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Bird Box

A Novel
Written by: Josh Malerman
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, May 2014 - After finishing this novel, there is one thing I 100% regret – and that was starting it around 10 pm on a weeknight. This chilling debut is so well-written, and so suspenseful I had a very difficult time putting it down. The book is told from the point of view of Malorie, a young mother who is fleeing to safety with her two young children. She doesn’t know from whom or what she’s fleeing, but does know that just one glimpse will drive a person mad. The story seamlessly jumps from past to present as we slowly uncover just what has left the world in complete darkness. Bird Box is the quintessential page-turner and I’ll be eagerly waiting for Josh Malerman’s next work. –Laura, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Something is out there....

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey - a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motley group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside and confront the ultimate question: In a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman's breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

©2014 Josh Malerman (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

glad I did audio

I could not of read this as a physical book. luckily I was sick while I listened to this so I kept at it . the book is tedious , so very tedious, the author feels the need to describe nearly every action of every character such as "she pit the cup down,turned left,breathed out, blinked," etc and along with that the author writes these creative descriptions for a characters emotions like " her heart was beating like the wings of a hummingbird that just had espresso" ( example) so I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for this stuff to happen and all I get is several chapters about how this one woman's arm hurts or how windy it is . its just not my sup of tea, I like my action quick and interesting, and descriptiveness is fine as long as its necessary and not tedious. I almost gave up on this n just went to google to read the end. but the book was redeemed by the last half ,mainly the ending, I feel like this book could of been a short story, we could of skipped a lot of the blah blah and just had the badass ending as the entire book lol my love for horror and sci fi and abnormal is why this book isn't a 1 . I loved the concept and the ending but the story writing was a total yawn and I found myself skipping ahead through long descriptions to get to the juice of the story I also absolutely hated all other characters in this book except Mallory and the kids, I hated them so much! they were flat and ridiculously emotional, I wondered why Mallory liked tom so much but there was no hint of a relationship ,not even really a friendship? so odd and the characters actions didn't make sence a lot of the time. its as if they were just put there to fill in a book that came from an idea about things u see that make u crazy. the characters weren't human ,they were either mad or scared or neutral. it was infuriating and I felt nothing when any of them were in peril. honestly I kinda feel cheated from buying this book I think the author just thought a interesting idea and wrote around it but didn't glue down the edges u know what I mean?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It's got what the movie lacked

I listened to this book after watching the Netflix adaptation. While the movie was captivating, most notable because of its mysterious creatures the characters felt flatter and the experience was overshadowed by being able to literally see everything happening. This is where the audio book shines, the events are at times described through the character's experience. How things feel, how horrors are simply unknowable and the unseen terror is shared with the listener in this way. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

New Favorite Horror Novel

I had actually listened to this book through my library's app, and it was so good that I needed to own it. It is such a simple idea, but is done SO WELL. The writing is super atmospheric and creepy, and I felt like I was the MC walking around with a blindfold on. I recommend it to all.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Couldn't buy in!

We listened to the book on a long journey. The journey was 2 hours longer than the book which was perfect timing for my daughter & I to dissect the events & plotline. The holes in the plausibility are huge. Simple changes would have made it more believable. A better title would be "The Blind Side".

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent story with meh narration

The story was pretty good, but I think I would have liked it more with a different narrator. I felt that the narrators voice was much too soft, in a way that made it seem forced at times. Tense situations were not conveyed clearly at times. Character "voices" acted out sounded misplaced and goofy - kind of the way they would sound if a 6 year old was narrating her stuffed animals.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unexpected and compelling

I did not expect to finish this in 3 days but it was impossible to put down. Excellent!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love it!

the story is wow!! and the narrator is outstanding. she makes all the voices with the emotions. I usually listen to self help books and I have some difficulties listening to a novel, because I feel lost in the story and all the characters but this novel! omg! I listened to it very quickly, I got very into it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Haunting

Suspenseful, endearing, captivating.
I ended up being so wrapped up in the story that I didn't even realize I had listened for an entire day!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wanted to keep listening

I'm very picky about the books I listen to, but once I find one I like I can't help but listen/read it continually until it's done. This book did just that. It kept my attention. During the 'slow' parts I found it quite facinsting and wanted to know more, and for the rest of it, it kept me suspenseful. I really felt for the characters, the plot was interesting and I didn't find it dull, and my intrigue was piqued continuously.

