Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

5 stars out of 5

The only reality ten-year-old Melanie knows is the four walls of her tiny cell and the classroom where she and two dozen other children are taught each day. Every morning the children are strapped into their chairs, muzzled and restrained and then the lessons begin. Because these are not normal children and this is not a normal classroom. Melanie and her friends are high functioning hungries, little kid zombies who can think and feel and have a taste for human flesh.

In the future a zombie plague has all but wiped out humanity. On a secure base in England one of the last scientists, Dr. Caldwell, is studying Melanie and her classmates, trying to find a cure for the zombie pathogen. When the base is attacked, Melanie, her favorite teacher, two soldiers and Dr. Caldwell are forced to flee together. Dr. Caldwell wants to dissect Melanie. Miss Justineau wants to save the kid and the soldiers just want to stay the hell away from the little zombie freak. Melanie just wants to discover this new world unfolding around her.

Sometimes there are books that don’t quite fit in any one genre, but seem to span several at once. The Girl With All The Gifts definitely qualifies. One part dystopian, one part zombie fiction, and one part general lit, I’m betting booksellers are flummoxed about where to shelve this novel. Despite its genre spilt-personality, Carey’s novel is an enthralling read.

The book’s title refers to the greek legend of Pandora and it’s easy to see all the similarities between Melanie and her greek counter-part. There’s a thread of mythology running under this story that adds an extra depth to it. I really love the language and the intersecting stories. Carey has done a fantastic job creating relatable, flawed characters and no one in this novel is perfect, not even Melanie. I was riveted throughout and spent many late nights feverishly turning pages and holding my breath to see what happened next. The narrative is distant and yet intimate. The characters are utterly unforgettable and the ending perfect.

I'm normally not a fan of zombie fiction, but this book is the exception to the rule. And for good reason. Beaufitully plotted, gorgeous writing and a story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned, this book is not to be missed. As a side note, the novel is an extension of a short story Carey wrote, Iphigenia in Aulis, that was included in the Charlaine Harris anthology, An Apple For the Creature.

Favorite quote: "This gauntlet, flung down by a bullying, contemptuous universe that allowed human beings to grope their way to sentience just so it could put them in their place that bit more painfully."

Find it on Goodreads >>

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