Bird Box by Josh Malerman / ★★★★★
Summary: When Malorie goes outside with her children, she must blindfold them and then herself. Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. And five years after it began, not many people are left.
The moment between deciding to open your eyes and then actually opening your eyes is as scary a thing as their is in the new world.
Bird Box was one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read, and while I don’t read a whole lot of horror, it was precisely the kind I like. It wasn’t outright, “monsters in your face” kind of horror, but shadows and footsteps and taps on your shoulder when there isn’t anything there kind of horror. This book creeped me out and had me holding my breath, always waiting for the danger to pass when I wasn’t even sure it had been there in the first place.
Bird Box is also a dystopian novel, which I hadn’t expected. While I’m rather over dystopian novels and their tropes, this was such a fresh take on an apocalyptic world that I was all for it. It’s not about disease or zombies or some sort of atomic ending to the world, but something other, and when you see it, you are driven to madness so fierce you tear your own self apart. I’d never read anything like this before, and I found it to be such a brilliantly horrifying way of the world coming to an end. I loved this book and sped through it in three days. It was insanely gripping and chilling, and it terrified me in the best way.
I didn’t expect to love the characters as much as I did. We follow Malorie and her two children as they escape the house they have been confined in for four years as they make their way down a river to a promised place of safety, blindfolded. Malorie’s relationship with these children fascinated me, and when I try to think of a word to describe it, all I can think of is “desperate.” This is no heartwarming tale of motherhood. The novel alternates between the time before the children, and after. We are introduced to a hardened, clever Malorie at the beginning of the book, but we go back and see how she became that way, how she was once just a scared girl, and it was SO well done.
The characters in this book are so fantastically flawed. I became very invested in them though, and when you CARE about the people in a horror story it just gets that much more terrifying.
The writing style of this book nailed the tension, the atmosphere, and most the utter creepiness of fearing what you cannot see. Malerman knows how to write a good horror story.
Was I satisfied?
YES. This book was so well done. It had just the right balance of mystery and horror without breaking its own tension to keep me on the edge of my seat up until the very end.