Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius".
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant 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 loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.
©2014 M.R. Carrey (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"A great read that takes hold of you and doesn't let go.""If you only read one novel this year, make sure it's this one, it's amazing.""The story of Melanie and the people around her is so thoughtfully crafted, so heartfelt, remorseless and painfully human, that it takes the potentially tired trope of the zombie apocalypse and makes it as fresh as it is terrifying. The story spirals towards a conclusion so surprising, so warm and yet so chilling, that it takes a moment to realize it's been earned since the first page, and even before. It left me sighing with envious joy, like I'd been simultaneously offered flowers and beaten at chess. A jewel."
If you are looking for a true Killer Zombie novel this is not for you. And if you despise Killer Zombie Novels but love a great read, compelling characters and a hell of a good plot then buy this now.
One of the reasons I like this book is the author does not make the mistake of explaining thing. Little by little, learning along with Melanie, we begin to understand the how and then finally the why of this world.
Well written- it is really a love story between a little girl who idolizes her teacher- a 8 year old with a crush on her wonderful and kind third grade teacher. I will not give away the plot but will only say that the world shifts for everyone as the story progresses
I must say that Melanie is the most compelling protagonist since I encountered Jorge in the Prince of Thorns series by Mark Lawrence. Completely different than Jorge- Melanie, with her kindness and sweetness stands in contrast to the post apocalyptic world and its inevitable cruelty. The plot twist and end caught this long time reader off guard. Usually about 75% of the way through the book I can figure things out- not this time. And that is another thing this book has in common with Mark Lawrence's Opus Magnus the Prince of Thorns series- the end of the book is surprising and compelling
To call this is one of the best 'zombie' books I have ever read (I do like zombie books) would be to make it much smaller than it is. Sure, there are zombies, but this book is about human interactions--about humanity. Without giving any of the great turns and twists away, I have to say that the character development is absolutely brilliant. I can't recall a single instance in the book where a character went off-course in an unexpected way--those who changed (and many did) changed because they were reacting to something outside themselves (and the changes were powerful and moving); those who didn't change didn't change because nothing could have made them do so. You come to know each one of them well, especially Madeleine--the little girl at the center of the story. And what a story it is! M.R. Carey has crafted a tightly knit plot that will keep you at the edge or your seat (or wherever you happen to be while you listen) from start to finish. This was one of those audiobooks that I couldn't wait to get back to. Finty Williams is PERFECT for the narrator. Her rendition of little Madeleine's voice is particularly great (conveying innocence without ever being saccharine). Loved it! Can't wait for this author's next novel.
On with my October reading: Late to The Girl with All the Gifts party, I have to tip my hat to those that were able to write a review without any spoilers. We all know how hard that is, and there is almost nothing you can say about this that isn't a spoiler. Having the story unfurl as I listened enhanced my experience of this book immensely. I have to admit, I was completely surprised at the wonderfully calculated revelation in a book I wouldn't have chosen if I had known much of the plot. That's one advantage to a randomly chosen book suggested by an Audible editor, and a late arrival. That said; you only have to read the first couple of reviews to realize that, the beans have been spilled...zombies.
Who wants to read another zombie book? There ARE a few *zombie* reads that expand the saturated genre, but it's like cats; all it takes is one really bad one to keep you away from the species the rest of your life (damn you Choochie Kitty for what you did to my suede boots in the closet). I have nothing against a good zombie tale; finding one that's good is the problem. The Passage, WW Z, The Angels are the Reapers, I Am Legend, The Strain, Patient Zero, I thought were good zombie reads, but I'm neither a Z expert, or a patient reader of the genre. I can only have fun for so long before I start with all the questions, get sick of the gratuitous gore, and grow bored with the worn out zombie trifecta of Zombies-Evil Marauders-Good Guys (with either a highly intelligent plan, loads of supplies, or military expertise).
TGWATG was a smart surprise that escaped the zombie rut and didn't seem to smack me in the head half-way through with the dumb stick. Carey keeps it tight, revealing bits of information slowly, keeping you in suspense while he constructs a world where zombies just might make sense. These zombies are not your zombies de rigueur. There's a scientific foundation that has their devolution colliding with evolution. The response of the characters seems genuine as does their characterization. A clever ending packs a wallop that has you looking out at the future like Taylor in Planet of the Apes must have after he got over the shock of seeing the wrecked half of a seaweed-strewn Statue of Liberty -- yeah, it's crappy, but he did survive to begin anew the human race.
This is one quasi-psychological zombie thriller that I could see some *A list* actors signing up for the film version, but there is a big caveat here, and one that explains what I saw as a stumbling block within the novel. Melanie is the bright spark that gives the novel its moments of uniqueness, and she is equally the child that seems awkward in the author's portrayal. It's a fish out of water; a child wreaking havoc and gore; the 3 yr. old boy on youtube adeptly chain smoking; that feeling you had watching (or reading) Let the Right One In -- an uncomfortable symbiotic relationship that could either be the brilliance of the novel for you or your own stumbling block.
