Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman
Publisher: ECCO
Pub. Date: 03/01/2014
Pages: 262
Format: Electronic (library)

Goodreads Summary:

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.


I usually don’t read horror novels but Malerman’s BIRD BOX has made me a fan. At least, of pyschological horror novels. BIRD BOX takes place in a post-apocalyptic type world. This kind of setting has always intrigued me — whether it’s due to zombies, war, a plague, etc. I enjoy imaging what I would do in certain situations. Would I make the same decisions as the characters, or would I choose a different path?

From the first sentence of BIRD BOX I was completely gripped by the story and the characters. The novel is a quick read, although, I set it down due to the creep factor it gave me. I tend to read at night which wasn’t the best idea for BIRD BOX. I decided to read it during the day. Better choice!

Malerman does an excellent job of creating the fear of the unknown and relying on the fear of infinity — propbably many people’s fear. BIRD BOX is a turn-pager. Readers will want to know what’s causing the the people in the world to go mad. To take their own lives. To kill other people. As the synopsis states: is it man, animal, or monster? Trigger warning: there’s a lot of suicide, self-harm and death in BIRD BOX.

The novel shifts between the past and the present — a popular psychological and domestic thriller element. However, I would have liked to known a little more about the backstories of the group of survivors Mallory lives with. The novel also leaves with a lot of questions — that was okay with me.

Readers have asked Malerman if he has any plans to revisit the world of BIRD BOX. He’s hestiated on his answer but says he can’t say a definite no. Yes, please!

One thing Malerman excels at, especially in BIRD BOX, is relying not only on the character’s senses — hearing, touch and smell — but also the readers. BIRD BOX is an engaging story and will appeal to horror and thriller fans. Just make sure to keep the lights on!

Oh…and what’s with the birds, you might wonder? Well, you’ll just have to read BIRD BOX to find out!

Have you read BIRD BOX? If so, what did you think?

About the Author

Josh Malerman is an American author of novels and short stories. He is also a singer/songwriter for the band THE HIGH STRUNG.

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