Review: Birdbox - Josh Malerman
Genre: Thriller/horror Published: Ecco Publishing, March 2014 My Rating: 4 stars
“In a world where you can’t open your eyes, isn’t a blindfold all you could ever hope for?”
Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a (literal) unseen horror is creeping about, we follow Malorie and her two young children on treacherous blindfolded journey to perceived safety. Their only chance of keeping whatever is out there at bay: make sure you never see it, or you'll lose your mind. A horrifying, nailbiting trip follows (both physical aswell as psychological), that brings back memories of Malories previous years of survival, and keeps you wondering: what are we fleeing from. Man, animal, or something else entirely?
I could not put this book down and read it in two sittings. And that was only because I had to work, otherwise I might have finished it in one day. Birdbox is one of the rare psychological horror stories that actually envoked Some true horror in me. Living in this world would honestly be one of my worst nightmares.
This book plays on a fear that is in all of us humans: the fear of the unknown. The fear of the unseen... In this world people cannot leave their houses without being blindfolded as some unseen terror creeps around and turns everyone who sees it mad. In order to reach a safe place, our protagonist and her two small children must undertake a risky journey through the dangerous outside world.
The aspect that the characters are blindfolded throughout the entire journey to ensure they don’t accidentally catch a glimpse of this horrible entity that can be anywhere around them creates a terrifying and claustrophobic atmosphere that I would soon forget.
Meanwhile the story flashes back to the years the protagonist spent living with other survivors, and describes how she came to the decision to leave her house in search of a safer haven for her kids. Usually in horror or thrillerstories the character (especially the ones who end up dead) are completely one dimensional and I don’t really care about them. Not the case in this book: I Was really rooting for Malorie and her children, for Tom and I was even interested in Gary.
The presence of this unseen entity, along with the character dialogue raises interesting questions about the nature of fear itself, especially of fear of the unknown, that don’t all wrap up in a nice tidy bow in the end.
Throughout the suspense and atmosphere in this book are REAL! In case you are looking for a truly creepy story, that does not rely on cheap horrortropes to be scary and has actual characters you care about: be sure to pick this one up.
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