The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a horrifying look at a a world dealing with a fungus that turns the host into a walking zombie that is hungry only for flesh. This book centers on a young girl of the age of nine the interesting protagonist makes this zombie like story a great one. The theme is this book is hope and it covers both hope and hopelessness fully. This book manages to be heart-filled and heartbreaking at the same time. This novel gives every character an agenda and watches as the five main characters seek to accomplish that agenda some fail as other prevail. I have not read many books that I consider the ending perfect, but man is this ending perfect, it moves the narrative along nicely and it calls back to the very first scene, making it full circle but a completely different context. About the Author, this is my first novel I’ve read by M. R. Carey, but I have read various graphic novels in his vertigo DC Comic nook series Unwritten and Lucifer. I have also seen most of the Lucifer tv show now on Netflix which M. R. Carey is a creative consultant.
The Plot: Melanie A girl of 9 doesn’t have much of a life after school, because after school she is locked in a cage and under heavy watch, along with her classmates. She doesn’t know the outside world but she wants to. She has one teacher Miss Justineau that seems to understand her and is the teacher’s pet, an incident happens as one comforting gesture patting Melanie on the head, makes the teacher jump back in fear of what she has done. Melanie doesn’t understand and is treated horribly and lock up in restraints by the mean Sargent Parks. In class they learn about a new threat the Hungries which are a vicious new wave of humans that grave flesh. Miss Justineau takes some days to comeback and nothing is the same she keeps here distance making Melanie fell like she did something wrong. Parks keeps treating her as dangerous. Melanie stars noticing her classmates start to disappear one by one. She ask Miss Justineau where they’re gone and the teacher looks scared as Parks comes into class and sends everyone back. Miss Justineau tries to intervene and talk the children’s curious nature. That day Melanie learns everything and it will change her life and the world as Miss Justineau innocently reveals the truth about Melanie and the school’s real purpose.
What I Liked: How much information your giving at the beginning then how fast everything is revealed and you seem the hidden subtext and danger in the words used. The character’s agendas are really great and all different some our counteractive and some work together. I like how the character’s don’t change but the situation does and it changes the view of the character and there motivations. I liked how you could feel the confinement in the descriptions. I liked that we get 5 characters different perspectives. The action was written really well. Perfect ending for this novel.
What I Disliked: The middle slowed down too much, the beginning was full of all this information and subtext then an incident happens which is excited and unexpected, but then it takes the novel in a new direction and slows down a lot. One character seems to accept fate too easily I wanted to see more of the internal struggle a bit more.
Recommendation: This book is really special and very unique. This is my second book about a killer fungus and this one far exceed that one with it’s serious tone. If you like books about a zombie apocalypse, then this is a pretty great one that nails the apocalypse part most of all. If you like shocking mind blowing ending that also fit in to the narrative perfectly. I read this book because of the Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) blurb on the cover “So surprising, so warm and yet so chilling … As fresh as it is terrifying.” I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars, I own both books the Boy on the Bridge and Fellside, which have now jumped up on my TBR because of this book.