|9780062326928 — Paperback|
Don’t open your eyes.
This book is superbly written. Its detailed in the right places and vague in the right places. It really makes you feel the situation.
I want so bad to give this book all the high marks, but its a 4P because not everyone enjoys a horror novel (even one as great as this one).
All of the Spoilers ahead (in chronological order)!
In the beginning, it started with one incident in Russia. Malorie is living with her sister Shannon. Malorie finds out that she’s pregnant. There are more incidents, and they’re spreading. Shannon gets more paranoid as they cross the ocean and occur in Alaska. People start blocking their eyes and covering their windows. Malorie doesn’t believe yet.
An incident occurs in Michigan by Malorie and Shannon’s parents home. The sisters call their parents. Soon the incidents are widespread. Malorie and Shannon have holed up in their apartment and covered all the windows. They don’t hear from their parents anymore. Malorie hears something upstairs one day and goes up to check on Shannon. Part of a window has been uncovered. Malorie finds Shannon dead in the bathroom.
Malorie remembers seeing an ad in the newspaper that said there was a house offering shelter. No longer able to stay where her sister has died, she somehow drives to the town and home. At the home they let her in and pat her down.
The roommates tell Malorie about the creatures and of their situation. The cellar is packed with canned food. There’s a well in the backyard. Everyone takes turns doing chores (like emptying the wastebuckets). Tom is the outgoing guy. Don is the paranoid guy. Jules has the dog (Victor). There’s Cheryl and the other guy. Tom has ideas. He wants to explore other houses for stuff, he wants to do things. The group calls random numbers hoping to contact anyone.
There’s another knock on the door and Olympia joins the group. She too is pregnant. She had been living next door. She heard them one night and made her way over to them blind.
Tom wants to find dogs (and use them as seeing eye dogs). He and Jules explore the block blind. They find a tent in the road and note that that is weird. They come back 2 days later with two huskies.
Then Gary shows up. Gary tells the group about his former group. They were not military but became militant, except for Frank. Frank wrote in journals and thought there was no harm to the creatures. He escaped one day after taking down all of the window coverings. Gary left after that.
Malorie is suspicious of Gary. She nicks his suitcase one night and rifles through it, finding “Franks’s” journal. She wants to tell the group. Don has grown close to Gary and she doesn’t trust him.
When Tom eventually comes back, she blurts out what she’s found out about Gary. The roommates kick Gary out.
Don holes up in the basement. Eventually the roommates get Don out of the basement and both Malorie and Olympia go into labor. There’s a storm raging, and they take the two women to the attic to give birth. There’s a fight on downstairs which sounds like it turns violent. Then Gary appears in the attic. Don has uncovered all the windows, and Gary is crazy.
Malorie gives birth first as a creature comes up to the attic. Olympia gives birth and sees the creature. Malorie pulls Olympia’s baby towards her and covers both of their eyes. Olympia jumps out the window and hangs herself with her umbilical cord. Gary and the creature leave.
The phone rings. Malorie traverses the house with her eyes closed, stepping unknowingly around the bodies of the roommates as she goes in order to answer the phone. Its a man and he says there’s a safe place down the river and tells her how to get there.
4 YEARS LATER
Malorie has decided that she and the children are leaving. She recalls that they have not had much of a childhood and that she may have been cruel to them.
She has trained them to awaken with their eyes closed. She has trained them to hear everything.
She knows that it is foggy outside and decides that today they will take the river. She grabs the children and some food and they head to the little rowboat in the river.
Malorie puts the boy in front and the girl in back and sits in the middle to row, blindfolded down the river.
They get stuck on a bank, run into a crazy man on a boat, and get attacked by some wolves (who injury Malorie). Malorie wishes she had Victor, but he went mad after seeing a creature when she went to get microphones and amplifiers.
A creature stands in front of them and tries to take off Malorie’s blinfold as they approach the split in the river, but she tells it not to take it off her and it listens and walks away. Malorie needs to take the middle right arm of the river, which means she needs to open her eyes. She does and marvels at the brightness of the world before putting on her blindfold again. They take the split and are hauled ashore at the compound and welcomed warmly. They see that some people have been blinded and are afraid, but the man in charge explains that they don’t do that anymore.
Straight up: This was a great book.
Its creepy. There’s a real emphasis on different feelings and senses. It evokes different feelings from other horror novels. Its atmospheric.
This book is not going to jump scare you, this book isn’t a slasher flick. This is a creeping horror that sets right into your bones and seeps. This sits with you. It leaves you feeling creeped out and gross.
I went in with zero expectations (though high hopes). And it was amazing. At one point I picked it up, knew I couldn’t finish it in one sitting and knew that I had to do it in one go and so put it back down.
The setting is creepy. Its not super described, but you get the feeling of it. And really, that’s what the book is all about.
Our characters are well thought out and shown (and boy did it drive me up a wall not to know why Boy and Girl didn’t have names). Malorie is an interesting character, and the choices she makes are hard. The roommates are different archetypes that work well for the story, without being one dimensional or stereotypical. Gary freaked me right out, and he wasn’t even that big of a role! …..Gary…..
I loved that we got NOTHING about the creatures (and really that’s the crux of the story: to know is to go mad), except that there are creatures and you will go crazy if you see them.
The plot unfolded beautifully. Jumping between two periods of time really kept the reader in the dark about certain parts of the book and led to a dramatic climax.
This isn’t my new obsession, but it is a stupendous book.
A great creepy read.
The Silence by Tim Lebbon
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
Creepy and sensory, with minimal other-worldly aspects
Book Discussion Questions and Ideas
Why do you suppose Malorie didn’t name the children?
Would you have trained the children like Malorie did?
How would you have reacted to the news in the beginning of the story?
LibraryReads Favorites: 2014
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Horror: Better Dead than Unread (2017)
Why I Chose It
I heard about Malerman’s newest book on a podcast and they also talked about how great this one was, so I decided to try this one first.
I’m very excited to say that this is my first book that I’ll actually be leading a discussion on! Can’t wait!