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The Girl with All the Gifts Audiobook

The Girl with All the Gifts

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, June 2014 - All I knew going into M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts was that it is a zombie novel centered around a special, enigmatic little girl named Melanie. Now that I've finished, I have a dilemma — I want to convince everyone I know to listen to it, but I don't want to give a single thing away. What I will say is this: The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the most imaginative, original, and deeply human takes on the zombie genre I have ever encountered in any form. It's definitely a thriller in the true sense of the word: every time I thought I knew where the story was going, Carey completely changed the game, and there were plenty of those harrowing, suspenseful scenes that make the genre so irresistible. But what made this story truly unique were the characters — multidimensional, believable, and sympathetic personalities that stayed with me long after the story was over. If you like zombie fiction, or just great, smart thrillers, make this your next listen. And don't dare let anyone spoil the ending for you. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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."

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (28960 )
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Performance
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  •  
    FanB14 07-24-15
    FanB14 07-24-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Saturated Market, Good Book on Sale"

    Zombie fatigue? I love The Walking Dead (at least the first 3 seasons); respect the simple genius of Night of the Living Dead; and enjoyed a few others out there currently. When this title was hyped in Entertainment Weekly, I rolled my eyes and flipped the page. However, when it popped up on sale and with the recommendation of an Audible editor, clicked 2X and began listening. The POV of 3 females: scientist, teacher, 10 year old girl make for a different take on the genre. The explanation of how the virus affects different generations at the end is a nice surprise. There were some slow and predictable parts, but on sale, it's worth a listen.

    37 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 06-16-14
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 06-16-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent"

    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.

    34 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tango Texas 05-07-17
    Tango Texas 05-07-17
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    "In a Class of Her Own"

    I have had to take a break from writing reviews because of my horrible workload. However, I have missed it - writing reviews does make you a more critical listener and makes the books, authors, and narrators more memorable. I find that as I listen for the things that I think others would want to know it keeps me more "plugged in" to the book and heightens my listening experience. So, I'm going to try to squeeze some time in for a few reviews.

    TGWATG is a little bit of an odd place to jump back in because it has been well reviewed already and my take like most others was WOW! However, I just re-heard this book before listening to Carey's new The Boy on the Bridge and it seemed necessary to post this one more glowing review of The Girl before posting a far less positive review of The Boy.

    So, what's great about The Girl - everything. Most especially, I adored the fact that Carey completely transcended the genre. I read a lot of speculative fiction - sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, alt history - and I love it, but there is a lot of trash to wade through. Just because you set your story outside of our reality does not mean that is shouldn't or can't still conform to all the same standards that make any novel great. You need engaging characters and a captivating plot at minimum to entertain. If you add in beautiful wordcraft, evocative setting, symbolism, style, etc., the experience is enhanced. If you can plumb deeper themes and give the reader new perspectives so that by the end of the book, you have a reader who is moved, changed, or gained new insight in addition to having been highly entertained, well, THAT'S A GREAT NOVEL. And, then it doesn't matter what genre you use as the vehicle. I believe that speculative fiction can produce great novels, but it only rarely does. Who would think Zombies could be the stuff of Magnificence?

    If you never read speculative fiction, start here. Beyond entertaining, The Girl explores our ideas about humanity and "humaneness", sentience, and, ultimately, at what point do you extend to someone "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"; when do inalienable rights kick in? Is there a an instance where it is moral or ethical to trample humanity in the pursuit of the greater good? Does survival of some of our DNA, constitute survival of the species?

    The Girl has everything required to make a Great Novel, but to be a Great Novel on Audio, you have to have a great narrator and this book does (thank goodness). Finty Williams has a velvety voice that takes you by the ears and pulls you into the story. She succeeds at the best a narrator can do - after two sentences, you forget the narrator completely and the story just flows through your mind with her voice as the vehicle.

    After my second reading, I can say unequivocally that any one who appreciates great fiction should read/listen to The Girl With All The Gifts. And, re-read it if it has been awhile. It's not as surprising the second time around, but just as good and there is enough "meat" in this one to sustain many readings!

    23 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Menefee Alexandria, Va 06-18-14
    T. Menefee Alexandria, Va 06-18-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Interesting take on a saturated genre"

    If you like zombie books give this one a shot (if you are tired of the genre, I would still recommend this one as the premise behind how the zombie's are created and behave is interesting).

    I thought that this had great character development (I felt more sorry for the zombies then the regular humans), but it was a little graphic in some spots which might be a bit much for some.

