Author: Josh Malerman
Series: Bird Box, #2
Page Count: 290
Original Publication Date: 2020
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Adult fiction
It’s been seventeen years since the creatures arrived. Twelve since Malorie and her children arrived at the The Jane Tucker School for the Blind, and ten years since they were forced to leave it. Malorie’s children, Tom and Olympia, are sixteen now, and living under their mother’s harsh rules and strict reality has left them wanting more than just to survive. But nothing is worth taking a risk in the new world–that is, until Malorie discovers hope. Someone she hasn’t seen in seventeen years may be alive after all, and that knowledge takes Malorie and her kids on yet another journey, a dangerous one, all in the name of hope.
After watching the okay-ish adaptation of Malerman’s first novel Bird Box, I was hesitant when the sequel was announced. I adored the novel, and couldn’t imagine what a sequel would be about, other than an unnecessary continuation of the story in which Malerman would ruin everything. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked Malorie, and even though I had a few faults with it, I’m still very glad this book exists and that I read it.
Malorie is told in third-person POV, mostly from the perspectives of Malorie herself, Tom, and Olympia. The story begins in the middle of terror and horror, and I gotta say, that’s exactly how to do it, folks. That’s exactly what I look for in an opener, especially for a sequel. Immediately I was thrown back into this world, heart pounding, not knowing what to expect. The rest of the book follows suit, the pace only slowing temporarily before jacking back up to full speed ahead. I’m not sure if it’s Malerman’s skillful writing or just that I’m a giant baby, but I was on edge through this entire story. I mean, I was much more frightened during Bird Box, but the sequel promises almost that same feeling, that same terror. Also, to be fair, the concept of this world is literally my worst nightmare. I’ve been scared of the dark since I was a child, and that fear has only become a little more bearable. This world where you must close your eyes, can never look, is awful. Knowing there are monsters all around you, or people who have gone mad, or just people in general, and not being able to look, makes my heart pound. It’s absolute terror for me. And I think that’s why I really enjoy this duology, because it plays on my own fears and makes it ten times more scary. I love it.
As I said, the story moves extremely fast, so you won’t find yourself bored though these 300-ish pages. A lot of the novel in between the action features Malorie’s thoughts, feelings, memories, and introspection. It can get a little…cheesy at points, but it’s not bad. I always liked Malorie in the first book, and even though she’s more hardened in this book, and even though we get to see her children’s negative thoughts and feelings about her, I still like and support her almost all the way through. I can’t imagine living in that kind of world for seventeen years, caring for two children almost that entire time. It boggles my mind. Malorie has so much PTSD it’s crazy. In fact, at times she herself sounds mad, which only adds to the spookiness of the book. Is Malorie mad? Is she an unreliable narrator? It’s great fun.
The only things that really let me down were small, in comparison to everything I liked. At times, I did grow tired of Malorie’s thoughts, but only a little bit. And some of the twists were a bit ridiculous, even for a dystopian horror novel. I won’t spoil anything, but talk to me once you’ve read it—some things are just a little outlandish. Also, the ending. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. I didn’t hate it or anything, but it was very… I don’t know. Again, talk to me once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear someone else’s thoughts on the ending.
Overall, a pretty great sequel, all things considered. I’m surprised I devoured it the way I did—almost entirely in one sitting. At night, before bed, of course. There’s no other way to read a scary book. If you loved Bird Box like I did, you really should pick up the sequel—I don’t think you’ll regret it. And it is October, so come on, do it for spooky season!