Book 3)
Review of Thunderbird (Book 4)
I haven’t yet read any Wendig, although I’ve had the first book of this series on my shelf for a while now.
It’s tough, I think, with many UF series, because I do think a lot of them start to lose steam around book 5 or 6. I still love the genre anyway!
I agree, though a couple (the Mercedes Thompson and Dresden Files come to mind) managed to pick up around the 5-6 book mark. But I the days of those long running series are coming to an end 🙂 Few authors can keep things going for that long.
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Yeah, Dresden definitely picks up later on in the series. I left off of Mercy Thompson around book six iirc, I still keep meaning to read the rest of them. (One of the many series I need to catch up on, haha.)
I never read anything past Blackbirds, but I’m about to restart the series anew here soon. No particular reason, just found other things to read. Great review as always!
Mockingbird was the second one, I think. And IIRC, it was awesome! Honestly the first three are definitely worth picking up. I sense things are winding down for the series though, because the last two haven’t been as good.
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It’s got to be hard keeping a series going for so long, and continuing the quality of the first book. I wonder if it’s the publisher driving the length of the series?
Not sure, though I know this series had a bit of a hiccup when Angry Robot was restructuring a while back. Not sure if 6 books was always the plan or if that decision was affected when Saga picked up the series. The fact that there was a gap of many years between books 3 and 4 probably had something to do with that too.
Unfortunately I developed a strong dislike for Miriam in book 1 and never went beyond that with this series, but I’m glad that you still find her journey intriguing, even though it would seem that the author has lost some steam here…
Haha, she hasn’t changed much since book one in terms of personality, so probably a good decision that you stopped 😀
Great Review! Sorry this one wasn’t as good as the last few! I don’t like it when books are just fillers or set ups for the next book, tho sometimes it is necessary! I hope the last book is better!
I have a feeling the author himself might have lost the enthusiasm for the series, so yeah probably a good time for things to wind down and end 🙂
I love this series and yet I also thought No.4 felt a bit off tack – that could be because I switched to audio instead though.
That might have been part of the problem, though on the whole, I did think Thunderbird was weaker too. Nowhere near as good as the first three.
Oh I was going to comment on your recent book haul post about how extra this cover looks; I love it lol. 😂 Shame that it’s mostly filler though…I find a lot of series that exceed 4 books tend to be diluted in its awesomeness, so hopefully the final book will bring it. And at least the character of Miriam and the finale saved this book for you. 😉 Great review!
Yeah, this series got some kickass new covers when it switched over to Saga Press. I’ve always loved the bird themes in the titles, and whoever this designer is for the books really did them justice 🙂
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