The speaker was generally good but was a little annoying to listen to for some of the voices but overall thought they did a great job.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

let down by the narration

good story, although, I think they might have more success with a different narrator. Well worth a listen, though!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lesley
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2014-05-22

Don't look!

Malorie and her sister have moved into a house together when reports start to come in from all over the world: normal people are glimpsing something that instantly turns them into crazed killers. While the Internet boils with theories, people gradually stop driving, stop shopping, and finally they just barricade themselves in their homes with the doors and windows blocked. Society eventually falls apart, yet Malorie finds hope and musters the strength to go on. But she can't live like a prisoner forever, so she begins a terrifying blindfolded journey to what she desperately hopes will be enduring safety.

I have to say it took me a good half-hour to get into this one. The narrator didn't really do it for me, with uneven reading volume and more angst than seemed necessary. It didn't help that Malorie imbues even the most boring object with intense dramatic feelings.

But I'm really glad I spent the time, because Bird Box turned out to be one of the best books I've listened to for a while. After the first chapter or two, we meet the real Malorie (not just the dramatic one) and hear her story--which is compelling, to say the least. By midway through, I completely understood the feelings those objects brought up, and the angst, too.

The real star of this book is the author's handling of his themes: fear, bravery, putting faith and trust in others and yourself. All those things can be scary, but sometimes you just have to face them anyway, even when you're blindfolded. Malorie and her friends give it their best, with varying results, in an evocative illustration of what it's like to be part of a group of survivors.

Throughout the book, Malorie's memories of the past alternate with her frightening present, creating suspense that made it really hard to stop listening. I did the last three hours in one go, putting off bedtime again and again.

There isn't a lot of how-and-why here, and logic nitpickers ("That couldn't possibly happen! It'd be more like..." etc) will probably be driven insane. But if you're looking for real horror, Bird Box is a sustained scare that will keep you thinking long after the book is over.

131 of 146 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • clifford
  • United States
  • 2015-06-18

Holy damn WOW!

I can't say enough good things about this story. Its so good.

What to expect:
This is a quiet slow book. Its told both in present tense and via flash backs.
A sense of terror surrounds every word. I haven't read anything so dreadful since Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
Not much in the action department. But you will be on the edge of your seat due to Malerman's excellent delivery.

I'd completely recommend this story. I was expecting less. Thought it could have fallen apart at any time. But it works all the way to the end. Out of the many hundreds of audible books I have listened to, this is up there with the best of them.

80 of 89 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 2019-01-06

Very, very, meh.

I first heard of this book years ago, while I was hunting for fresh authors producing novel horror and thriller books, and then later downloaded it this summer. About 1/4 of the way through, I was disappointed, and by the time I was 3/4 of the way there I stopped listening. With the hype surrounding the (possibly even worse) Netflix remake, I wanted to leave a review to hopefully save another Audible member’s monthly credit.

While an interesting concept (despite one that is rapidly losing originality), the loss of a sight and near isolation from the outdoors that plagued the characters in this novel was not pushed to its fullest potential. There are plenty of build up scenes-one in particular involving a well-that seems to lead something incredible, but quickly deflates. Repeat ad nauseam, and you have a book with only flat characters featuring frustrating quirks/motivations, many poorly or completely unexplained plot holes, and a lackluster rehash of themes and concepts we’ve seen before.

The narration was fine and only became grating later on, which is completely a result of the characters she was required to portray.

41 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Audio Gra Gra
  • Australia
  • 2016-01-02

Don't fall for the hype

I'm calling bullsh*t on this book. Interesting premise to begin with but ultimately its just one long slow burning tease with no reveal at the end. I kept reading through a fairly implausible narrative for one reason - to find out what had caused society to break down. A few minutes from the end I began to realise the author wasn't going to tell us and while I'm all for mystery and interpretation, the lame ending to Bird Box is just a cop out. The human race literally just closes its eyes to the thing that threatens its survival. And don't get me started on how plausible it is for people to navigate their way through towns, forests and rivers on foot, driving a car! and paddling a rowboat without the use of sight - in real life a blindfolded person can't walk for 50 metres without beginning to walk in circles. I pick up each book expecting to have to suspend belief to give the story permission to take its course, but the author needs to do his bit and earn that trust.
I'll grant that there a few genuine moments of suspense built up during the story, and I'll accept that what's unseen can be scarier than what's seen, but the reader is after all just an observer and the author of a story that asks for so much blind (pun intended) acceptance of the premise needed to throw us a few bones. Frankly, I think the author deliberately chose not to reveal what the "creatures" are because he knew no one would have accepted it. The "mystery" is just a lazy device to cover over a premise not fully thought through to a satisfying conclusion.
So I find myself confused - this book has so many gushing 4 and 5 star reviews - what did I miss?

