Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Mallerman
Page Count/Review Word Count: 478
I picked this up because there’s loads of hype around the adaptation, and in fact I watched the adaptation shortly after picking up the book. I think I liked the book more, but I also thought that the two of them differed from each other enough that you can easily enjoy both of them for what they are.
Still, I think I was expecting to like this more than I did. The general concept was great, and I kind of both liked and disliked the vagueness with which the “creatures” or whatever were described. I was expecting some big revelation to come at the end, but again that’s because I didn’t realise there was a short story there.
There are some great bits to the book though, and I think the worldbuilding was pretty good. A great example was when a character suggested that babies should be blinded at birth so that they weren’t at risk. That also foreshadowed the ending nicely. Another big plus was the way in which parts of the story were told through the sense of sound. It helped to engage you as the reader by the senses and to make you feel as though you were really there.
I think this book is also a great example of a writer withholding information from the reader to successfully build a sense of fear and unease. As the reader, it’s easy to empathise with the characters because we can understand ourselves what they must be going through. I also think that’s why the protagonist is a woman trying to protect two children. It taps into our society’s perception of women and children as the more vulnerable members.
So all in all, it’s a pretty good post-apocalyptic novel and I enjoyed reading it, but I also don’t think it was perfect. I’d be interested to see what Mallerman comes up with next, but I also wouldn’t rush to grab a copy of it. That’s partly because of the short story that was included at the end, which made it almost feel like an indie book. In fact, I wasn’t too impressed by the quality of the paper or the overall aesthetic of my copy either, and I’m pretty sure Harper Voyager just used Lightning Source to print it.
I’m still glad that I read it though, and I’m glad that I read it before watching the movie. They were both pretty good, and they were both pretty good in their own different ways. At the same time, you won’t miss too much if you just watch the movie and don’t read the book. I’d recommend them both for what it’s worth, though, so be sure to check them out if you haven’t already.