The Girl With All the Gifts is a pleasantly surprising novel about a child and her gradual understanding over the world, and people, around her. Written by M.R. Carey and released June 2014, this book originally caught my eye on Goodreads’ “Movers and Shakers” list with the following description:
NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING
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 is a very special girl.
Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
What I didn’t realize (and if I’d paid attention even just the slightest, I would have realized) is that this book is about (SPOILER ALERT?):
It’s pretty obvious from the beginning, so if you accidentally read that, no worries. The GoodReads’ page has “Horror > Zombies” as one of the genres. The author also wrote the book on which the movie Constantine was based, so I probably should have guessed this wouldn’t quite be what I generally like. That said, I liked it.
Thought provoking, well-thought-out story
Was that redundant? ;) The Girl With All the Gifts isn’t about the genre at all, because while the plot is obviously about zombies, it isn’t about zombies. It’s about minds and emotions and human nature and how people may cope with this strange, forbidding world. So we see unique characters as they develop through the circumstances.
One thing that’s unique, in my experience of zombies, is that they are actually infected with a real virus (link: spoiler alert), that has mutated to infect many species (in real life), and is, have I mentioned it, real? No, it’s not going around attacking humans (yet) but hey, I like the effort there.
Not a page turner
This was a slow book of discovery. It wasn’t full of action. There was no mystery so great I had to finish it in one go. Actually, I really took my time with this book – completely spoiling it for all of my friends as I kept them updated with my progress on it. In places, I felt the book was overly sad, or heartless, or gory – and I’d just need a break from it.
An ending worth the journey
Sometimes the things that should be appreciated most in a book are the ways in which they could so easily have disappointed us, and then somehow managed to exceed our expectations. This book does just that in the way it creates a satisfying ending. Some endings just want you to be happy. Some just want you to be sad. And some go out of their way to pull one over on you, and make sure you couldn’t guess the end, no matter how much it disrupts their story. But the ending of The Girl With All the Gifts has no fanfare, no tricks. It was, in my mind, magnificent – and fully brought the story to a logical, acceptable, one might even consider happy ending.