Monday, December 15, 2014

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

When the outbreak hits, Malorie is able to escape to a safe haven that's opened its arms to strangers. Four years later, she and her two children are still there. But Malorie knows they have to move on. They may be able to continue to survive as they have, but it's an existence that's both unfair and unsustainable. In order to leave, though, she and her young children will have to brave the outside and that means braving the thing that caused all of this in the first place.

So as I mentioned last week in my review of Anne Knows Books, their first recommended title for me was Josh Malerman's Bird Box. Holy crap it was a great recommendation! It totally suited my reading preferences. Not only that, it totally suited what I was in the mood for: it's dark and a bit bleak. It's horror, but the kind that's heavily focused on atmosphere and characters.

The story alternates between Malorie's travel upriver and her experiences from the beginning of the outbreak through to this point. The children, simply called Boy and Girl, are only four but Malorie has spent all of their lives teaching them how to survive in this new world. And she well knows that in order for them to reach their goal she will need their help as much as they will need hers.

Oh, this world! The outbreak begins with reports of violence from around the globe. Neighbors turning on neighbors, family members turning on one another, all preceding the perpetrator's suicide. And all the reports can surmise is that the person afflicted saw something that caused them to lose their minds. So in order to survive, Malorie has lived for four years in a world where literally opening your eyes can mean certain death. As the story progresses and the reader is exposed to the various ways Malorie and others have tried to outwit this strange epidemic shows how strong a character she truly is.

By the end there really isn't much of an answer as to what's caused this new reality and that makes the book that much more terrifying. Bird Box is by far one of the best horror reads I've had the pleasure of diving into for quite some time. As it's Malerman's first, I do hope it means much, much more to come!

Rating: 5/5

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