The genre: Horror
The gist: Sequel to Bird Box. A woman and her two children survive in a world with mysterious creatures that make people go insane upon sight.
The background: Like a lot of people with Netflix access, I watched the movie Bird Box when it came out in December 2018. After reading some articles on it and discovering it was based on a book, I added my name to the very long waitlist at the library—turns out I was not the only one who had this idea—and months later, I finally got to read it. It was suspenseful, creepy, and just as fast-paced as the film.
Speaking of the film, Malerman said in the Acknowledgements of Malorie that he never planned to write a sequel, but people in his life saw the movie and started asking him, “What happens next?” And he decided he wanted to find out too.
The tea: I really liked this book. Like its predecessor, it was well-paced, kept me interested, and had some chillingly creepy moments. Malerman writes with an elegant focus that lets you truly step into those creepy moments, not to mention the head, mind, and fears of protagonist Malorie and her two kids.
We get a liiiiiiitle more insight into the creatures themselves, though not much. And I think it’s better that way. They’re scarier mysterious.
Getting two new POVs thrown into the mix with Malorie’s kids, Tom and Olympia, was a refreshing take on the Bird Box world, especially from characters who were literally born and raised in it. They don’t fear the creatures the same way Malorie and other adults who knew the “old world” do, and it was cool to see their curiosity about the creatures butting heads with Malorie’s relentless and single-minded philosophy of “living by the [blind]fold.”
Malorie wants to survive. Her kids want to live. This causes some beautiful tension, because neither are wrong.
My only grievance is that the ending got resolved too quickly, it would’ve been nice to have seen the last thirty or so pages fleshed out more.
There was also a blind train, which was dope. A train is always a fitting setting for a suspense/horror/mystery novel. (Thank you, Agatha Christie.)
The wrap-up: Despite my initial worry that this book might fall into some common sequel pitfalls, I was pleasantly surprised with its originality. If you like horror, Malorie is a satisfying read.
The rating: 4/5
She remembers yelling, so much yelling, so much saying, “No no no, Tom, NO!”
But if you tell someone “no” enough times, they start thinking “yes” just to hear something else, just to hear a different word, they start thinking YES.—Josh Malerman, Malorie