Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box

Bird Box
by Josh Malerman

Horror/Suspense/Psychological Thriller

262 Pages

Book #1 Bird Box series

Published by Ecco (27th March 2014)

Purchase from | | Booktopia* | Fishpond Au* | Dymocks | QBD  | Book Depository* | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Actual rating of 3.5

The world has changed, but no one really knows what’s happened. All they know is that they can’t look outside. They must keep their eyes closed and covered. For if they lay eyes on whatever the THING is that is out there, they will go mad and kill themselves, maybe even someone else as well. So they barricade themselves indoors. Blocking the windows with cardboard and sheets. Only venturing outside for necessities and making sure that when they do, they wear a blindfold. Among the sparse surviving human population is Malorie and her two children, Boy and Girl. She has trained the children since birth to rely on all of their other senses and to use their sight sparingly. The time has come, the day that she’s been dreaming of and dreading all at the same time. It is time to leave their safe haven, and venture up river in the the hopes that the voice Malorie once heard is still there. But the world has become a terrifying place, and Malorie must now navigate it without using her eyes. Will they survive the journey? And if they do, will there be someone at the other end of it?

I’ve had this book sitting on my kindle for probably about two odd years now. I can’t remember if I bought it because I saw the movie advertised on Netflix, or if I bought it BEFORE the movie was available on Netflix. Either way, I haven’t watched the movie because I wanted to read the book first, it just took me a while to get there.

I found this to be a super quick and easy read. The story flows beautifully, even though the chapters are alternating between present day and when the change first began. One would think that the constant jumping back and forth would be confusing, but I found it to be wonderfully done and Malerman kept the pacing fantastic through the switching, which can sometimes be difficult to do. There’s more of a focus on the past and the events leading up to the present than on the present itself, in my opinion, which worked well because there’s not a WHOLE lot happening in the present, expect for Malorie and the children attempting to navigate the river to get to their destination, which isn’t mentioned until further into the book. So we don’t even know WHY she’s left the safety of their house to make this trek. I felt that it added an almost unreliability to Malorie’s character this way, and it worked brilliant. Is she crazy? Or is she highly intelligent in her lack of trust?

The horror of this story lies in the not knowing. Even at the end, we still don’t know what people are actually seeing that sends them spiraling into madness, this whole story relies on the fear of the unknown to weave an unsettling tale where our most relied upon sense is taken from us. The characters spend so much of the time blindfolded, that it lends a claustrophobic feel to the narration and I am LIVING for it. I felt claustrophobic. Scenes where people are attempting to navigate a car down the street, WHILE BLINDFOLDED, made me flail and not know how to function. Attempting to walk down the street to investigate houses for supplies is all done blindfolded…how to they know where they’re going? How do they know that they haven’t turned themselves around and are walking in the total opposite direction to where they THINK they’re going. We rely so much on our sight, so when that is taken from us, even in fiction, it can have a huge impact, and Malerman did it brilliantly.

I found the narration itself to be very monotonous. Which in turn came across quite unemotional. I was still emotionally invested in what happened to the characters, but I wasn’t emotionally attached to them. The narration could be very choppy and stilted at times which went totally against the beautiful flow of the plot itself and was just strange. I’m not sure if it was Malerman’s intention to make the writing so unemotional or what, but that’s how it came across to me. He did such a wonderful job of putting me in the story and feeling the isolation, fear and claustrophobia that the characters felt that I found the voice of the piece really let it down, and it’s one of the big reasons that my rating isn’t higher.

As said above, the ending isn’t so much left on a cliff hanger, but was left open for future possibilities, which takes me to what sparked my need to read this book now. I was in Kmart the other week and came across a book, when I read the synopsis I realised it was the follow up to this one. So there IS more to the story, and I’m super keen to find out what happened after the ending of Bird Box. There also is hopefully more of an explanation on WHAT has happened to the world in the follow up instalment or at least future ones, if there ARE future ones. Time will tell.

All in all, this was a very atmospheric, well written story, though the voice of the narration let it down a bit and made me less emotionally attached to the characters than I felt I should have been. I will definitely be picking up the next book because I’m curious to see if we get some answers to all of the questions.

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