At 10 years old, Melanie spends her day in monotony. She is locked up, alone, in a cell; she is only removed from it to be transported to and from her classroom. When they come from her, a gun is pointed at her and she is strapped into a wheelchair so she cannot move. Everyone is deathly afraid of her. Melanie is a special girl.
The Girl With All The Gifts, by M.R Carey, is a dystopian thriller novel that gives us Melanie (or “test subject number one”) an intelligent, child zombie who is working through her primal desires. Although not a type of book I usually read, I was actually really excited to start this one! It got rave reviews from all my fellow bookstagrammers and I love The Walking Dead series. I figured what better way to get into a Halloween spirit than to read a book with zombies. I am so glad I did. I ended up really enjoying this book!
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It did a great job at weaving and building up this new post-apocalyptic world. The story is set about 20 years after an initial “outbreak” as a group of survivor are working in a military base to find a cure. The military, led by research Dr. Caroline Caldwell, is using child zombies to do experiments on. These children, although, technically dead, are able to communicate and learn. They have emotions. They are believed to be the link to the cure.
The middle of the book started to lag a little bit for me. I found myself reading a little slower. I found that the middle became a little philosophical at times as the characters struggled with their choices and how they fit into this new world view; which is fine, I was just expecting a little more action. This was short-lived, however, as the novel picked right back up and ended strong.
Our story is told through multiple character perspectives, which I always enjoy. We hear from the military Sergent as he struggles to make choices to ensure everyone is safe. We get chapters from Helen Justineau – who is the classroom teacher, with a tainted past, who seems to be seeking vindication and retribution by helping the children “hungries”. The hardest chapters to get through are from Dr. Caroline Caldwell. She is the obvious antagonist in the story. Her chapters are littered with medical jargon as she tries and seeks a cure. And, most importantly, we get chapters from Melanie, who is intelligent and child-like in her chapters as she tries to understand what is going on as she battles with her primal instincts.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable book. I think that any fans of dystopian fiction would like this real. The book really reminded me of The Passage by Justin Cronin (which I also LOVED). Be noted that this book should not be described a horror at all. I did not find this book to be scary at all. If you have been looking for a thriller a little out of the ordinary, this book would be a good one to pick up!
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes! Give it a read!