Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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About the same time that Malorie finds out that she is pregnant, people starts dying. What starts out to be some random weird occurences turns out to be the start of a new world. Something is out there, and when people see it they go mad and kill themselves. No one knows what it is, because no one is alive to tell it when they see it.

Malorie and her two young children remains alive five years after it started. They’ve been living in an abandoned house, but Malorie has a dream of crossing the river. She knows of a place that might be safe. Now that her children tourns four years old, it is time to go. Blindfolded and with only her wits and her children’s trained ears to rely on, the journey will be the most difficult she has ever done.

First line: Malorie stands in the kitchen, thinking. 
Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman
My edition: I read an e-book edition from the norwegian library but I later bought a paperback from HarperCollins Publishers Ltd in english.
Age: 16+. This one is scary though and I think it fits well for adults as well.
Genres: Horror, Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Mystery, Post Apocalyptic

why-this-book
It’s actually really random and I learned a big lesson by ending up with this book. I forgot to pack more books for this big trainride I was on during this summer, and I had to pick one at the e-library. I wasn’t really going to read this one because the Norwegian cover made it look so bad. But then I decided to give it a shot anyway, and it turned out to be one of the best book I’ve read in 2016.

plot
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The thing that is so brilliant about this book is how simple, but yet terrifying the plot is. The world as we know it is inhabited with something, and if you look at it you go crazy, either killing people and then yourself or just yourself. HOW FREAKING SCARY IS THAT?! It’s so genius, because there’s nothing in the world more scarier than the Unknown. This is the reason people are afraid of the dark. Because in the dark, we can’t see what’s around us.  And in this book you can’t see them. You. Can’t. Look. At. Them. Seriously I shiver just thinking about it. Imagine living like that, not knowing what you’re really up against, having to cover all your windows and lock your doors and wear a blindfold to go outside and look for food and water without looking and never open your eyes. Imagine hearing them. Imagine hearing them and knowing that you can NOT open your eyes to look.

The plot is divided in two parts: Malorie “now” and Malorie from the day it started and up until “now”. Both parts of the story are so exciting it made me read chapter upon chapter because I needed to know what happened “now” and then I needed to know what happened in the past. It’s a really smart way to do it, and in the parts with Malorie “now” you get certain clues and ask yourself certain things that the part containg the past gradually answers. Piece by piece, you understand what really went down. And that story really made a deep impact on me.

writing
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I actually struggled a bit with the writing in this book. Malerman has written the book in present tense and he has a habit of making really short sentences. An example:

“Her hands are damp. She is trembling. She taps her toe nervously on the cracked tile floor. It is early; the sun is probably only peeking above the horizon.”

It’s not like that all the time, but enough for me to notice it one too many times. Short sentences works well on some level and on certain occasions, but in this book it is used a little too much. But, the story itself is so great that I had to keep reading nonetheless.

characters

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Malorie is a very good main character. She has spent the last five years hiding from something that will make her die if she ever sees. She’s been through some serious shit to put it mildly. To put a character in this situations is always interesting, because there are so many reactions to how a person can respond to being put through something like this. Malorie is not the typical hero, but she doesn’t take the role of a victim either. Of course, she is a victim of a very bad situation – and she is nervous and scared a lot during the book – but she’s brave. The balance between being the hero/ trying to do what’s right for her children  and being the victim/understanding that the world now is a indredibly dangerous place that you have every reason to be terrified of, is perfect in Malorie. She is very real, and whenever she was scared – I was too. She is brave, and she has put so much effort in making her children stay alive I don’t even know if I could do it that well myself.

Tom is probably my favorite character of the whole book. Tom is a positive person always looking for sloutions. He’s the kind of person who’d rather sit down and figure out a plan than lay down and give up because of a problem. He has many ideas of how to make the new world a living place, but he’s also reasonable. And very kind. I liked him a lot.

I’m also very fond of how Gary was portrayed. He really makes this book interesting and intense. He creeped me out from the very starts and he kind of represent what every apocalyptic universe reminds us: the world can be as dangerous it’s almost impossible to believe it, but in the end, there are often the humans trying to survive it that are the real danger.

the-ending

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The ending gave me the answer to one thing that I’d been dying to know for so many chapters and it also gave me the answer to the one thing I was wondering about since the start. If that particular thing were to never be explained, it would have been weird and I think I’d score the book lesser than I have done. Instead it became a nice moment of the book, and it made sense. I liked the ending, although I kind of expected it to end differently and I kind of wanted it to end differently. But I doubt any others would agree about that, and I am pleased about how it all ended.

all-over
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This book was just a huge surprise for me and I loved it more than I’d ever realised that I would. It was straight up scary to read, and for the first time in my life I’ve encountered a dystopian world I’d I don’t even remotely want to be a part of. Because it’s too scary. This book plays so much with my fears, and the plot is so incredibly good. I loved this book. I really really did.

goodreads-updates

07/20 marked as: to-read
07/24 marked as: currently reading
07/24 –  0% What an interesting plot!
07/24 – 19% But the writing is so weid… I don’t know if its the translation (I’m reading it in Norwegian) or that I just have to get used to it… I don’t know. But I was actually scared some pages ago, creds to the writer!
07/24 – 21% But there’s so many things I’m curious about! What ARE they?! How come they don’t just break in to the houses and make them all mad? Maybe they’re not really bad? I don’t know… It’s actually really exciting.
07/24 – 29% WHAT ARE THEY?!
07/24 – 31% – I ACTUALLY
JUMPED
07/24 – 45% – I seriously tried to go to bed three hours ago, but this book…
07/25 – 70% – NO VICTOR
07/25 – 71% GARY
07/25 – 87% klnknnkm
07/26 – 88% – Ah, I was on a part that was SO exciting yesterday and I tried so hard to read and I was so tired my eyes just kept closing and then I tried to comment my progress here and that lead to the last comment, which was the last thing I did before falling asleep with my phone in my hands but IT’S SO EXCITING
07/26 – 95% TOO MUCH FEELINGS
07/26 – 100% I did not expect anything from this book. I thought this would be one of these “okay” books you read and forget. But this. This is probably one of my best reads in 2016. 

would-i-buy-it

YES. YES. YES. YES. AND I DID. I bought this one after reading it, because it HAS to be in my horror book shelf and it will be there forever for me to recommend to everyone and to re-read.

who-i-recommend-it-to

To everyone who want a different kind of dystopia. One that’s not about the politics but about the freaking scary part of living through it all, knowing danger’s lurking out there at all times. To everyone who likes horror genres. Everyone who fears the unknown. Eveyone who needs a book you can’t put down.

favorite-quote

“It’s better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces”

idaelise

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One comment on “Bird Box by Josh Malerman

  1. […] Bird Box by Josh Malerman I read this book at random, just choosing a random one at the e-library, and it turned out to be one of the best books I read in 2016. It’s a horror/dystopia, and it has the most genius plot I’ve encountered in a long time and I was so fascinated by the world and it’s horrors I can’t even begin to tell you guys. The story is lovely and horrific, and I was scared. It had everything I wanted from the book and more! […]

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