Book Review – Bird Box by Josh Malerman

by Maryse on October 11, 2015 · 11 comments

in My Book Reviews

Bird Box: A Novel
<— Absolutely haunting!!! Fun little creep-fest thriller (psych-thriller, even, which makes it that much better) that totally put me in that coveted Halloween buzz that I so love about October!! I swear the minute October hits, I’m looking for crisp weather, pumpkin everything, and “Happy Halloween” Yankee candles. Well, actually my favorite smells is “Witches Brew” but those meanies discontinued it. ROAR!!!! I hear “Happy Halloween” is a close replacement, so I accept! But I digress…

This book was pretty much as I imagined it would be (exciting and creepy) just not as terrifying as I was hoping for. Mind you, this… in real life? ABSOLUTE nightmare!!! We were anticipating the fright-fest so much, in fact, that a few of us buddy-read this one together, just in case of trauma. To virtually “huddle under a blankie-fort” together.

bev:  I have one scary book, Bird Box, that I bought last Halloween on sale. Very positively rec’d on a blog I visit, but scary. I mean to read it sometime straight through no peeking. Someday. Bird Box by Josh Malerman. Horror—definitely outside my norm.

Maryse: HOLY MOLY!!! Terror with your eyes closed? MINE!!! And bev has had it for awhile now but she’s a pok-pok chicken!!!

bev: Did you just call me a “pok pok chicken”? Lol… Amy said she’d br Bird Box with me and then talk me through the night.

Amy: And yes Bev…we are still on for buddy reading Bird Box. :D

Penny: Bird Box! Hello Maryse and everybody! I just had to comment on this one…. It is absolutely brilliant, and totally terrifying! But not in the conventional horror story sense…. My whole family read it in one sitting last year and we still talk about it!

Maryse: Penny. THAT EXCITES ME BIG TIME!!!!!! Thank you SO much for letting me know. After “The House”, I’ll read Bink Cummings #1, and then right to Bird Box. Or will I just want to go right to Bird Box? :D

Lee: Bird Box?? * gulp* errrrrr?? I shall have a convo with my bed covers first

bev: Wait. Before I start is everyone jumping ship to Bird Box?

Maryse: Er…umm.. you mean start Bird Box now? Like… at night? When it will be hours and hours before daylight again? *shudders* I want to SO bad, but I’m trying to use my logic… ’cause I KNOW that one will freak me out BAD. Especially at night. …Where’s Amy at?

bev: Maybe whatever the Bird Box is it got….*whispers* Amy. Ooh.

Amy: Soooooooo…Bird Box is next?

Tessa: I have the bird box on hold at the library. I can go tomorrow and get it then, Yeah! I can join.  :D

bev: I would love it if we could start Bird Box on the weekend. Pretty Please.

Maryse: Let’s go for a ride!!! As soon as I’m done my biker ride, I just may jump into it tonight if I’m brave enough. It was supposed to be a day read for me, but I’m DYING to start it. Well.. er… I hope not really dying – ’cause … you know. The scary.  … I WILL be diving in shortly… I need that fright. NEED IT. And as I always say… in BOOKS. ONLY. IN. BOOKS. *side-eyes potential scary invisible beings lurking* DON’T!!! :P

Amy: *raises hand* Since Maryse is ‘fessing up, I’m starting Bird Box tonight, too…have to get the full effect of scary book + the dark, right? ;)

Maryse: BIRD BOX. Yes. At night. GASP!!!!!!!!

Oooooh we were SO SCARED!!! The anticipation! In fact, many of us had “real-life” take away the “saturday morning start, and so so many of us started LAST NIGHT. YES!! NIGHT TIME horror read. *gasp* Exactly what we were trying to avoid, but OMG it was so worth it.

But this book didn’t so much give us the obvious visual scares twisted, and keep-your-lights-on-for-days boo! eek moments, as it did, give me the heebs via chilling scenarios, and creeping me out, big time! Constantly imagining… what it was that was doing this?

Online, they are calling it “the Problem.” There exists the widespread communal belief that whatever “the Problem” is, it definitely begins when a person sees something.

And how they could possibly get through it, became safe again, live again, when they couldn’t even go outside with their eyes wide-open? Imagine trying to go out into the recently decimated city, and scavenge for canned goods and medications, blindfolded. Dumping buckets of toilet-matter daily, and dipping buckets into a well for drinking water… blindfolded. Traveling… blindfolded.

The place she is taking the children to may no longer exist. The excruciating trip, blindly taking the river, could result in nothing. When they get there, down the river, will they be safe? What if what she’s looking for isn’t there?

Trying to live… no, survive, amongst a world where everyone has gone mad and killed themselves. And each other, because of something they saw. And what is that *something*? Nobody knows. Because nobody survives it.

