I wasn’t planning on writing a review for this novel because it was supposed to just be a quick read to help me get closer to my goodreads goal, but here I am reviewing it because it was just too good not to share with other readers. My sister recommended it to me and I was sold from the originality of the plot she described from the instant and looked it up on my nook. It just so happened that the ebook was only $1.99, and still is on b&n and other ebook retailers: (b&n: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bird-box-josh-malerman/1116864940?ean=9780062259677). But enough rambling and on to the review portion.
The author, Josh Malerman, wastes no time at all in getting the story rolling. Just in the first page we see the main character, Malorie, as she struggles, presently, with the decision of whether the children are ready to leave the house that she’s been in for four and a half years (the kids are four-years-old and she’s trained them to keep their eyes shut and how to listen to the sounds instead of through sight like she grew up learning). The world changed four and a half years ago, forcing people to shut themselves in their homes with blankets/plywood covering the windows to block out any sight of the creatures that lurk outside. Just a glimpse of these creatures causes a person to go insane and kill themselves. Throughout Bird Box, we see both what has happened in the past four and a half years as well as what’s occurring presently. In the past, we see Malorie as she decides to follow an ad an a newspaper to a house that the homeowner advertised as a safe haven after her sister looks at a creature and kills herself in the bathroom of their new home. Malorie and her new housemates at this safe haven become something like a family, which makes what happens the night she gives birth that much harder to read. Meanwhile, in present time, Malorie is blindfolded as she leads her children (also blindfolded) to the river and rows a boat around twenty miles to where the river splits (all blindfolded until a single instant when she must open her eyes to ensure she takes the correct stream where the river breaks) because there’s a place that’s even more safe than where she has been for four and a half years.
The whole time reading, I felt like I was experiencing what Malorie and her friends were going to because Malerman writes it so that the reader is as clueless about what’s happening as the character. The reader is as blinded as the characters, which makes for a refreshing and original story. The fear that is felt by the characters as they experience frightening tremors while wearing blindfolds when they venture out of the house is also felt, blindly, by the reader. I have never had a reading experience like the one I had while reading this novel.
There really isn’t anything else I can say about it, except read it for yourself. It truly is a novel that each reader has to read for themselves. And hey, the ebook is on sale right now, too. Definitely worth the read, even if you just read for the experience you’ll get out of it. Especially if you read for the experience.
Here’s a summary of Bird Box by Josh Malerman, taken from goodreads: 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, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but Malorie’s 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 motley 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.