Book Review — Bird Box

Title:  Bird Box
Author:  Josh Malerman
Genre:  Horror, thriller, post-apocalyptic
Pages:  Kindle, 211
Publisher:  Harper Voyage
ISBN: 978-0-06-225965-3
Opening Lines:  "Malorie stands in the kitchen thinking.  Her hands are damp.  She is trembling.  She taps her toe nervously on the cracked tile floor."

Rating


"Something is out there . . .

"Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

"Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

"Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

"Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page."

~ Jacket copy



Lately, it has been hard to find a book that will fully catch my attention.  Whether it was due to the combination of classes and work or something else, it has been an issue for several months.  In an endeavor to correct the problem, I spend hours scouring Pinterest for new bool suggestions.  Many of the pins I looked at dealt with horror.  Usually, I save the horror for the fall, colder weather, and longer nights; however, it has been ever-present in my mind lately.  On all of the pins, this book kept coming up over and over and over again.  I decided to give it a chance.  Luckily, my local library had it available as an electronic rental!

(Yes, yes, as many of you will remember, I vowed never to become a Kindle user.  However, my wonderful Viking gifted me with a Kindle a few months ago.  Knowing that my textbooks would be approximately $50 cheaper in electronic format, he found a wonderful Kindle Fire . . . USED!  Since then, I have decided to embrace the idea of ebooks a bit more . . . )


This book is extremely hard to describe without giving it away completely.  As suggested by the jacket copy, this book is a post-apocalyptic horror/thriller.  After strange occurrences in Russia, people are starting to seemingly go insane and kill themselves/others after seeing something.  While there are many theories circulating about the nature of the thing, no one truly knows what or why people are losing their minds.  They only know that people are dying and no one is safe.

After several years living alone in a house, Malorie has decided to take matters into her own hands and try to give her children a future beyond the four walls.  However, with sight being dangerous, she must find safety using her other senses.  



Close your eyes and think about walking to your mailbox blindfolded.  Now consider preforming other mundane tasks with a blindfold over your eyes and taking away your sight.  If you take the blindfold off and open your eyes . . . Insanity . . . Death.  Yet, you do not know from what.

Malorie is the mother of two four-year-old children who live in a house with covered windows, locked doors, and old blood stains on the walls and floors.  When they leave the house to collect water from the well or empty the "shit bucket", it is all done with blindfolds covering their eyes.  Malorie lives under the constant fear that she might see something that will cause her to go insane and ultimately kill herself.  This is a fear she has been living with for approximately five years when the first people died in Russia.

After living alone with the children for four and a half years, Malorie has decided that she is willing to risk their safety in order to find a future for her children.  She has trained them to be acute listeners and not rely on their vision.  With blindfolds on and strict instructions not to open their eyes, Malorie embarks on a 20 mile trip up the river to find possible salvation.  However, the trip could prove to be harrowing, as well as life threatening.

The story is told mostly in flashbacks with occasional jaunts to the book's present-day on the river.  The most terrifying thing about this book is the unknown.  Like the characters, "sight" is taken from the reader.  Using limited third-person POV, Malerman is able to build the growing fear in the readers.  Like the characters, the audience has no idea what the novel's antagonist truly is, what it looks like, or why it is causing people to go insane.

There were many times throughout this novel that I found myself jumping at known noises in my house.  The novel was able to bring back the idea that, if I just closed by eyes, I would be safe.  It was engaging a played on the fear of the unknown, as well as adding an element of human nature/survival.

This was an excellent story and a rather unique idea.


Much love, Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.