Bird Box: A Novel

Josh Malerman
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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-01-21

For the life of me, I don't understand the hype, beyond it being a very silly meme. Sometimes I did get lost in the tension, but I think it got dragged out a bit too long, and that doesn't detract that the premise is a bit silly, always. The ending was pretty good, though, I must admit. Just not my cup of tea, I suppose.

Reviewed: 2019-01-07

A few years ago, I went through a Stephen King phase. Eager to snap up all the best horror at the time, I kept coming across Bird Box. I didn't end up grabbing the novel then, but when Netflix started assualting me with Sandra Bullock in a blindfold every time I fired up the app, I took it as a sign not to watch the movie but to read the book.

Bird Box was hard to put down. I read it in two sitting for two reasons: 1) It was getting late the night I started it, and I couldn't justify being tired at work the next day and 2) It was fucking creepy. Dan was working all night, and I didn't like the prospect of having to sleep alone. Never mind that I barely got any sleep anyway because I feared if I opened my eyes some indescribable creature would be staring through me, causing me to go insane.

My favorite thing about this novel was that the narrator had to describe much of the setting without the sense of sight. I always cite House of Leaves as one of those books that isn't actually that scary but the sheer terror of not knowing what might be lurking beside you is what makes it so great. This is exactly why Bird Box was so good. It's no surprise it was adapted into a movie; I'm shocked it didn't happen sooner.

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