    28 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-15-16
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-15-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Intensely Great"

    Parts of this book may be too gross, violent, or intense for some readers, but if you can take some gore and intensity, I highly recommend this listen.

    It was wonderful! I will read it again. The writing is superior with interesting imagery and references and the prose are well crafted. The characters and story are unusually full, natural, beautiful, and touching while being quite unusual and intense. The ending is intensely good. I really looked forward to returning to this listen, and I watched the ever decreasing time remaining with mild sorrow. This is one of the rare books (one to two each year) that I force my family to read immediately so I can discuss it without spoiling it.

    The narration is near perfect with clear and strong characters and subtle emotional tones expressing each character's internal states. The pacing is also delicately varied, enhancing the text.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 11-14-14
    Michelle san diego, CA, United States 11-14-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Meh, just ok"

    This book started out strong, just riveting and I couldn't put it down. Reminded me of how the Passage started - it grabbed me and did not let go. About 1/3 of the way through however it became extremely predictable, I lost interest in the characters and in the end only finished as I had used a credit and didn't want to waste it. There are so many other better books in this genre, I wouldn't use up a credit.

    15 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Manchester, NH, United States 07-27-14
    Matt Manchester, NH, United States 07-27-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Please dont believe the reviews"

    im really scratching my head as to why this is getting so many five star reviews

    all the "gripping, intriguing, engaging" just isn't there.

    it actually does start out well with intrigue and a little mystery.

    but shortly into the book, that all gets thrown out the window, and we get another basic, "oh we have to survive from the dead and reach this point"

    which actually left me kinda disappointing. and it sort of just ended, there was no conclusion. after i was just like "thats it?"

    its not a bad book by any stretch. but its just a simple fun read with not as much depth as you'd hope.

    23 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 12-27-15
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 12-27-15 Member Since 2005
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    "Zombie story slightly off beaten path"

    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.

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 10-10-15
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 10-10-15 Member Since 2008
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    "A unique take on the zombie apocalypse"

    The Girl With All the Gifts offers a refreshing angle on a tired genre and is quickly becoming a classic. M. R. Carey uses strong characters to tell an engaging story full of emotion where humanity struggles to survive in a world overrun by hungries (zombies). Human conflict is a pretty common thread woven into many apocalyptic stories as characters are typically more concerned with petty personal agendas than banding together to survive. This story is not much different in that regard except the agendas aren't petty and the disagreements are viewed from a unique perspective - that of a child hungry named Melanie.

    It turns out that only 99.9% of all the hungries are mindless, flesh eating monsters. There exists a very rare subset that are semi-intelligent children (but still flesh eating monsters) and these are rounded up for study in the hope that understanding why they are different will lead to a potential cure. Hotel Echo is the military base set up for this research project and the location where you are introduced to the 3 main human characters:

    1) The hardened military man, Sergeant Parks, who only cares about executing his mission and keeping everyone safe from the hungries. He only loosely understands why Hotel Echo is organized like an elementary school and is certain that his innate mistrust of all hungries is what keeps everyone alive.

    2) There is Doctor Caroline Caldwell, the brilliant and ruthless head of the research project, who is desperately trying to find a cure to the plague. The children are extremely valuable test subjects to her and her research is really the only hope that humanity has of survival.

    3) And finally, Helen Justineau is a psychologist and one of the many teachers responsible for studying the child hungries and probing the limits of their intelligence. She comes to realize that these children are not much different from normal human children except for the unfortunate disease they are afflicted with.

    The interactions of this volatile mix of human personalities is viewed from the perspective of Melanie, one of the child hungries that has been captured. Melanie is the star pupil of the research project and she slowly begins to sort out the bigger picture of the state of the world and her place within it. This is what makes this story compelling as you will find yourself with conflicted emotions as Melanie's awareness grows. The tension and the stakes build up until it all culminates into a very satisfying ending that makes me willing to overlook a couple of the weaker plot points. I definitely recommend giving this a try as it brings to the surface many emotions in a genre known mostly for just evoking fear.

    Finty Williams does a great job as the narrator and in 2016 there will be a movie adaption starring Glenn Close as Caroline Caldwell.

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 03-06-15
    Andrew 03-06-15
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    "Not enough story there"

    There were a couple of good ideas but not well plotted out and needed more. The characters also were not that interesting or real to the listener except for the girl herself but the author should have told the whole story from her point of view and instead of ending so abruptly, she should have developed the ending more dramatically and with more actin and direction as to where the world was headed next. The book kind of just ended abruptly as though the of author got tired and just wanted to end it. All in all, disappointing.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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