Plenty of theories though! Like the government conspiracy theories of chemicals or waves affecting our brains. Or maybe some monstrous life-form that wields it’s evil voodoo on us? Whatever it is, the ones that don’t see it, aren’t affected.

“Whatever they are,” Tom says, “our minds can’t understand them. They’re like infinity, it seems. Something too complex for us to comprehend. Do you see?”

And along this journey (one that darkly and tragically introduces us to the obliteration of society as we know it), we, the reader, are equally distressed by horrific circumstances, loss, alarming personal experiments, and moments of hope and light amongst their stuffy, stinky, scary boarded-up sanctuary knowing that their supplies might run out.

A journey that offers us a touch of hope amongst a group of strangers that “camp out” in a house together and learn to trust one another and work together (all while sporadic strangers knock on their door, asking for help introducing hope, but maybe also unwanted changes in their dynamics),

A divide, Malorie thinks, is growing.

Exactly when it began doesn’t matter to her. It’s visible now.

…and then, to top it all off, we trek with a woman on her incredibly scary journey in a row-boat with her two young children, looking for safety. Again. Blindfolded.

Finally, after four years of waiting, training, and finding the courage to leave, she paddles away from the dock, from the bank, and from the house that has protected her and the children for what feels like a lifetime.

AMAZING!!

Amy: I’m not far into BB so I’m not spooked yet, but it is reminding me a bit of M. Night Shamawhatever’s movie The Happening…anyone remember that one? We’re going to see The Martian in a little while and then I’m climbing in the blankie fort with Manny and a ghost martini, and some of y’all better be staying up late and checking in here tonight in case I freak out and need ya!

Maryse: I’m staying up late!!! :D

Tessa: So far, honest opinion of Bird Box? Not scared. *sighs* Annoyed, but not scared. I think it’s just not for me.

Amy: Yay Maryse!! Bird Box slumber party tonight!!! :D Tessa, how far into it are you? I’m creeped out over the “not knowing what it is” aspect right now. *shudders* Oh, those poor kids though. :(

bev: When she thinks, “Do they know what they do? Do they mean to do what they do?” I was surprised by this as I wouldn’t stop and wonder. Id just think they were absolutely bad. Not truly scaring me but one scene gave me a little bit of chills. The part with “And the longer he waits, the more scared he gets. Like the silence is getting louder.” Oh, I wish for names, boy/girl starting to bug me. They are children.

bev: Bird Box. Huh. Didn’t know what I was expecting the title meant, but not this, lol. … Amy, I was thinking The Village.

Maryse: I am at 13% and I am LOVING it. Creepy… and just so desolate.

bev: Tom. I can’t believe how attached Im becoming to him. Am I the only one who wishes they’d open their eyes so you can “see” at the same time you worry they accidentally will?

Maryse: TOTALLY wanted them to open there eyes to make their treks easier every once in awhile. After all… sometimes… nothing was encountered. At least… as far as I know. ;)

bev: Finished. Made cry a little bit in a couple places. Pfft. I like it. It never totally scared me though some creepy suspenseful moments. Amazing how visual it felt though we could never see. So have you ladies ever read two totally different books that for some reason one will remind you of the other. While reading I kept thinking of Station Eleven. Both deal with the end of civilization but on very different ways. Yet, it kept coming to mind. Both great reads. Now how to shake this off and with what?

Maryse: …fell asleep. Well actually I was reading it with my eyes closed a few times (dreaming it and thinking I was still actually reading). LOL!!! So I finally gave up before I had a serious nightmare and I’m back to it. I’m at the man on the river, gargling. Eeeeep! I don’t understand!! I have so many questions and I’m always nervous. ALWAYS.

Amy:  I’m really getting into BB and getting creeped out (still! :D )

bev: When they think something could be right there next to them? And they can’t open their eyes? When I’m scared I want lights everywhere, lol. Do you feel a sort of slow build up?

Tessa: That was depressing. I need something happy after Bird Box, because WOW, depressing. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t scared. Nervous for them, sure, but not scared. The past vs present is still annoying though. Stick with past tense in the past! *grumbles* Maybe I’ve read too many PNR, but End of Days by Susan Ee was far scarier to me. So, yep, it’s probably just me.  :)

bev: Tessa, it made me cry. :-( I didn’t go really happy but totally hooked on my read. … BB a few moments gave me some creeps, but not full out scared. I did really like it though…

Jean: I want to read it based on Tessa and others comments. Hmmmmm…….. is anyone liking it? Isn’t there a book out there that’s so scary you can’t sleep, need to leave the lights on, and jump at every sound in the house? Anyone?

