Friday, 15 April 2016

Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Of the three post apocalyptic novels I've reviewed, this wins the prize for the most original reason why society has broken down. It's just... horrible and mad and genius.

We are thrown into a world five years after the world had ground to a halt. People live in houses with the windows boarded up, the doors locked and should they ever need to venture outside, they do so blindfolded. Something is out there, and if you see it.. it's already too late.

Malorie's story is told through a series of flashbacks. It began with news reports of violent deaths, attacks, cannibalism and suicide. No one knew why, and by the time people realised what might be causing it, it was too late. The internet died, the TV went off, radio stopped. Society collapsed.

And anyone going outside with their eyes open was a risk to themselves and anyone nearby.

I'm not saying any more than that - but I will say this book gave me nightmares. Two while I was reading, and one about two months later. Bearing in mind I've grown up on horror novels and movies, I'd say that was pretty damn impressive.

Birdbox is up there with the best examples of true psychological horror - Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House immediately comes to mind, as well as the "indescribable" horror of HP Lovecraft, in that the horror of the unseen is often far more disturbing than showing us a monster. Possibly because no matter how awful the monster is described, it's never as bad as what you thought it might be. But seeing someone else's reaction as they see something - that takes skill.

Bird Box is terrifying, compelling and utterly unforgettable. Superb.

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