Bird Box (Release Date: May 2014)
Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.
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.
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I love the premise of this novel: mankind is suffering an apocalypse because of something that can destroy those who look at it. Here, Malerman capitalizes on one of our greatest fears—not only the unknown, but the unseen. As a result, we follow the characters through mass hysteria and the breakdown of society, including all news outlets. This escalates to full-fledged paranoia and desperation. Most valuable emergency item? A blindfold. Through it all, Malerman is always upping the ante. Possible intruders, conspiracy theorists, whether or not animals are affected, and two women about to give birth are just some of the additional obstacles the characters face. You will be biting your fingernails the entire way.
One of the aspects of this book that works so well is how the narrative flips back and forth between the present and the past. This keeps us in a constant state of craving details. For instance, we have no idea what happened to Malorie’s other housemates or whether or not she and her kids will make it to safety. And, how far away is their destination and what is it like, anyway? These are just some things readers are anxious to uncover. I wouldn’t have minded if Malerman had given us more to discover, like an even deeper connection between some of the characters. But maybe one of his points is that human profound connection is nearly impossible in the midst of wondering if every day is going to be our last. We are reminded how priorities shift while thrust into dire circumstances.
As I finished the book, most of my questions were answered, even why Malorie never refers to the names her children. Also worth noting is the fact that there are some exceptionally terrifying scenes. For me, most of those were near the end, but Malerman feeds readers a steady stream of powerful imagery. The bird box, for one. And, did I mention the terror? But to reveal any other specifics would rob you of experiencing them for yourself. I suggest acquiring a copy as soon as possible, so you can finish it before the movie release with Sandra Bullock playing the part of Malorie. I, for one, am anxious to see this novel come to life on the big screen.
My Rating… A
Thank you Theresa for another fatastic review! This one sounds amazing and right up my alley!
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