Bird Box: A Novel

Bird Box
By Josh Malerman
Publisher: Ecco
ISBN13: 9780062259653
Pages: 262
Genre: Thriller/Dystopian


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.


“It feels like a cage was lowered over them all. A cardboard box. A bird box. Blocking out the sun forever.”
-Josh Malerman, Bird Box

Wrap your head around the concept of a world that was once ours and has now been completely altered forever. Changed by a presence that once seen, you will never live to tell about. This is exactly the world that Malorie awakes to find herself in. She doesn’t realize things have went to shit immediately. She is preoccupied with the life growing inside of her. A child created from a one night stand with a man she knows will never really be a father or part of her life. But as she contemplates her own personal dilemma, everything is changing. The entire Earth is changing.

It happens slowly at first. A death here, a death there. The news broadcasts and radio stations slowly fill with reports of normal people committing completely abnormal and heinous acts. Bouts of insanity resulting in individuals, couples and even children taking their own lives, but not before hurting or attacking anyone near them. Then it really begins. A single connection is made. Each victim shares one common factor that is about to alter all that humanity has ever known. They have all seen something before they died. But what they have seen will never be known, as none have lived to speak about it.

A pandemic ensues as curfews are initially instated and before long, humankind ceases to function in any normal way. Hidden behind locked doors and covered windows, survival now depends on never seeing what lies just beyond. The only way to navigate this new world is behind closed eyes. Blindness is safety. Blindness is survival.

“The moment between deciding to open your eyes and then actually doing it is as scary a thing as there is in the new world.”
-Josh Malerman, Bird Box

If I had to sum up Bird Box in one word, it would be “terrifying“. Terror is exactly and simply what this novel delivers. Malerman has transcended the traditional ideals and perils of dystopian and post apocalyptic life, painting a new form of horror. A threat that cannot and must be seen and breeds a uniquely raw, brutal fear in the form of the unknown. Sometimes not knowing is worse than one can ever imagine.

Serving up intricately alternating slices of past and present narration in a manner that consistently leaves you guessing, doubting and begging for more, we are presented with the story of Malorie as she attempts to navigate this new world. She finds herself with several housemates who have banded together for survival. The character building is straightforward and somewhat simplistic, but it works so well in Bird Box, because the real winning element is the uncertainty. That edge of your seat, continuous doubt and questioning is what drives this novel and propels you forward, page after page.

The world building is amazingly complex in the most ingenious of ways. Constructed purely of foreboding and apprehensive energy, I found myself unable to stop. This fear fueled environment of “what ifs” and “what is its” that is the backbone of Bird Box. A tense read that lingers long after the last page is read. Equivalent to no other novel of its kind, this is what true terror feels like, and it is tangible.

“You can smell it, too. Death. Dying. Decay. The sky is falling, the sky is dying, the sky is dead.”
― Josh Malerman, Bird Box

Elegantly written, with perfectly timed transitions in narration, accompanied by vividly grisly details, Bird Box is a rewarding read that continually delivers fast and hard. While I found the ending less desirable than the rest of my experience with the novel, I still cannot pose any valid argument as to why it doesn’t work, because it does. I think I was personally wanting or expecting something that was unrealistic, and I admire the author’s decision to forgo anything less fitting.

If you are seeking something fast paced that wastes no time drawing you in and refuses to let go long after, this is the one. Fans of horror, thrillers and post apocalyptic reads alike will find great appreciation within.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

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77 thoughts on “Bird Box: A Novel

  1. Oooh yess! Great review! I love “terrifying”. This book has been on my TBR for a while now. I read the sample, then put it down. I just got distracted. So I’ll have to go and pick it back up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know just how a fan of horror I am…not but I really want to read this! I find the idea so original! And scary of course, but it’s a kind of scary I can take! I think… I’ll have to spam your twitter with messages if I lose sleep after reading this xD I like that you mention the simplicity of characters that can be forgiven because the essential element of the book is uncertainty. You need to have a really strong world building to make this happen and I love that it works here. Fantastic review my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna ❤ It really does all work so well. Some of the best execution I have seen in a while. And it is a shorter read, but somehow captures so much. To me, that is a sign of solid writing. I will do my time on Twitter if it keeps you up haha ❤ 😉


  3. Loved your reviews, as always 🙂 I truly love when a book comes along that manages to really blow others in the genre blow away. And every once in a while there is an author that writes as if they were really just meant for it.. I love it! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the book so much, pity the ending wasn’t as awesome for you.. but that’s the thing with the endings…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks ❤ I am very forgiving about the ending though.. I sat and really though about it and realized it couldn't go much of any other way. So the author was being honest and keeping it true to the story. I have no clue what I actually expected to happen. It works in its on right 😉 This is worth the read for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Being a huge fan of dystopia, I was immediately drawn to the fact that this was not daunting in size but had a promising blurb.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see a US cover that looked this well hehe 😉 You should give this a quick read sometime. I would love to see how you feel.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It had a certain amount of originality to it. Instead of focusing on the normal post apocalyptic issues, there was a new element. An unknown factor which seemed to truly up the fear level. It was tense for me. Give it a go. I am sure it is not for everyone, but it read like it was made for me haha ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It has happened.. a book we’ve both read AND loved ;-). This novel reminds me in a way of that movie that I can’t recall but about some travellers in the woods and they film themselves and hear things. Well that one also plays on that feeling of fear, only it’s way better in this book. You have to be really skilled to be able to make it so believable. The ending was okay-ish for me.. I couldn’t really see another ending for this one. I’ve read it more than a year ago and still remember parts of it and can vividly recall how I felt so yes, a very good read, and a great review from you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read it in 2015 I think so I’ll have a short one on Goodreads 😊. It’s one of those one of a kind books, fresh and original and no other will be the same. I’ve read Resthaven this year and I think I was meant to feel the same but I felt nothing at all, so it just goes to show it’s not always the same.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Omg, this sounds like nothing I’ve read before. Blinding yourself to be safe from evil; what an original concept! Very good review on top of that, makes me want to buy it pronto! Also, you said shit! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yours is one of the best reviews I’ve read for this book! I really wanted to read this for Halloween but didn’t get to it so I think I’m going to save it for this year’s Halloween read!! I won’t miss it again as it sounds like a fun, scary read:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic review! This sounds terrifying. I like books where the entity tormenting people is unknown and unseen. I think fear of the unseen is one of the strongest fears out there and I really enjoy reading horror books that play upon that fear. Most definitely giving this a read!


    1. So my blog was being horrible and spammed you. I was being a terrible blogger, and forgot to keep an eye on this ❤ You are completely right though. Those unknown elements and entities are the scariest at times. I hope you will share how this works out for you so we can trade thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a freaky premise! I can’t imagine not being able to look outside- we rely so much on sight! And what the heck is the thing that happened? I’d want to know lol. This does sound like a trip. Glad you liked it. 🙂


  9. Woh! I’ll probably make this one of my horror reads for this year. I was supposed to read it last year, but didn’t get to it. The “edge of your seat, continuous doubt and questioning” makes it sound exciting but I know at some point I’ll get impatient and just read the ending to soothe my nerves and go back to reading through the book.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol it probably won’t but I won’t be able to help myself. I’ll need to know how it ends beforehand, probably by the middle of the book I’ll be tempted to peek at the last chapter. That always happen to me when reading mysteries.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This sounds so interesting and unique! Also, creepy and intense. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dystopian/thriller mix before and I love the whole aspect about them having to navigate the world blind. I’ll have to add this to my TBR and make it my Halloween read for the year. Great review, Danielle! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

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