By Josh Malerman
Published by Ecco
on May 13, 2014
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn't look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows. They are out there. She might let them in. The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall. Soon she will have to wake them. Soon she will have to blindfold them. Today they must leave the house. Today they will risk everything.
Wow! I read this book in one day. I didn’t want to put it down!
Malerman creates such tension and suspense that I was on the edge of my seat, hunched over my e-reader, reading as quickly as possible. And let me say, I read a lot of supernatural/paranormal fiction and it takes a lot to unsettle me, but this book did it. I kept imagining what it would be like if I had to live life with my eyes closed and blindfolded, and I think it’s the vulnerability of that – of being seen but unable to see – that frightened me.
Malorie’s journey throughout the book was incredible. Against all odds, not only did she have to survive and keep her wits about her, but she had to keep two children (who had never been outside) alive as well. I love the way the chapters alternated between the past, showing how Malorie first learned about the events going on in the world, then her journey to a house inhabited by strangers with whom she would live and try to survive, and the present, where Malorie is setting out with the children. I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough because there was so much I wanted to know: what was happening outside? What happened to the people Malorie was living with in the house? Where was she taking the children? Would they get there safely?
Of all the characters, hands down my favourites were Malorie and Tom, one of the housemates. The dynamic between the various people living in the house was fascinating, and I loved seeing how these strangers needed to work together to survive.
Spoilers – skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know! As for what was going on outside, I had some (probably ridiculous) theories, but I found what was revealed to the reader about the creatures to be pretty interesting. However, as usual, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what they looked like, what they wanted, what they were doing, why people went nuts after encountering them. I’m way too curious to be satisfied with not knowing! End of spoilers!
So I mostly loved this book. The things that I didn’t like were fairly minor for me. I didn’t totally love the ending; I was disappointed that some of Malorie’s housemates felt under-developed as characters; and my thoughts in the paragraph above. However, this was a really chilling, exciting page-turner that I did love, and that I very highly recommend!