Bird Box By Josh Malerman
Most people dismissed the reports on the news. But they became too frequent; they became too real. And soon it was happening to people we knew. Then the Internet died. The televisions and radios went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore.
‘Bird Box’ was Josh Malerman debut and my word, it was a terrifying one. The story starts in the present tense as the lead character Malorie finally plucks up the courage to look for civilisation after years of living in isolation with her children, Child 1 and Child 2. The chapters alternate between the past and present and make for intense reading, so much so that once I finished the book, I didn’t even want it in the same room as me! Even the dark cover is spooky featuring birds against the pitch black sky.
The story moves back to the past, to bring us up to the speed about the situation and how it all began. Malorie lived with her sister Shannon when reports started coming in about incidents where people were turning on others before killing themselves in the most brutal way. There was no reason or understanding as to why it was happening, people thought it was paranormal, religion or something in the air. With no solution, people start to close up their windows and walk around with their eyes closed. And so Malorie finds herself living alone and pregnant after a one night stand. Scared she decides to go to the house that she and her sister saw advertised and after a treacherous journey meets people like herself and once meeting this small group of people, Malorie begins to understand just what is going on.
This book is utterly petrifying which is unfortunate as I was unable to put it down. I found this story to be reminiscent of ‘The Happening’ a film that was out a few years ago by M. Night Shyamalan, but where the film ended and became a bit lighthearted, the book continued with its bleakness and intensity and left little hope for the readers. There are many gripping moments when you think you are about to find what is causing people to go insane and these parts of the book had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The flashbacks are particularly scary and it was always at these parts that I found my heartbeat increasing and myself glancing myself furtively around the room. Josh describes scenes and situations with such vividness, that it’s hard not to imagine being there. Whereas the scenes that are set in the present, are even more gripping as Malorie and the children try to get to safety crossing a river and after years of brutish and intense training relies on the children’s hearing to help her.
From the offset Malorie seems like a cruel character, she shows no love to the children and treats them unfairly with punishment when they get their tasks wrong but once the story develops, you see some tender moments and realise that she loves the children in her own unique way.
A heart-stopping and disturbing tale that will stay with you long after you reached the final page, ‘Bird Box’ is a gripping and psychological debut that kept me awake long into the early hours
You can buy Bird Box from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.