Malorie by Josh Malerman

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Malorie starts straight out of the gates, some time has passed for Malorie and her children in the school of the blind, they’ve found a way of surviving, a way to live a way to hone their skills and be safe from the things that are outside, the things that drive people mad. But Malerman rips all of that comfort, all of that hope all of that water under the bridge away in an earth shattering opening chapter.

It’s breakneck speed, it’s writing of the highest praise – I couldn’t get the words in my eyes quick enough, it was furious, frenetic, frenzied writing that had my pulse racing and my heart pounding… what a way to start the sequel to Bird Box.

Some time passes and the children are now teenagers and they have settled into an abandoned campsite – they call this place home, they dare to start the hard work of putting down roots, but they still remain committed to the fold, there is nothing else more important than the blindfold… they need to stay safe and in this world, this new place they call home, Malorie will do that, she’ll keep them safe!

Well I won’t go into too much more detail about Malorie, it’s a difficult review to write as what I could say, may be spoiler filled for those that have not read either book, as some of what goes on in Malorie reveals things in Bird Box and I wouldn’t want to ruin what has been a stunning two books – they need to be discovered with fresh eyes and an eagerness, and I don’t want to ruin anything for those people out there yet to discover these books.

What I will say is that Malorie has a quiet horror to it, an almost subtle blend of horror that has just enough to give the horror fan what they want whilst also being accessible to those that are only dipping their feet into horror or who are reading outside of their usual genre – this books should be read far and wide and it’s themes, message and the power of Malerman’s words transcends the genre and is accessible to all!

But the horror I speak of, there is the blistering opening that ramps up the tension, gives us glimpses of horror and then it lulls (lulls in a good way) we get great character development, essential plot points, we get whole chapters dedicated to knowing more about these now teenage children, we have flashback to Bird Box and before… each lull serves a purpose.

Then we’re given another scene and when I read it, this literally sent chills down my spine, made me just stare at the page in horror – Malorie is talking to someone and they start to recount their personal tragedy and all I’m going to say is ‘melon’ and that whole scene, how it’s described, the subtly of the horror just blows my mind and shows what a master of words Malerman is… it’s horrific and I loved it.

Like with Bird Box Malerman deploys a wonderful technique to keep the pace of the story going – in Bird Box we had the repeating narrative of boat, house, boat, house – which rammed up the tension, in Malorie we get chapters from his principle cast of characters, each one a different view and opinion and personal journey and by the end each character arc is fulfilled and very very satisfying.

There was also a quote I loved too;

‘But if you tell someone no enough times, they start thinking yes, just to hear something else, just to hear a different word, they start thinking yes.’

But what can I say, I thoroughly enjoyed this offering, it showcases a writer in my opinion at the top of his game – is it better than Bird Box? I can’t say, they’re both different beasts – it’s almost not even a second book, it’s just a continuation of the first – a directors cut of the whole longer story that is Malorie.

Truly masterful.

Malorie is published by Del Rey Books and is available here.

Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman is a New York Times bestselling author and one of two singer-songwriters for the rock band The High Strung. His debut novel, Bird Box, is the inspiration for the hit Netflix film of the same name. His other novels include Unbury CarolInspectionA House at the Bottom of a Lake, and Malorie, the sequel to Bird Box. Malerman lives in Michigan with his fiancée, the artist-musician Allison Laakko.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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