Title: Bird Box
Writer: Josh Malerman
Publishing House: Ecco
Date of Publication: March 1st 2014
Rating: 5 stars
”There are things out there that will hurt you.”
Even though thrillers aren’t among my favourite reads, this one had all the right ingredients. A mix of Dystopian Fiction with a healthy dose of Paranormal and two extremely interesting main characters. It was creepy and fascinating.
News of a series of completely abnormal action begin to reach the USA. In a contemporary world, violent deaths start from an area in Russia and escalate, spreading everywhere. What is it that makes these deaths horrifying? They take place without a reason. Everyday people, citizens of quiet towns, people like us start attacking others and kill them in terrifying ways. They attack family and friends. They know no boundaries and then they kill themselves. And the explanation can be found in a source that is even more terrifying than the deaths. Something they saw turned ordinary people into vicious murderers. What is it? Nobody knows. Are they creatures? Is it a virus? No matter the cause, the result is a world that is now empty, devoid of life and time. Everything we’ve ever known falls into darkness because to open your eyes means death.
”The world, the outdoors, is being shut down.”
The story itself is the main reason I enjoyed Bird Box so much. Malorie, the main charcater, is a young mother of two unnamed children. They’re just called Boy and Girl. They only know the house they were born into as their world. In this house, Malorie found a refuge four years ago, along with a few people who wanted to survive, each one having gone through a terrible loss. I don’t know what kind of environment could be more claustrophobic and nerve-wrecking. Is there anything more valuable than our sight? Imagine a world where we are forbidden to look outside, to look at a fellow human being, our own family…In this house, the characters toy with their lives. Each day, each passing moment. It is a fight for everything. To bring water into the house, to make sure every possible opening is covered. There is fear and there are questions that can’t be answered. And I couldn’t help but anticipate danger from every person we met. When would madness strike?Who could possibly have the weakest composure to jeopardize everyone’s survival?
(Bird Box illustration for Sabitfikir mag by Nihan Sari via https://gr.pinterest.com/anitiger/)
One of the things that prevent me from appreciating thrillers is the lack of developed characters and the cliché dialogue. This novel is different, in my opinion. Malorie is a really well-written character, one I could see as realistic and a leader, with her feet firmly on the ground. Her actions were fully justified. Everyone would have acted in the same way if we had been in her situation. I pray we never will….And Tom is a character I was interested in from his first appearance. Both the characters and the dialogue were really satisfying, in my opinion, and combined with the haunting prose they created an extremely memorable read.
I don’t need to feel frightened in order to like a book. If the story is properly put together and the characters are interesting and as realistic as possible, I am satisfied. With Bird Box, I wasn’t frightened per se but I felt anxious, nervous and, yes, there were a few moments when my blood froze a little. I found the concept creepy and the execution successful. You know there is danger out, in the open, but you don’t know what it is. If you don’t know what threatens you, how can you fight it? So, I don’t think it can get scarier than that….
”And what scares you more? The creatures or yourself, as the memories of a million sights and colours come, flooding towards you? What scares you more?”