3.5 stars out of 5

“You can smell it, too. Death. Dying. Decay. The sky is falling, the sky is dying, the sky is dead.”

I’m going to preface this review by saying two thing. First, expectations are everything. If you expect to enjoy a book, you probably will. If you expect a certain ending, you may or may not be disappointed. This leads into my second point, star rating. Please take my star rating with a grain of salt.

Bird Box is a hard story to give a synopsis for, so all I’ll say is that it follows a woman living in some sort of apocalypse and the reader is given both present and past perspectives.

Josh Malerman’s writing is absolutely phenomenal. Impressive writing is a feat in and of itself, however the nature of this story places a heavy burden on the writing and the author pulled it off completely. It’s lyrical and creepy and made me wish I hadn’t read some moments alone in the dark.

The emphasis of this story is on human beings. The way they react, the way they interact, and the way our minds works under tremendous stress. This is a key component of the story and the reader gets the sense that Malerman has insight/experience in this type of situation because of the realness of the characters.
What also makes this book unique is its focus on regular people. There’s no one special or someone well versed in survival techniques. If anything, the main character is at large disadvantage, given the circumstances.

What ultimately led to my decision to rate this book 3.5 stars instead of 5 were my expectations, as I mentioned previously, about the conclusion to the story. Expectations are everything when reading a book for the first time, but I think with Bird Box this is exceptionally true. As I said previously, humans are at the center of the story, because of that I would compare this to the way people are the center of the story in The Walking Dead.

Overall, Bird Box was an absolutely fantastic read despite my star rating. If you’re interested in this story, do NOT hesitate in taking the plunge. You’ll be mesmerized by the writing, hiding under your blankets while cursing yourself for making the decision to read the book at night, and rooting for the characters.