I could pinch myself! This year is proving to be one of my favorites in terms of reading, based on the quality of books stacked on my 2021 completed shelf thus far. Usually, I’m thrilled by one or two. This year, I’ve been over-the-moon on almost all of them!!! In fact, I’ve added MEXICAN GOTHIC, COME WITH ME, and now BIRD BOX to my all-time favorites list! And SHARP OBJECTS, THE DROWNING KIND, and LAYLA were so close as well!
So let’s get to the most recent gem…
BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman is an amazing eye-opener…both disturbing and heart pounding. Add these effects to an against-all-odds apocalyptic survival story that’s told with a simplistic yet riveting style, and you’ll understand why BIRD BOX is my favorite book of 2021. Bottomline, I could not look away from its pages. I was completely mesmerized by this book.
The outside world can no longer be seen. Creatures have arrived—those which have never been described because if visibly seen, the eyewitness will go mad. Insane. Berserk; as in, violently killing those in close proximity before committing suicide.
In order to survive while outdoors, people need to be blindfolded from the indiscernible evil. Inside, they must take precautions by covering windows and becoming shut-ins. But let’s face it: Survivors can only last so long in isolation, with limited food. (Think…birds confined inside a box.)
Pregnant and tragically alone, Malorie finds her way to a safe house (a home whose owner had advertised in the newspaper as a “sanctuary” before civilization had completely shut down).
“A place for strangers to meet, to pool their resources, gather in numbers, to face the impossible, changing world outside.”
Strangers, of course, can harbor their own evils. But Malorie has no plans of cowering to danger. Her unborn baby depends on her. Come Hell or high water, she will survive…
Tension…BIRD BOX is stuffed with it. Every single page is basted with tension. The intensity, in fact, slices through each chapter like a knife. (See what I did there? LOL!)
In my opinion, the level of tension achieved is phenomenal. It isn’t captured in a few sentences or within several scenes. Tension drips from every page while not seeming forced or over baked. It just wafts in the air like aromas ahead of Thanksgiving dinner.
What I found interesting was that the first line of the book stands in opposition to everything authors are warned not to do when starting a book: Don’t begin your book with your character…thinking (or dreaming). Here’s the first line:
“Malorie stands in the kitchen, thinking.”
This is literally what I thought about this beginning: Wow. This book must really be good for Josh Malerman to start his novel this way. Talk about confidence…
And BIRD BOX delivered!
If I was to look closely for a criticism, I would say that I found one scene unbelievable. The one where Malorie drives “blind” for 4-miles to a bar she remembered (in search of food), albeit driving slooooowly. Then she drives blind to return to the house. However, the hook in this book was so deep for me, that no way was I going to take a detour!!! I rolled with it 😉 !
Next, I’m going to move on to the sequel: MALORIE. And I hope to see the movie soon! LOVED THIS BOOK!
QUICKFIRE RATINGS from 1 (ugh) to 5 (woo-hoo)…
Plot (the story): 5
Main character’s likability: 5
Development of supporting character(s): 5
Settings/Atmosphere: 5+ (Crushed it!)
Pacing (how fast did I turn the pages): 5+ (Crushed it!)
Believability (in the context of the story): 4
Satisfying ending: 5
Tension of the story: 5+ (Crushed it!)
Stirs the heart (romantic elements): N/A
Did I solve the mystery/guess the ending before the reveal? Yes
BIRD BOX is my favorite, BEST read for 2021 thus far! The book is outstanding.