Besides the fact that Melanie is young, for some reason the book felt more like a YA novel (but there is the issue of language). If you can get passed the word *zombie* and those occasional moments that seemed to straddle the YA/Adult literature fence, this novel reminded me slightly of P.D. James Children of Men -- just slightly. Original concepts, well written, imaginative and enjoyable if you like this genre.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (paranormal fantasy) - The Girl with All the Gifts is set in England sometime in the future after a strange infection has turned people into "Hungries." Not zombies, but very similar in that they eat humans, and there are very few humans left on earth. I'm not a zombie fan, but I was drawn to this book by the awards and the fact that it is supposedly written with a different slant on the genre. That is true to some extent. Don't want to give too much away, but one of the main characters is a Hungry, which gives a different perspective, and there's more interesting science in this book than in the usual zombie story. (But then I've only listened to two or three.)
I like the first and last of the book the best, the first because you don't really know what's going on, and the last because -- well, let's just say it's chilling and somewhat unexpected! There are some parts in between that are exciting and parts that are sweet, but for the most part it's just the usual zombie cr@p. Excuse me, they're called "Hungries" in this book.
PERFORMANCE - Miss Williams has a lovely voice and a British accent. She does a very good job.
OVERALL - I suppose men would like this book, but I think it might have a little too much girly stuff in it for some guys (like my husband). It's an easy listen, as there are only a few main characters to keep straight. Lots of zombie killing and gore and quite a bit of bad language as well. Very mild sexual references.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The zombie apocalypse has happened in Britain (and elsewhere), thanks to a fungal infection that takes over the brain and other organs. The few survivors either live on military bases, or in feral gangs of "junkers". The "hungries" (such a good choice of nickname, I wonder why no one's used it before) make formerly inhabited areas dangerous to visit.
This particular story revolves around a young girl named Melanie, who lives on one of the military bases and demonstrates her exceptional intelligence in the classroom. However, she and her classmates aren't quite ordinary kids. They're chained to to their desks, are treated warily and coldly by the soldiers, and are sometimes the subjects of terrible medical experiments. It's not much of a spoiler to say that Melanie has the zombie infection and the same desire as other Hungries to eat the flesh of ordinary humans who aren't wearing a special scent blocker. Yet, unlike the generally mindless mainline Hungry, she retains ordinary human emotions and the full abilities of her intellect.
The people in her life are a predictable cast of secondary characters, for this type of novel. There's a hard-nosed scientist, who's determined to understand and cure the zombie infection at any cost. There's an empathetic teacher, with whom "at any cost" doesn't sit so well. There's a hardened, pragmatic soldier, whose views fall somewhere in the middle.
Things happen, and these characters all find themselves on the run outside the safety of the base, coping with both external dangers and those endemic to their own group. It wasn't a story I found as gripping as, say, Season One of The Walking Dead, but it was good enough as a time-passer to listen to while I was doing other things. Aside from Melanie herself, none of the other characters really deviate from "type", though I enjoyed seeing her come to grips with herself.
Though the finale wasn't anything mind-blowing, I was pleased that the novel ended conclusively, leaving open the possibility of a sequel, but not dropping a "to be continued" on the reader. I wish more authors would do that.
There are better books/movies/games in the zombie apocalypse genre, but there are a lot of worse ones, too. Worth the audible sale price I got it for.
Zombies? Me? Never. But I read all the reviews and decided this must be the exception. It's definitely not my genre, and this book didn't change my mind. I'm writing this review only to warn other people who think that this might be the zombie exception. Have at it zombie lovers!
It was such a great twist compared to other stories like this. It also seemed pretty accurate as to how things would go if something like that did hit the world.
Honestly, the ending. I don't want to give it away, but it was definitely a surprise and very powerful.
I did have one issue with the science of it. The book was very detailed in how exactly everything works, but in reality, nothing could evolve to such a perfect point before even reaching the first reproductive stage. If you understandunderstand biology and evolution, you might need to suspend your disbelief. But, you almost always do in a book like this.
I'm not sure why the end of the world zombie invasion story occasionally grabs my attention when I should really be educating myself about climate change or some other important cause, but mea culpa - I've wasted my time with some of the best zombie thrillers.
This book stands apart from the pack. The science sounds believable (I can't believe I'm saying that for people trying to consume other people and infecting them), the characters are complex and there are several new spins on an old tale that continues to fascinate us zombie fans.
We are not brought in at the beginning of the outbreak. The zombies have already overrun most of the world. There are a few small pockets of civilization and a community of wild ruthless humans who have developed skills to roam freely and not get eaten - most of the time.
The girl with all the gifts is not a zombie. She is a student being studied in a small community. The relationship between her and one of the teachers is very special.
When deciding on a book, sometimes you read too many reviews and there is sometimes that one that spoils your journey of discovery with too much information. I recently read several reviews on a book everyone was raving about and one reviewer in one sentence destroyed the ending for me, so I didn't get the book. That could happen with this book. So look at the overall rating which is high, read only a few other reviews if you dare - and get ready to download a great story.
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