The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey


“Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.”

‘The girl with all the gifts’ was a book completely unlike what I would normally go for. I’ve only ever read one zombie book before (Deadlands) and I actually quite enjoyed that too. This was a very fast paced novel, full of action and suspense, and not lacking in content either.

I find that sometimes thrillers are written with the singular purpose of being scary or exciting and don’t actually have a nicely planned plot or characters. However, I loved the characters in this book as they were well developed and not overly stereotypical. Melanie – the fierce little girl and main protagonist – is instantly lovable and full of spirit while the other characters (Parks, Gallagah, Justineau and Caldwell) all possessed varying qualities that made for some interesting situations. Parks’ progression from military meathead to a caring man was endearing, whilst Caldwell’s unscrupulous and calculating manner created even more problems for the group.

The writing style was lovely; it flowed easily and Carey included some beautiful descriptions and explanations as well as some genius metaphors. At no point did I get at all bored with the language as every paragraph, every line was engaging.

The setting for ‘the girl with all the gifts’ is unique; it is not a ‘normal’ zombie book (if you can call any zombie book ‘normal’!). If you permit some lenience in the imagination area, it is actually a very realistic story (obviously the zombies aren’t plausible…I hope…..) and the ending combined with the actions and reactions of the characters are believable.

I thought the ending was brilliant, a great combination of happy and sad; a bittersweet finish which I relished for the realistic truth it provided. I applaud Carey for not coddling us readers by giving us what we want (a fairy tale ending), but instead voicing an outcome that is less than desirable but more that possible.

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie interpretation, although I feel that it will possibly stray from the story from what I have seen of the trailer. Has anyone already seen the film? What do you think?

5/5 rating.


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An aspiring cellist, I absolutely adore reading, and even if it means squeezing it into the cracks of my busy life I am still determined to read more! For me, a truly great novel isn't just flashy with a fast paced plot and glossy characters, it is good literature that traps you with every word and entices you to read on. I write quick-to-read book reviews on CreativeThoughtBubble, as well as occasionally publishing short stories of my own.

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