Tuesday, August 26, 2014

REVIEW: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box
by Josh Malerman

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

What I thought:
I would classify Bird Box as Horror Light.
I know a lot of people have written in their reviews "Don't read this before bed!",  but for me, this novel didn't get under my skin the way Henry James, Stephen King, or even a good zombie novel will. Nor was it as ghastly and horrific as a James A. Moore novel.

The novel is a fun romp through a horrific landscape, and reminded me a bit of "The Happening" (except much, much better). Most of this novel takes place in flashback, which works really well to keep the reader's interest and not bog down the actual act of Malorie and the kids leaving the house with what seem like contrived events.

The "big bad" in this novel, for me, was excellent. It was an unexplained phenomenon, with many theories thrown out as to what it was, but with no one truly knowing. I appreciate that there was no true answer given, and that the only way to really find out was to look, which, of course, had deadly consequences. The fact that you never got a straight answer really upped the creepy factor, because it left you in the same boat as the people experiencing what was going on.

There were a few things that bothered me a little about the book too. The first thing was the nature of the way people died. In the beginning, it seemed that people were prone to kill their loved ones and then kill themselves, but later on, it seemed they lost interest in being murderous and instead were just suicidal. For me, since I felt like we didn't get to know any of the characters particularly well, it would have been scarier if the phenomenon victims kept a more murderous intent.

The second thing that bothered me was one of the later plot twists. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that while the whole thing was actually foreshadowed in a way I appreciate, the event itself was something I saw coming a mile away. It's a plot twist that's been used before, so with the rest of the book being so interesting and refreshingly original, I kind of wish this major point in the story had been too.

This was a really enjoyable, fast read. Perfect for the upcoming Halloween season!