Tessa: Jean, EVERYONE else is liking it. This is really me, not the book.

bev: Lol. Its not happy but I wasn’t really depressed. I found it beautiful in parts. You know what part kinda really scared me? To be vague the “cord” & the joy derived from it. *shudders* I was not full on sobbing but just, hmm, sad tears. Why I usually stay away from the crying books. I’m set off a lot easier than I used to be lol… Oh, Jean. I thought it was a great read. Read it in the one day. Just had to know. It looks like Amy & Maryse (has fb updates) are liking it too. Just not a light read.

Maryse: I’m loving it. I’m at 70%

Maryse: Whoa. What a journey that was. Darn good. It wasn’t my most favorite thriller in the world but I must have liked it big time ’cause I couldn’t tear myself away. I had to know…

Maryse: bev agreed… I found the friendships that were developed comforting, and the fact that it wasn’t only the “whatever it is” that could be a villain… I loved that aspect. Of course I have a few hiccups with how they could possibly manage as well as they did, blindfolded, but it was NEVER easy. In fact made me exhausted at times with how hard it was to just “live”.

And it was hopeful in its own way. I feel good right now. Pleased. Adrenaline rushes, a few creepies for sure… the imagery (especially when blindfolded) was amazing, and it felt well-rounded, in terms of what I’m looking for in a read. I’d love a second one… I wanna know more.

I have a very special theory about one character (Gary), and I’m so curious about… stuff. Yep! I started this one last night, and you KNOW I’m totally into it when I finish it in less that 24 hrs. That means that I didn’t put it down (other than the obligatory pass-out/almost nightmare-fest). LOL!

Fantastic! A world where, yes… maybe this tiny group survived, and have found each other and are trying to stay alive together, but that at ANY moment, they might open their eyes, and lose their minds, and I was losing my mind with them!

They’ll eventually get us, Don said. There’s no reason to think otherwise. It’s end times, people. And if it’s a matter of a creature our brains are incapable of comprehending, then we deserve it. I always assumed the end would come because of our own stupidity.

What kind of life could they possibly have, now?

Are you a good mother? she asks herself again, handing over a second pouch of food.

How can she expect her children to dream as big as the stars if they can’t lift their heads to gaze upon them? Malorie doesn’t know the answer.

And what could the future possibly hold for them? I LOVE books like this. Absolute devastation, but with just a little bit of hope… it carries us right to the end.

4.5 stars!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

bev October 11, 2015 at 6:28 PM

See now I’m curious as to your theory. Was he already or have certain tendencies?

Maryse October 11, 2015 at 7:11 PM

*spoiler*

*spoiler*

*spoiler*

For those that haven’t read this book yet and want to… even though you’ll have no idea what this means in this comment… skip it.

It is for bev, and those that have read it. ;)

I say he was “affected”. Just in a different way. But definitely just enough…

bev October 11, 2015 at 7:49 PM

Hmm. I’m trying to remember the river and if maybe others also.

Penny October 11, 2015 at 10:02 PM

I’m so glad you liked it! I think, for me, it was the fear of the unknown…..the blindfolds… just not knowing what was out there. I let my imagination go wild, and that’s what made it scary for me. :)

Maryse October 11, 2015 at 10:19 PM

Me too!! I let it take me… or let my MIND take me… and it was SO fun!!!

Jean October 12, 2015 at 8:59 AM

Ok, you convinced me. Skimmed your review, but trusting your rating on this one! Starting tonight…..sorry I missed the buddy read!

Megan October 12, 2015 at 2:08 PM

Ok- so I’ve been reading your blog for about a year and have never commented on anything so I’m nervous about giving up my lurker status but I saw in your review someone asked what was a stay up late scaredy cat book to read and I read only one or two scary books a year and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill is one that all this time later I still get creeped out about. Let me know if anyone tries it. Based on your group’s posts I am on book 3 of Bink Cummings. You guys never put me on a dull path!

Amy October 12, 2015 at 6:49 PM

I really liked how what was going on (the creatures and their effect on humans) was explained *just* enough as the story went along, letting us feel the desperation along with the characters as they tried to figure out how to survive. It was a really fun change of pace from what I’m used to reading! :D

Megan! I’m glad you came out of lurker status to share…Heart Shaped Box FREAKED me out as well! The apple didn’t fall far from the Stephen King tree, did it? ;)

Jean October 12, 2015 at 8:09 PM

I’m loving Bird Box. It’s actually just what I needed right now!

I read and really liked Heart Shaped Box! Has anyone read any of his other books like NOS4A2? Been curious about that one……..

Jean October 13, 2015 at 6:31 PM

Yep, read it on one day! Loved it! Great review and agree with all your comments!

Maryse October 26, 2015 at 10:14 AM

Ohhh YAY thank you Megan!!!!! This one was just on sale too (may still be). :D !!!

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