Upon glimpsing something outside, people are driven into a murderous rage that usually ends with the taking of their own lives. Mallory's story is told in two pieces.
Four years ago, pregnant & alone, Mallory strikes out toward a group safe house. Now, she and her two children begin a blind, treacherous journey down the river, away from that house & toward a only a vague hope of security.
This book struck me as a combination between The Happening and The Walking Dead. No, there aren't zombies, but there is a big focus on the shifting group dynamics between survivors once society has reached the "post-apocalyptic" stage.
The writing style. The story is told in brief sentences that very effectively communicate an eerie & desperate atmosphere.
The imagery. Picturing yourself, surrounded by people who may or may not be trying to kill you, and without the ability to simply walk outside without wearing a blind fold? The idea that an unknown number of the "things" driving everyone crazy may be out there, close to you, watching you when you can't see where you're going or what you're doing? That's some creepy shit.
What Didn't Work:
The plot. I just couldn't get fully on board with Mallory's past, nor her present. Her time at the safe house didn't capture my attention; it feels more like she is just going through the motions of existing in a horror scenario. Mallory's trek down the river with her two children is distinctly more interesting, but only makes up a small part of the actual story.
The ending for Mallory's past came about way too quickly by comparison to the rest of the novel. It's a tangle of events happening in such rapid succession that it ends up feeling contrived & unrealistic.
The horror. While the imagery & writing provided support on the horror front, the actual development of the story just wasn't that scary. The characters fell into tired, tropey categories, and thus became predictable. Predictability is the death of an interesting horror story.
The endgame. The most disappointing aspect of this novel is that THERE ARE NO ANSWERS. I sense that the reader's imagination is meant to fill in the blanks & create individual nightmarish situations, but in this instance it comes off as lazy. The small twist at the end of the novel is satisfying in its own right, but it left me feeling as though there was another tale here that would've been more interesting to tell.
All in all, this is just a bit too derivative of everything we've seen before in the Horror genre. It's not scary enough to have an impact, and it's not original enough to overcome its flaws.