I read Bird Box before the Netflix movie came out and it succeeded in utterly disturbing me. I had no idea Josh Malerman was going to come out with a follow up, and so when I saw Malorie on NetGalley I just had to get my hands on it to review it!
My main question is, did Bird Box actually need a sequel? You can watch my Booktube review of Malorie in which I try to figure that out, but ultimately I think the answer is no.
Malorie is set several years after Bird Box when Malorie’s two children are teenagers. You’d think they would be safe now, but word of Malorie’s parents being alive makes the three of them set out across the state to find them.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t think Bird Box needed a sequel. At all.
In my opinion, Bird Box ended so well, with the hope that Malorie and her kids actually had a future ahead of them while also keeping the mystery of the creatures in tact.
Malorie felt entirely unnecessary as it seems as though Josh Malerman scrambled to tie up every single loose end, while presumably also trying to profit from the mild success of the Netflix film.
I don’t think Josh Malerman had much more of a story to tell, and the rushed plot and hazy character development really cemented that for me.
Despite being the title character, I don’t think this book did Malorie justice at all. Instead of deep diving into her character and her possible PTSD and mental health issues due to having to live with these creatures, Josh Malerman portrayed her as a paranoid, overly cautious woman that other characters laughed at and didn’t take seriously at all.
This book was nowhere near as creepy and atmospheric as Bird Box because it tried to explain too much. There was barely any tension in this book, apart from in a few scenes. The blind train was the most interesting part of the book and it wasn’t even the climax. The true climax of the story felt lacklustre and boring, as everything that the series had presumably been building up to was rushed and fell flat.
I think Bird Box should have been left alone because by trying to explain the creatures, Josh Malerman ended up taking away any mystery of intrigue that surrounded them. And that was my favourite part of the first book! It’s the reason it stuck with me.
Did Josh Malerman write Malorie in the hope of it also getting adapted into film? I think so.
I’m really disappointed in this sequel and to be honest I’m going to forget I ever read it because Bird Box is really strongest as a standalone and I don’t need any cash cows in my life.