“Bird box” is a dystopian novel written by Josh Malerman. I wasn’t familiar with him, but he’s apparently in the rock band “The High Strung”. In the novel we follow the story of Malorie, and eventually her two children. In the present, it’s all three of them, in the past we follow the events leading up to their birth and how they got to the situation they’re in now.
In the past it is dark, it’s creepy and no one can ever open their eyes. It begins with people mysteriously dying or committing suicide from observing something unknown. People begin boarding up their windows, wearing blindfolds.. They eventually stop going outside, growing food in their yards, gathering water from a well while still blindfolded. It’s not a great situation to be in. Malorie loses her sister to suicide, and seeks out shelter with other people after finding an offer to help. The life in that house seems normal at first but then it just gets weird. They acquire dogs, guard birds, then Gary shows up. I definitely don’t like Gary.
Gary escalates things super quick. I don’t want to say anything about him because that’ll ruin the suspense, but he’s so creepy. The action builds up more and more until you’re about 3 quarters of the way through the book and then it kinda flatlines. I’ve noticed that with most of the dystopian novels I read that they kinda end “too well”. Things sort themselves out and it feels kinda lackluster. It’s not a terrible ending, but it was not as exciting as I expected it to be, with the way it built up. It is creepy, definitely, but just not what I expected.
Bird box is not a bad novel, I read it fairly quickly because it was so thrilling that I didn’t want to put it down. So if you enjoy dystopian novels, I’d recommend this one for sure. Just don’t expect too much from the ending. If you do, you would probably end up feeling slightly disappointed. I gave it 5/5 on Goodreads because it was really engaging 95% of the time.
The Winter People is a novel written by Jennifer McMahon. It is set in the city of West Hall, Vermont, and it follows the story of someone both in the past, and the present. There isn’t a singular narrative in it, because it switches from character to character, but it is very easy to follow, because it switches at the beginning of a new chapter so you don’t have to keep track of it yourself.
The main focus of the novel is on Sara Harrison Shea, she was found dead in the field in front of her house in 1908, completely skinned. Her diary was found under the floor boards in her old house in more recent times and the family now living there has to somehow solve the mystery of her death and find out where the missing pieces from the diary is located. These missing pages conveniently contain information about how to bring people back from the dead. The house is located close to a rock formation called the Devil’s hand and guess what? It contains some sort of portal where the dead can return if you perform some grotesque ritual. In recent times we follow the story of Ruthie, whose mother has gone missing. It is her that finds the journal and realizes that her mother’s disappearance must have something to do with that woman.
All of the different stories that we follow converge in the end, although they can seem a bit too coincidental, they merge somewhat well. What I didn’t like about the novel though, is that the ending works out a bit too well, if that makes sense. It’s as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly everything was back to normal. It could have done with a more implied end, leaving me with a sense of wonder and mystery instead of just plainly say that this and that happened and that all is well. It was a decent novel though, and I rated it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. It’s not the best novel I have read, but definitely not the worst.
Crisped + Sere is the second dystopian, or post apocalyptic book written by TJ Klune. It continues the story of the protagonist Cavalo, and it’s still located in the state of Idaho, USA. If you want to read my review of the first part of this 2-part book series, click here.
In the first novel we were introduced to the Dead Rabbit named Lucas, who turned out to be the key to eliminating the leader of the Dead Rabbits, Patrick. On Lucas’ skin, parts of a map is tattooed and Patrick has the remaining coordinates and whatnot so they need to get to him. They have 21 days to come up with a plan before Patrick comes to take Lucas from them, seeing as he is his son.
Cavalo and the inhabitants of Cottonwood does everything they can to prepare for the upcoming battle, but it is on a way larger scale than they expect and they are temporarily defeated as they capture Lucas and bring him to a different location. They send a rescue mission after him which leads to the end of the novel, so I won’t talk too much about that.
The ending of the novel felt a bit dragged out for me, it could have ended a chapter before it, but it wasn’t too bad. It just didn’t add much that I cared for. There is also a sex scene or two in this one, which wasn’t too much of a bother, I just skipped over the few pages it went over. I don’t think the second novel was as gory as the first, since it was more about the large fight between the Dead Rabbits and the inhabitants of Cottonwood, so it focused more on what happened instead of isolated events.
It was a good follow up to the first and I am glad I read it, and that I got some closure. Again, if you cannot handle gory descriptions, you probably won’t enjoy this one, there’s not much but what is there is quite descriptive. I gave this 5/5 stars on Goodreads, since it’s one of the best series I have read in a while. TJ Klune is a great story teller.
In Ash Princess, we are introduced to princess (or rather, queen) Theodosia. Her mother was killed by the henchman of this mad Kaiser and she was captured and has to live under his rule, only staying alive because she is useful to him. The novel kicks off the drama pretty quickly. Theodosia is from a nation that the Kaiser hates, and every time someone with her own nationality does something wrong, she gets literally whipped for it. The novel is quite graphic when it comes to the physical abuse so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, skip this.
As with most YA novels, there is a love interest, or two, or well, why not make it a triangle of sorts? For me, the second love interest didn’t do much, or add anything to the plot. Theodosia seduces the son of the Kaiser in hopes of overthrowing his power, which makes sense to the plot, but her childhood friend still being in love with her does not do much. It also reminded me of the lunar chronicles. Princess Theodosia is a scarred, dark skinned princess, and her childhood friend is a blonde boy. Sounds a lot like Princess Winter and Jacin Clay, right? I’m sure you’d get that reference if you’ve read the series.
The novel was quite easy to read, I finished it in a couple of days, reading it whenever I had time to do so. The language isn’t too simple, nor too complex but it was a bit lacking in some parts. The action scenes were written quite well, but it could be somewhat predictable at times. Ash Princess is Laura Sebastian’s debut novel, and it’s not terrible. It’s not exactly the best novel I have read, but it’s not the worst either. It’s supposedly the first novel in a trilogy, which explains why the ending was the way it was. It ends rather abruptly and really, none of the issues that needed solving are being solved. I suppose I would have to read the sequel whenever that is being released, but I’m not quite sure if I would want to.
I’d rate this book a 5/10. It’s okay, but not great.