review by Maryom
"Something" has been driving people to madness and suicide. At first there are just a few isolated cases but soon it builds to epidemic proportions. The only way to avoid the madness is to not see this unknown "thing", which leaves the few survivors huddled behind backed-out windows, and only venturing outside blindfolded. Malorie has survived alone in these conditions for four years, and raised two children. Now she feels it's time to strike out and meet up with other survivors, so, with eyes tightly blindfolded, the three of them head for the river and a terrifying journey in search of safety.
When Birdbox first came out, I somehow had this logged in my mind as horror fiction which isn't really my kind of thing, so I didn't bother reading it. Then I heard people talking about it on social media, describing it as more of a post-apocalyptic dystopian story, and this was reinforced by a first chapter sampler which left me wanting to read more, so at last, having spotted a copy at the library, I've read it!
Did it live up to my expectations? Well, a little bit 'yes' and 'no'.
Josh Malerman certainly knows how to build up tension and fear, and keep it cranked up! Imagine someone or something was stalking you but that the one thing you shouldn't do was open your eyes to see if this 'thing' was there! In this respect I found it playing on my fears of absolute darkness the way Michelle Paver's Dark Matter did, coupled with a terror of what might be lurking outside my windows. It is most definitely a book you won't want to put down!
The downside for me came when I felt the author had milked the horror for all it was worth, and the post-apocalyptic story-line fell in to the same-old, tried and tested way of such things; a group of survivors make it to a safe house but ultimately everything goes pear-shaped (this isn't a plot spoiler as we know from the outset that Malorie has been living there alone for several years).
It isn't a book I'd re-read, there aren't enough plot twists or character development for that, but on the other hand I'd be very willing to read another by the same author.
I've tagged it as 'adult' which is its target audience, but horror-loving teens will delight in it too.
Maryom's review - 4
Publisher - Harper Collins (Harper Voyager)
Genre - Adult, horror, post-apocalyptic,