REVIEW: Bird Box by Josh Malerman (2014)

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Publisher: HarperVoyager
Format: Kindle
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 305 pages (4 hours and 25 minutes)
Author: Goodreads, Twitter, Website

Purchase on Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads: 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 unravelled that will have you racing to the final page.

My Rating:



You know the type of book that makes you feel claustrophobic and helpless and sincerely worry about the fate of its characters? This is totally one of those books.  Bird Box by Josh Malerman has been on my to-read list for a while and was one of the first books I bought for new Kindle (blog post about my Kindle to come soon!). It’s a fairly quick, straightforward read with a whole lot of emotional impact. The story follows a woman named Malorie who survives a mysterious apocalyptic scenario and finds herself pregnant and fighting for survival in a house full of strangers. There are two interweaving narratives focusing on the past (the initial fall of humanity and Malorie’s life in the house) and the present (Malorie living in isolation with a young boy and girl). The twist of this particular apocalyptic novel is that no one can look outside because whatever is outside is the reason that everyone else is dead.

The source of discomfort in Bird Box is that the force causing death and destruction is completely unknown. To avoid a gruesome fate, everyone left alive must block off all windows and close their eyes or wear blindfolds when they venture outside. The only time their eyes can be open is if they can guarantee (through touch) that they are inside a safe space. This results in numerous chapters and scenes being told through Malorie’s ability to hear, touch, and smell. If she’s outside and she hears a sound, she can’t take her blindfold off or she’ll die. If something brushes her shoulder she needs to carry on and pretend she’s alone. It’s extremely unsettling and Malerman executes the panic and helplessness of the characters with eerie grace.

Bird Box is an exciting novel that barely gives you time to catch your breath before moving on to the next creepy encounter. It’s a unique and interesting take on the ‘end of the world’ scenario and introduces a mysterious apocalyptic force that I had not previously come across in similar books of this genre. The looming cabin fever and the character’s growing panic towards their unknown fate are incredibly portrayed by the author and the novel concludes with a tense and perfectly executed climax. I recommend Bird Box for anyone looking for a fresh take on an apocalyptic novel that doesn’t involve nuclear holocaust or disease and anyone who wants a reason to never look out their window again. I absolutely loved being creeped out by this book and I think there’s some great potential for Bird Box to be made into an intense and unique horror film in the future.

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