HarperCollins | Paperback, 291 pages
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014
Fiction | Horror
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
“Don’t Open Your Eyes.”
These ominous words perfectly described the world envisioned by Josh Malerman in this book. Because when you open your eyes, the evil that lurks outside will drive you to do unimaginable things to the people around you and to yourself. That is, if they don’t get to you first.
I was glad to find out that this book has a sequel. Because even after all the shit that went down in Bird Box, the author left a lot of questions unanswered. He’s also nice enough not to divulge too much, or leave breadcrumbs to follow. Indeed, this book will drive you nuts. Make you want to shake your fist, and goddammit, it would make you want to reach for that blindfold and damn the consequences.
You will be overcome with need to do just that as you follow along the story of Malorie and what’s left of the little band of survivors that perished from looking outside the window. Because the sinister presence is not a visceral monster. Neither is it psychological (or maybe it is). It’s not something in the air, or a chemical that permeated the land. And this is where the story will drive you crazy. You want to know what it is that people see before they kill others around them and themselves soon after. People have boarded up windows, painted the glass black, and if they needed to forage for supplies, they’d have to be blindfolded when they go outside. Do you see how impossibly dire things are?
There was no reprieve from the eerie ambiance that began as soon as you flipped to page one. It was a huge ominous thing that kept on burgeoning until the end of the book. The culmination of which, is the attempted escape via a boat without the help of sight. Can you imagine navigating that river blindfolded?
The phenomenon began as a story of random violence in Russia; from there, it found its way to Alaska. People were dying in a gore-fest that I’ve only seen in a Rob Zombie flick. Malorie, who was pregnant at the time, barely survived the trek from her house to a place where the other survivors were. She just lost her sister who committed suicide soon after she took a peek outside.
The story is told in a before and after sequencing of events. The before is the story of the remaining survivors and how Malorie reached the decision to leave what was once, a sanctuary. It also told the manic way she trained the two kids to be her extra sets of ears. The after is their voyage to another place that she’d found by calling numbers on a rotary phone. How to get there through the river proves to be another set of challenges that only tenuous discipline and self preservation can overcome.
This book horrifically imaginative. If you’ve ever wanted to venture into horror, Josh Malerman’s debut novel will have you reading with one eye open. It’s truly like watching a horror flick, where the soundtrack bespeaks of horrors to come. You’re scared to look but your morbid curiosity wins out in the end.