Thoughts on “Malorie” by Josh Malerman

SPOILERS FOR “BIRD BOX” and “MALORIE” READER DISCRETION ADVISED

Amazon Summary: Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence. There remains no explanation. No solution. All Malorie can do is survive – and impart her fierce will to do so on her children. Don’t get lazy, she tells them. Don’t take off your blindfold. And don’t look. But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope. Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive.

When I saw this book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, I wasn’t sure if this was a book I wanted to read. After all, its predecessor is one of my favorite books of all time and I felt as though the story capped exactly where it should have. The ending was harrowing but hopeful. We didn’t know for certain what was in store for Malorie or her two children, but there was at least a possibility they would live on and be as happy in this new world as their circumstances would allow them to be.

Curiosity got the better of me, however, and I conclude that it was worth the read.

I am disappointed it isn’t as scary as the 1st novel (in my opinion), but upon reflection I don’t think being scary is the point.

The point the book is trying to convey is that progress must persist even in an age of fear and trepidation. While the dangers around us are real, there is no point to living if our only aim is survival.

A subject that is….suspiciously topical at the moment.

What makes this book a great allegory is Malorie has obvious reasons for living her life “by the fold.” She has seen horrors beyond belief. She has witnessed everyone from friends to family members brutally take their lives and the lives of others. Of course she would be suspicious of anyone claiming they should experiment.

Malorie knows from first hand experience what can happen when one tries and fails to contend with these creatures.

But, however rational, our fears cannot prevent us from adapting and trying to improve our circumstances.

If we allow living in a constant state of terror to become our new normal, we stand to lose everything we care about.

If only they could have made the vassal for this message a bit less annoying.

Dammit if I didn’t want to bash Tom’s head against a wall.

On the one hand, I understand how frustrating it must be to be going through, erm, “changes” while living during the apocalypse under the thumb of a somewhat neurotic mother, but some of the things he does go way past “rebellious” and straight over to dumb-assery.

While I am glad his invention works, his arc (if you can call it that) is a bit too sanguine. He takes a ridiculous risk by abandoning his family and suffers no consequences for it. I’m not suggesting he should have died (that probably would have been in conflict with the story’s message), but I think there should have been some repercussions for his recklessness. Yes, Olympia can see the creatures, but that doesn’t mean something bad couldn’t have happened to his family as a result of him leaving them.

Did he not care if he ever saw them again? I understand he gets angry with Malorie, especially when she physically lashes out at him, but what about his sister? Does he not care about her?

There is no progress without failure and Tom….really never fails. His invention is immediately successful and he gets his happy ending with no springs attached.

I enjoyed Olympia’s character far more as she obviously struggles with balancing her desires to both make her mother proud and find her way in a world torn apart by tragedy. She isn’t unsympathetic to her mother, but you can tell she wants to break the rules and spread her wings.

While I did enjoy this book, there was entirely too much plot armor. Not to mention there were so many coincidences in the narrative that strained my suspension of disbelief.

I found it way too coincidental that Malorie’s dad was there at the encampment. I think it would have been more reasonable to assume this was all part of Gary’s plan to flush her and her family out of hiding.

Speaking of Gary, his death was disappointing to me. I know it is supposed to be an ironic death, the talkative villain killed silently, but to me it was too much of an anticlimax. Also, aren’t people going to notice he’s dead for no reason? Aren’t people going to ask around or wonder why he was shot with a crossbow?

Oh well.

While not perfect, Malorie is still an addictive read with an interesting dilemma. I did not know what was going to happen from one page to the next and I couldn’t’ stop reading.

8/10

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on “Malorie” by Josh Malerman

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