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The Girl With All The Gifts: The most original thriller you will read this year (The Girl With All the Gifts series) Paperback – 19 Jun 2014
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Original, thrilling and powerful (GUARDIAN)
Haunting, heartbreaking (VOGUE)
As fresh as it is terrifying (Joss Whedon, screenwriter, film and television producer)
If you only read one novel this year, make sure it's this one, it's amazing (No. 1 bestselling author Martina Cole)
A great read that takes hold of you and doesn´t let go (John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN)
Vividly memorable and unexpectedly poignant (METRO)
Keeps you on tenterhooks as the action unfolds (ELLE magazine)
A masterpiece (SUN)
Glorious (Bryony Gordon, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Complex,heartbreaking, hopeful and intelligently written . . . Enigmatic and utterly gripping (HARPER'S BAZAAR)
The phenomenal word-of-mouth bestseller THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is now a major film starring Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy ConsidineSee all Product description
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I guess I was taken in by the opening, as you know something is afoot when a young girl is strapped into a chair with no ability to move her limbs, and then force fed something no normal child would eat or want to eat either.
When you find out that the foreword is written by none other than Joss Whedon himself, and that the author is producing a screenplay at the same time as writing said novel, then it’s winner winner chicken dinner.
Though I’ve not seen “The Walking Dead”, it has that kind of feel to it - atmospheric, dramatic yet personal and touching at the same time.
The novel didn’t end how I wanted it to, but it certainly made for an enjoyable and thrill packed read.
This is a novel told from multiple perspectives that gives a unique view on the zombie apocalypse theme and the aftermath. The main voice in the book is that of Melanie, she seems like an ordinary girl in a strange world of underground living, military figures and other children just like her. It isn’t until a few pages in when you are told the children only eat once a week, are covered in disinfectant and strapped into their chairs that you begin to twig that something isn’t quite right. We learn early on that Melanie and the other children are zombies in a world that has been all but wiped out by a virus that feeds on its host.
The story switches between Melanie’s teacher, Miss Justineau, the military man who keeps them secure on the base, Sergeant Parks and a scientist, Dr Caldwell. There are a few other little snapshots in there too from other perspectives but these with Melanie provide the main four voices..
A break in at their base results in nearly everyone dying, a flood of zombies and forces Parks, Caldwell, Justineau and Melanie to go on the run. They head towards the only human haven left in the UK, a base that has been silent for months while trying to learn more about the virus and survive the zombies they run into. As the book progresses, we encounter emotive situations where we learn how Melanie came to be and why she is not like the other zombies, but what does that mean for the future?
I really enjoyed this book; it was well written, fast paced, filled with action and made me think. The ending was not what I was expecting and that always wins a book brownie points from me. I love the simple design of the cover and I loved the interwoven narratives each with a distinct voice. This is a four star book for me, just because of the range of emotions I felt while reading it and the impact it had on me.
The story was very slow to start and I didn't think quite up to the author's usual standard. Several plot questions were left unanswered. But the complexity of the main character, hungry girl Melanie, and the army sergeant and the school teacher with which she is on the run, made it an engaging and in depth story.
There are some great action set pieces in this book, and the characters are deep enough for you to like or hate, and their development is good enough for you to be touched by the ending. There were times when this book felt a touch directionless though, and also some plot holes that didn’t entirely make sense!
On the whole though, an intriguing dystopian story that definitely had some great moments!
Having said that, this is better written than 99% of zombie books, some of which read as if they were written by shambling corpses. And it does start very well. And I did read it all the way through, so it is readable. I just think it's a shame that so many authors now (Gillian Flynn, I'm looking at you) excel at writing the set-up, but can't provide a satisfying resolution. Maybe water fluoridisation would help?