9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The education of Melanie,
This review is from: The Girl With All The Gifts (Hardcover)
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This is a novel which runs for four hundred and three pages. It has seventy two chapters. It is a complete story and is done in that span, and it's not part of any series or trilogy.
It will be categorised as science fiction. But to say much more or go into too much detail would result in spoilers.
It's the story of Melanie. A young girl. Who is very smart indeed for her age.
The whole story is told in third person present tense. She is the main viewpoint character. But there are also four others.
Melanie lives in a cell. She is taken out of it each morning at gunpoint to be taken to class. Whilst strapped into a wheelchair. She doesn't like the rather nasty Sergeant who is in charge of this. But she likes Miss Justineau. The nice teacher.
She jokes when she is strapped in that she won't bite. Nobody laughs when she says that.
She loves school and learning. And talking about what she will do when she grows up.
Which is another remark that the adults don't take in the way she expects them to.
This is going to grab you right from the off, down to the mystery of what's really going on here. That, plus some very clear and direct prose makes it readable right from the off.
The other viewpoint characters do come in gradually, taking chapters of their own. From them, and some clues that are dropped, the reality of the world in which Melanie lives does become apparent with less than one hundred pages gone.
Once you know what's going on, it may feel as if we are in more familiar genre territory. But there is still enough originality and fresh twists on old scenarios to come to keep this very readable.
The setting is convincing. It does have strong language and adult situations. But it also has five very strong characters, at least one of whom is incredibly sympathetic. They all go on quite a journey, which leave them having grown and changed and in very different places by the end. Which results in a powerful ending and a book that you won't forget in a hurry. Because it's all about the central theme of the book. Being human. And being alive.
Well worth five stars. I am very glad to have read it.