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Friday, 7 December 2018

Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

If you see it – you die. The world is overcome by a mysterious force that sends the population descending into madness and eventual suicide.

“The sky is falling, the sky is dying, the sky is dead.” 

People of Instagram/goodreads – please put your pitchforks away, because this is not going to be a good review. The concept behind this story is GREAT, it’s very Lovecraftian – and I’m all about my Lovecraft-inspired fiction. If you see these creatures you will descend into madness and possibly go on a killing rampage, finishing up by killing yourself. Great. I love it. I just thought this was poorly executed and poorly written. If this story was handled by another author *cough KING cough* it could have been amazing! Okay, maybe not King… I am slightly biased, but basically any author who can craft an incredible story with stellar writing (Kealan Patrick Burke, perhaps?)

This was the second book in a row I’ve read where the protagonist is a boring and bland woman, who repeats shit over and over. I’ve got the picture, Malorie. Please stop. “I’ve trained them well”… yada yada yada. My patience wore thin! And I can fully comprehend her mindset, the panic setting in etc, but it becomes very boring and tedious to read.

The story flits back and forth between describing events in the past when Malorie goes to find a house full of strangers that are tackling this terror together, and the present where she’s trying to make a journey on a river to… somewhere else – potentially a safe haven. The part of the story set in present day was PAIN-FUL. I just didn’t care, the development was so slow and drawn out. I was mostly enjoying the flashbacks only because I was dying to know what exactly happened to lead to the present situation.

I’m disappointed because although the premise was crazy exciting and the book was pretty addictive at the start, it just ended up falling apart. And that ending?! Has anything been any more anticlimactic? (Apart from the ending to The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay – another huge disappointment for me this year). HATED IT. I would also have liked just a bit more explanation with regards to the creatures themselves. Usually I’m of the mindset where I don’t like to know EVERYTHING about the big bad monster. Sometimes seeing the big bad too much can lessen its effect (see The Nun movie released this year), but in this instance I think it would have benefited from SOME kind of detail. 

Some parts were creepy, but again these could have been improved upon by a much better writer. There were glimmers of potential, fascinating little sparks of imagination, but they were never fully realised. I’m actually looking forward to the movie more because it’ll have the story but not Malerman’s style of writing/prose. Sorry, not sorry.

I know a lot of people do love this, so if you haven’t read this yet, don’t let me put you off it! You might love it – but unfortunately I can only give it 2 stars.

Johann
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