This review is from: The Girl With All The Gifts (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'The Girl With All The Gifts' is an original reimagining of the classic zombie tale. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, where a mysterious illness has turned much of the population into "hungries" - shells of their former selves consumed with the desire for sustenance, of which the best source is human flesh. However, some children have been found fully infected by the mysterious illness, and yet seemingly fully functional humans. 'The Girl With All The Gifts' follows one of these children, Melanie, and the people she interacts with.
The story is told from many viewpoints, each with an original and unique voice. However, it is the sections narrated by Melanie than are the most accomplished; with echoes of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', the childlike innocence of the narrator makes the grim realities all the more unsettling. This is particularly evident in the early chapters of the book, which are marvelously written and phenomenally interesting. There is also a distinct lack of moral-instruction throughout the novel - the reader isn't told who to dislike, and everyone has understandable motivations. Initially "bad" characters do seem to think they are doing good, and equally "good" characters can end up causing all kinds of harm. These devices serve to tell an engrossing, well-developed story and to keep the reader enagaged until the final page.
The plot itself is well planned, and moves along at a steady pace. The use of multiple narrators is particularly beneficial here, as similar activities can be cast in a vastly different light several times over. Storylines build to a crescendo before crashing down at the end of the book, and the final pages provide a very satisfying - and thought-provoking - question.
Overall, "The Girl with All the Gifts" is a very talented piece. Encouraging interest, questioning and engagement from the reader are all excellent qualities of M.R. Carey's writing, and the plot itself. Even if your usual read is not of the horror thriller genre (like me), I would encourage you to pick up "The Girl with All the Gifts" as an exception to prove the rule.