BOOK REVIEW: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Format: Library book
Links:
Amazon UK | Goodreads
Blurb:
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: I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I read a good horror novel (before this one of course). Which is a shame because I love horror movies, I love being scared and letting my imagination run wild! I found out about Bird Box from a video by YouTuber Katie Snooks and I loved the sound of it so I picked up a copy from the library to give it a go and see whether she was talking any sense! She was. My God she was. This book consumed me for more or less an entire day; it demanded to be read from start to finish and I could not put it down.

I wouldn’t particularly describe it as dystopian or post-apocalyptic but for the sake of the review, I will. So in a post-apocalyptic world, we follow Malorie. In a dual time-line, we see how Malorie got to where she is in the “present” chapters in a disturbing and chilling world where something out there has caused the human race to go mad, get violent, kill others and eventually… kill themselves. One look at this “thing” and it’s too late. But nobody alive knows what it is. Is it a man? An animal? A creature? Something from another dimension?

So at present, Malorie is journeying from her house to a safe house, along the river in a rowing boat, with her two young children. All 3 of them are wearing blindfolds and are doing the entire journey blind. Because one look at what’s out there and it’s game over. We learn that Malorie finds out she’s pregnant, shortly after this pandemic begins and when her sister dies, she answers an ad in the paper to join a house with a group of survivors. There she makes friends and meets Tom and Olympia – another pregnant woman.

They learn to survive – although only just. They’re thinking of innovative ways to make life easier and more livable for the group. But on the night that Malorie gives birth, a sequence of events leads everything to go horribly wrong and that marks the start of a long journey of survival for Malorie and 2 young children. In a world where they can’t look outside and they don’t know what’s out there.

This book was to put it bluntly, outstanding. It was low-key terrifying in that usually, we have to see something in order to be terrified by it. A demon, a monster, a ghost – whatever it is that might scare you. But in Bird Box, the complete opposite is true. The reasons it’s so scary is because like the characters, we can’t see what’s out there. In certain scenes where a particular character is outside, blindfolded but describes the sensation of knowing someone or something is standing there, next to them. Sheeeeesh, it sent shivers down my spine!

Bird Box is incredibly easy to read and quite simply written for such a rich book, which surprised me but I wasn’t put off from it. It just makes my reading experience in particular because I could really get stuck in and read it quicker. Despite me saying it was written quite simply, it was descriptive enough for us to be able to visualize exactly what was going on (even when the characters were blindfolded and couldn’t actually see what was going on themselves, which is extraordinary) but the author didn’t word dump a load of unnecessary descriptions either. 

Malorie is our main character and it’s quite clear that she’s an extremely strong woman who has been through an awful lot. Adding in a pregnancy to the world she’s living in, I don’t know how she survived. But she did. And in the final scene it becomes quite clear that she doesn’t know how she did either. I love how it ended – I won’t say whether it was good or bad but I thought it was a good, solid ending and it definitely didn’t leave me disappointed. I was happy to draw the line under Malorie’s story at that point.

This book is being made into a movie which will be available on Netflix in December, featuring Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson and I literally cannot wait to see this story come to life. Will we finally see the creatures that have caused this? I’m not sure if I want to but we’ll soon see. This has got to be one of the most original, nail-biting and encompassing reads I’ve read in a while. It’s restored my faith in the horror genre and I love how the author has stepped away from the conventional horror elements and instead, allowed us to be scared by something else. The unknown. And our own imaginations. 

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68 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

  1. Bird Box is one of my favorite horror books too. Read it last year at one-go. Loved your detailed review. 🙂

    If you like horror genre, then you may try “Let the Right One In”. This is another page-turner.

  2. I am a horror writer and a lover of horror genres, this sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read the book then watch the movie on Netflix. Thanks for a wonderful review. xx

    1. Omg YESSS. I’m excited for the movie cos I love book to film adaptations PLUS Sandra Bullock and she’s fabulous in everything. I’m just curious as to what there going to do with the “thing”. Will we see it? Who knows!

  3. This really seems like a book I would love! I have yet to find horror books that I truly love, the last horror book I was obsessed with was Ju-On which is the book the grudge is based off of (which is the novel based off the Japanese film so it was a wild adaptation). Loved the review, looking forward to more.

  4. This sounds like something I would enjoy so much, I love books that I just can’t put down.. 🙊 I haven’t read a horror novel in years either, maybe this will get my back into them once again!

  5. I’m not usually a fan of horror novels, but after reading your review, I’m really tempted to purchase a copy and read this for myself! It sounds like such a fresh and interesting idea for a plot, and I’m sure that if you enjoyed it, I would too.

    I’ll definitely also keep an eye out for the Netflix adaption!

  6. I can’t do horror – I don’t sleep for days if I scare myself. But it sounds like this was an incredible read. It’s always great when you find one that restores your faith in a genre!

  7. I love horror books so much but only some can hook me and have me reading it from start to finish without letting me go but I want to read this book now. Your reviews are great and never give too much away.

  8. Wow! This book sounds intense! The fact that you don’t know what’s out there makes it even more creepy and eerie. I’ve never read a horror book, but I do enjoy a good horror film so this might be just my kinda thing! Thanks for the great review Jenny! 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  9. I heard about this book from Kate Snooks and she loved it as well — I tried to find it to read on the plane while I was going on vacation, but I couldn’t find it in time. I’m a little weary because I am not the biggest fan of horror, but it just sounds so interesting.

    Great review! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

  10. JENNY I NEED you to stop writing such intriguing and engaging book reviews because my TBR list is currently so long it could wrap round the world.
    This sounds amazing though, it is such a unique and inventive premise and I do love a creepy book! Also very excited for the movie version!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  11. I can’t believe I’m so late to hear about this book but it sounds amazing! I’m honestly not usually a big horror/scary story fan but this one just sounds soooo good I have to read it. And Netflix is making it into a movie?? YES.
    Great review!

  12. I didn’t read a single book while away on holiday!! I usually read as many as ten! This horror sounds scary, thrilling and defo one for me!

  13. Wow, this sounds really scary. I’m really bad at reading horror novels and watching horror movies, so I don’t know how I’d go with reading this. But I’m tempted to give it a try because it sounds really good!

  14. I’m not a horror book person, but I know my Mum is so will definitely be recommending it to her!

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

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