Friday, October 30, 2015

Review by Coll! Bird Box by Josh Malerman. 4 Coffee Cups!

Bird Box
By Josh Malerman
Genre: Horror / Dystopia

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, 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 remains, 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's 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. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

Review by Coll 

My Rating: 4 Coffee Cups!

The first thing I want to say is that this book creeped the hell out of me and I loved every second of it! Since the disaster happened, Malorie has lived in fear. Fear of other people, fear of going outside, fear of sight, fear of the things that we have always taken for granted. Something exists in the world and seeing it will drive you mad, turning any human into a frenzied lunatic. Malorie has spent five years in a house with the windows and door blocked, only going outside for water and supplies, always doing so blindfolded. Now it is time to move on, for the sake of her children, and as she embarks on her blind journey every sound around her is a threat and every threat is real. As Malorie travels down a river in an old rowboat, to a salvation that may or may not exist, her only guidance and warnings come from her two children who she has trained to hear without seeing since birth. But in this new, sightless world nothing is as simple as it seems and the only thing between a person and death is the cloth that covers their eyes.

I love dystopia and I love horror so it seemed like a no-brainer for me to read this book. The story starts with a quick introduction to Malorie and a glimpse into the beginning of the new dystopian world. When I say a quick intro I really mean it because only a few pages are given to the start of the disaster and the downfall of the world. The main focus of the story is on Malorie’s stay at an abandoned house that has become her safe haven. Not one chapter of this book goes by without something happening that sends shivers up your spine. Malerman’s ability to creep the reader out is phenomenal and it is always done in such a subtle manner that is so fear inducing. I cannot even count how many times I was reading pages as fast as possible to see what was going to happen next. To me that is always the sign of a well done horror book.

The main brilliance in this book is the ability of Malerman to tell a story and make you feel as sightless as the characters when they are blindfolded. He is able to explain a situation to you without describing anything you would see. Instead he relies on feel, smell, and sound to describe the world to us and we experience things the way the characters in the book do. It is hard to describe being made to feel like you are blind when you are reading but that is, in a way, what it is like when reading Bird Box. To convey the feeling of fear and also making the reader feel like they cannot see is no easy feat, yet it was executed perfectly in Bird Box.

There are numerous scenes in this book that are downright terrifying and brilliantly written. Malerman does not use the typical horror tactics to induce fear either, he weaves together psychological fear, suspense, and mystery to build a story that is unnerving and just plain scary. He also touches on the age old fear of being afraid of the dark, something all people experienced in their childhood and a fear that we can all understand. Add in the concept of the unknown and we have a mix of terrifying elements that are the basis for a well told horror story.

Where this book lost a cup for me in the rating was the ending. The story was so fast paced and there were so many questions and ideas throughout the book and the ending didn’t seem to fit completely with overall tone of the book. After everything I had read in the book I guess I was just anticipating something different. But this is a small complaint and did not take away from the book being enjoyable and very well written. Bird Box is a quick read because it sucks you in from the beginning and makes you yearn for the outcome of the story.  If you are looking for a creepy and suspenseful read that is not your ordinary horror story, then definitely give this book a read and prepare to be terrified in the process.

“It's better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces.”

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