106 of 123 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Juli R Willmott
  • 2019-03-04

Disappointed

This one does not flow at all, made more sense after watching the show.
Just watch the movie

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-10

Disappointing!!

I kept waiting for this book to get better but it didn’t...the ending was a let down.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • nickolas stanko
  • 2019-01-21

Don’t waste your time

After watching the Netflix exclusive movie based on the book I feel in love with the story so I decided to grab the audio book version. For once in my life I can say the movie is far better than the book. This had a completely different list of characters, it was very disappointing. The performance was very monotone in some points. I struggled to get through this one.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. Yates
  • 2017-10-09

Masterful book paired with outstanding narration

Excellent blend of SF and horror. The author's ability to bring alive this story without revealing the unseen horror (or, more accurately, the creature that must be left unseen lest the viewer plunges into madness marked by homicide and then suicide). Malerman carefully construct the narrative, bouncing from events 4.5 years earlier with the present-day effort of Mallory to find some measure of safety for the two, unnamed children in her care. The opening chapter plunges the reader into an altered world, where windows are anathema, blindfolds are protection, and answers are out of reach. Society seems crippled and mostly dead, and unknown creatures walk the world - but these creatures do not seem to physically assault or stalk humans, but simply by existing and being seen inflict madness. The author then expertly jogs back in time to the early days when scattered and unsubstantiated reports trickle in of people going mad and killing others then themselves. We know immediately from the present-day chapters that Mallory is now alone with two children, but we don't know how she came to be sole parent in these dreadful times. We know she believes she must brave a 20 mile river passage blindfolded to try to find safety. In flashback, we find Mallory and her sister living unremarkable lives. Mallory finds she is pregnant as the news stories come faster and inexplicable events creep ever closer to their Detroit home. The flashback chapters depict a world falling apart, first slowly and then with extreme rapidity. We follow Mallory as she tries to find refuge with others, life in a new house, pregnancy waxing as we know that time in a this cooperative house with support and help are waning. As we move ever closer to the unknown catastrophe that leaves her alone. The story is well-balanced and beautifully crafted, melancholy and frightening, suspenseful and heart-breaking. Well worth the time, though you may find it difficult to gaze out a window while doing so.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jay
  • 2019-02-21

Completely disappointed

I expected so much out of this book. It didn’t get good until about 80% of the book was finished. I can’t believe it. It got so hyped up and I was beyond disappointed.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Tanya
  • 2018-01-31

*siighhhh*

So, maybe I’m just picky but if I’m going to read/listen to a book, for the love of God, do not start the book with one ginormous plot hole followed by many more plot holes, flat characters, a drab story line, and literally nothing to keep the story moving. Other than flopping back and forth between past and present, this book could be one long, agonizing, chapter. Like the Lamb Chop song. It never ends.

1. The only thing that ties the victims together is that they ‘see something’... Yea? And how is that even plausible to assume? Could’ve smelled something. Could’ve heard something. Regardless, no one would have a single way of knowing as if you observe this you would also presumably die. Watch some Forensic Files. Or befriend an intelligent human who can explain why that would be impossible to prove.

2.Driving with your eyes shut. Has anyone ever tried that? Can’t imagine you’d be here to tell us of your experience.

3.An open water well in Detroit. (Name something that does not belong.)

4.They have water but are using buckets to go to the bathroom. There is something wrong with our generation if this group of ‘survivors’ have no idea how a toilet works.

5. PS- BOIL THE DAMN WATER IF YOU’RE WORRIED IT’S NOT SAFE.

6. They live in Detroit and they’re all white. (As a gal from Michigan I can point out an inconsistency or two.)

7. This author has never ever kayaked. 20 miles blindfolded. That’s hilarious. 20 MILES ROWING DOWN A RIVER IN A BOAT... I mean, that’s grueling enough.

8. I don’t believe people say things like ‘What was that you were wearing when I arrived?’ In a post-apocalyptic world, you would have to imagine that people would speak a little more passionately.

8.a. I had to go back and add this. Have you ever walked across your yard blindfolded? How about the entire neighborhood? You’re biggest concern would be finding your way back. You’re blindfolded and not from the area. C’mon guy!

9. I could keep going. Really, I could. Let me finish this by saying, the reviews were more savory to read than this book.

The gal who read it was fine.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful