Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Ecco Books
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn't look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows. They are out there. She might let them in. The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall. Soon she will have to wake them. Soon she will have to blindfold them. Today they must leave the house. Today they will risk everything.
Bird Box, how do I describe thee? Part Horror, part psychological thriller this book takes the term Mind #$%^ to the extreme. No lie, I read Bird Box well over a month ago and to this day I'm still not even sure how to process what happened over the course of the story. That being said, Bird Box was beautifully twisted and complex. The characters, the scenery, the (at times) erratic writing style of the Author, all combined to create this wonderfully demented world trapped by fear.
One of the best parts about Bird Box were the characters. For me, Malorie was an extremely unlikable character at first but by the stories end I came to realize what a strong, brave and caring woman she truly was. Also I loved the children. Despite their less than ideal upbringing you'd think the kids would be full on crazy as well but somehow they seemed to be the most sane and rational of the bunch. Maybe because the children perceived things differently than Malorie or the other adults in the story or maybe it is because they had someone else to rely on to keep them grounded. Either way I really liked them.
Another thing I really liked about Bird Box was how the story was more show than tell. Usually I like to see everything, I want to know who the Villain is, be it monster or human and if someone dies it better be shown but because Bird Box was more Psychological thriller than Horror the lack of descriptions work. Were kept guessing right up until the end who or what is really causing this plague of crazy.
Now although I really liked Bird Box, the story did have a few minor annoyances that kept me from rating it higher.
One of the things that really bugged me was how the demonic force causing the insanity plague behaved. Sometimes people would go crazy because they were in close proximity to others, sometimes they'd be by themselves, other times animals were affected and then boom, three chapters later they'd be fine. Sometimes a person would open their eyes and be fine and other times even with eyes tightly shut they'd die. I get this erratic pattern was supposed to add another level of insanity to he story but for me it didn't work.
Another thing I absolutely hated was how Malorie refused to name the children. Calling them "boy" and "girl" served no purpose except to shock the reader into thinking of them as less than the 4 year old children they actually were. I believe by calling them "boy" and "girl" instead of by a Human name it was a way for us to visualize them as just glorified tracker dogs for Malorie (hence all the talk of training them) instead of two helpless little children lacking love and guidance However, maybe it's the mother in me but knowing how poorly they'd been treated made me want to love them even more so maybe that was the Author's intent after all.
While I did certainly enjoy Birdbox and the terrifying world Josh Malerman created, I couldn't help but feel disappointed by the stories end. After so much darkness, the dawn of a new day for the precious few who survived just felt a bit cliche. Would the ending stop me from recommending the story to others? Absolutely not, it was still good. I just personally expected something bleaker with the way the story was heading.
With that being said, I'll be rating Bird Box by Josh Malerman ★★★★.
Recommended For Fans Of: The Road, The Waking Dark, American Psycho.
*Copy reviewed purchased. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.