By AUNI NADZIRAH ROSLAN
What would happen if we lived in a world where our sight is deadly?
Bird Box is a brilliant page-turner that falls under the horror/thriller genre. It is a fast-paced book which leaves you guessing, turning and curious after every chapter. The chapters are also not lengthy, making it an easy read. I stayed up hours at night going through chapter after chapter as it was packed with suspense and the story builds up smoothly making it more interesting as it goes. This book has certainly sparked an interest in me to read more books in the horror/thriller genre.
This book follows the life of a character named Malorie and how her life changes due to the existence of an unknown being. The story is told in two settings which are the past and the present, both from Malorie’s point of view.
The past tells us the story of Malorie who lived with her sister in a place near Detroit. Their lives change when one day, news and rumours began to spread about incidences of unexplainable suicide and murders occurring all around the world. These events happened in the strangest ways and it was told that those involved saw something before going mad and killing themselves and people around them.
Suddenly, those rumours did not seem like a joke or prank that were often created by the people of the Internet. If Malorie was sceptical when the event first started breaking out, later Malorie began to fear. To worsen things, Malorie found herself pregnant just when the events had reached her neighbourhood. The story develops as things got worse around Malorie and we follow her journey as she makes certain decisions once the news was confirmed by the Government and circulated by the news stations on televisions as well as the radios. However, no one really knows exactly what were they facing and dealing with.
The present setting on the other hand, follows Malorie and two children called Boy and Girl. We follow their lives as they live with the presence of the unknown being and are unable to open their eyes once they set foot outside their house. The story progresses as Malorie plans an escape for them from the place they lived in to a place which she hopes would be better for them. With the unknown being lurking around, their escape is highly dangerous and unpredictable.
Many questions arose throughout this book. What is the thing which makes people crazy upon sight? Is it a creature, an alien, a disease? How does it look like? Would it attack them? What happened to the world they lived in? What happened to the people in Malorie’s past life? Was there any hope for those people? Would Malorie and the children succeed in their plan to escape? And what would happen next?
The interesting element of this book is that it is very realistic. It is set in a place and time which is as familiar to us as that which we are currently living in. The events that occurred which were sudden and unexplainable which happened to ordinary people like us were also an element which are highly easy to imagine. I found myself numerous times putting myself in Malorie’s situation and I got goosebumps imagining having to deal with such fear and vulnerability.
The second wonderful element of this book is the fear factor that the unknown being provides. Since Malorie and the characters of the book were unable to see the ‘creature’, there were no descriptions or confirmed facts of the ‘creature’ which made people crazy upon sight. There were just theories and rumours, and even us as the readers are left with our own imagination. I find this element really interesting as different readers would imagine different types of beings and come up with multiple visuals but nonetheless experience the same fear that the writer creates. There is a great effect of fear from not knowing what is lurking and what is around you and the inability to use the sight enhances that fear.
Another great thing about this book is that it made me ponder our ability to see things and how much of a difference it would be to live in a world where you can’t use your sight. This book had delved on this issue as it tells us how the characters adapt and live in that kind of world. The writer managed to show how significant our sights are in simple everyday tasks. Knowing that opening your eyes might kill you is an experience that no one wants.
The only downside of the book to me is that the past stories of Malorie seem more interesting and engaging than some parts of her present narrations. There were parts in the middle of the book which follows the present setting that I found myself reading through quickly or being tempted to skip. However, the stories were still fast-paced and each chapter goes by quickly. The fact that the book alternates between past and present every other chapter also helps to keep me engaged in the book.
This book is recommended for those who enjoy horror, thriller, and suspense-filled books with a slight element of gore in it. It is also highly recommended for those who want to venture into horror and thriller without wanting to be intimidated or frightened by these types of books. If you are anything like me, a person who enjoys slight horror and gore, but gets nightmares and your mind goes running wild if the horror and suspense is too excessive, then this is the right book to get you started. On top of that, this book is perfect for those who love a frightening story that’s realistic and easy to follow. I also highly recommend this book to any reader who loves an exciting and surprising read.