Genres: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic
Published by Orbit on June 10, 2014
Reviewed by: Rick
Implied sexual situations
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 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 favourite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
If you haven’t read any spoilers for THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, it’s hard to know what to expect. The bare-bones description doesn’t give much away, but though the story starts out a bit vague, told through the eyes of a ten year old girl, it soon becomes an engrossing, mind-blowing and genre defying experience that is nearly impossible to put down.
Besides being a good story, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS also manages to take a construct we’re all familiar with and change it up a bit - so if you like your post-apocalyptic walking dead types drooling and mindlessly hungry then this book probably isn’t for you. But for any of you who are excited when a genre or trope is focused through a new lens, then this book should definitely be on your “read immediately” list.
The story centers around Melanie, our ten year old heroine and is told very much through the wide eyes and open heart of a child. She becomes attached to Helen Justineau, her teacher and the two are thrust into a set of intense circumstances that have these two at odds with the rest of the characters in the story. The voice is authentic and the pacing of the book is absolutely perfect. Author M. R. Carey masterfully weaves a tale that takes us from confession, to redemption, to rebirth in an exquisite and intense journey that elevates and rehumanizes the classic zombie construct in a bittersweet and beautiful way.
Through it all the story remains engrossing, engagingly scientific and brings a degree of hope and humanity to a post human world. At the end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is a story of awakening and accepting a new reality and bears a kinship with classic stories like Planet Of The Apes, A.I., PINOCCHIO and LORD OF THE FLIES - all told through the wonder of a child who comes to discover that she is a beacon of hope for life on earth, just not in a way that any of us might expect. THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is a mesmerizing and haunting must read this summer.