I mentioned that I’ve been reading a lot of “girl” books, and now I am going to review what could become one of my favorite books; The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey.
This is a science fiction book, and I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea. And it’s a zombie book, which really puts some people off. But I do have to say that I’ve been reading a lot of the reviews on this book and most people agree that not only is it not typical of a zombie book, it is one of the better written books in the genre.
The story is based on “Melanie”, a girl who spends her life locked in a cell. When she is not locked in a cell, she is bound to a chair and wheeled into a classroom for school. Melanie, of course, is a zombie. Melanie is being studied as she has retained the ability to speak, to process information, and to learn despite being infected. School is really just a way to evaluate her abilities. The story takes place well past the initial fungal infection – the science behind this infection is explained quite well in the story – and is told from various points of view. The action starts when the compound, guarded by the military, is attacked by a band of outcasts in the area, prompting a band of survivors, including Melanie, to flee into the unguarded countryside. During the flight, we learn the true extent of life after this apocalypse, and what it means for the future.
When I first started reading Science Fiction, I read Iaasac Asimov and Ursula K. LeGuin – who not only wove a story that could only exist in your imagination, but did so beautifully, crafted so well that you existed in the imaginary world they spun. And that is how I felt when I read this book. The story makes sense. You feel what these characters are feeling, you understand how this world can exist, and you are fueled along by a plot that moves quickly and creates that pending anticipation which keeps you engrossed. I really enjoyed both the writing and the story. I highly recommend “The Girl with all the Gifts” to even those who do not like zombie books.
And, by the way, they are making this into a movie. The author is one of the screenwriters – which could be good or bad. Hopefully it translates well to the screen.