Release Date ~ May 13, 2014
Ecco ~ HarperCollins
Hardcover personally purchased
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 was highly recommended to me by a number of other readers/fellow book lovers, so I picked it up thanks to their influence despite my aversion to adult books. It was fortunate for me that I gave Bird Box a chance because otherwise I would have missed out on one of the scariest books I've ever read!
- Fear of the unknown:
Josh Malerman masters this concept with Bird Box, because the idea here is that there is something (unknown) in the world causing people to go mad and kill themselves (and, sometimes, others). The world as we know it shuts down. Survivors are left in a world of darkness with no idea as it what's happening or what's out there. To me, it's that unknown mystery that's the scariest. When I watch horror movies, it's never the moment when the monster/evil is revealed that I'm most afraid - it's the moments when fear grips me because there is something dark and shadowy behind me.
- Intense writing:
I'm a firm believer that a horror book needs suspenseful writing to be successful (at scaring me). Josh absolutely nails this style of writing in Bird Box, with just the right amount of description for a story where the characters spend a significant amount of time blindfolded. Sound and touch are extremely important senses, and attention is paid to them in a way that made me feel as if I was experiencing the events in the book as the characters were.
- Malorie as the protagonist:
This relates to why I primarily stay away from adult books, but I didn't believe I would appreciate Malorie as a main character. As a pregnant woman for much of the book (and a mother), I thought I'd simply fail to relate or empathize with her character. I was completely surprised when I connected with her almost instantly. Malorie is still fairly young (and likely not much older than I am) and we share many of the same fears and anxieties pre-Bird Box world events. But most importantly, the fact that Malorie is a mother provided a strong sense of internal motivation as to why she fought so hard to survive in the book.
I should add that I don't think you should read this book for the plot. If you're looking for answers and explanations about the events in Bird Box - you're not going to find the ending neatly tied up for you. Bird Box is not that kind of book. Rather, it is more about the journey and experience of this story which is a point in time of Malorie's life and having the same fears as she does.
In fact, I think this lack of explanation is precisely what makes this book so good - the unknown story is what scares me the most. I also found the ending to be fairly shocking - it wasn't what I expected and it left me with a lot of questions. While I'm not sure I loved the ending, it left me thinking and I feel like Bird Box is a book I'm going to need to read a few times to truly appreciate.
For those of you interested in Bird Box, you can read an excerpt from the beginning of the book over at Chatelaine.