- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 13 hours
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 4 May 2017
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01KMV1H44
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Boy on the Bridge Audiobook – Unabridged
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I was fortunate enough to watch 'The girl with all the gifts' during the Sci Fi Film festival in London and 'participate' in a Q & A with the writer and Director. I loved his first film but never read the book but was suitably impressed by both him and his film to pre-order a copy of this book (something I have never done before!). What can I say? This book is absolutely compelling and has an originality to it that is hard to find these days especially when writing within a genre that is so saturated with books, comics and films. I love the unashamed way Carey uses quite technical language to describe the function of say a gun or terminology from neuroscience which describe quite complex concepts to do with brain function and subsequent motor function. The book is a kind of prequel and is set before the events in the film take place but, as other reviewers have said, this is still a stand alone title. I am so impressed and inspired by this writer and of course hope he enjoys continued success in film but he must never stop writing - he is a genius!
This has all of the elements that made The Girl with all the Gifts so wonderful (and is fairly similar in terms of plot) but, if like me the first book left you with a lot of questions, this is the story with the answers... well some of them.
It's very much a character driven story as it follows a team of scientists and their military escort as they set out on an expedition in an armored lab on wheels (with a very familiar name) to try and find something that will help them fight the infection that has destroyed the world. This is a long trip with not a lot of personal space for the crew so as you may expect tensions rise. Add to that the split between the civilian scientists and the military, different beliefs and a mixture of personalities and there is almost more conflict amongst themselves than with the hungries.
The story is told from the point of view of the various members of the team giving different perspectives on the same events but also giving a real insight into the reasons for their actions. In the beginning I did struggle to remember who was who (my feeble brain struggles with lots of names even with the handily provided list) but I soon came to recognize each of the individual voices.
Some characters and personalities do feel a little familiar but the youngest member of the team Stephen Greaves is truly unique and absolutely fascinating to read. His brain doesn't work the way everyone else's does making him a bit of an outcast from the others and the one who's either going to save everyone or get them all killed. He could be a genius or he could just be a very troubled and traumatized child and he's ostracized by almost all of the crew who view him as the latter.
Unsurprisingly given the mission of the team and the number of scientists there is a lot more science in this story. It's incredibly detailed and well thought out, explaining how the infection began and it's effects on the host but I have to confess it became a little too heavy for me at times and lost me. It is interesting to learn more about the hungries and their behavior, and I'm sure those more knowledgeable about biology and chemistry will find it fascinating, but it was a little too much for me and I may have skimmed a little.
Even with this focus on the science and the characters, there is enough action to keep the story moving forward and the reader on their toes. There are moments of extreme violence (some which made me squirm), they're generally sudden, unexpected and over quickly but have a lot of impact. There are all of the best zombie story tropes and it raises those intriguing ethical dilemmas around sacrificing for the greater good and following orders which will leave you pondering whether the characters actions are right or wrong and just what you would do in that situation.
I wouldn't necessarily say it was a fast paced story, it's a little slow in places but there is a gradual build in tension throughout and the ending when it comes is absolutely jaw dropping. Those characters who I wasn't too fussed about had somehow snuck their way in and I was truly invested in what happened to them and without spoilers, it was horrifying, heartbreaking and absolutely wonderful. And, I kinda want more....
Overall, this is an incredibly well written and intelligent story with a focus very much on the characters. It's a little heavier on the science than I would like but the ending more than makes up for any quibbles I may have had along the way. If you read and enjoyed The Girl with all the Gifts I'd really recommend you read this.
I have a huge soft spot for motley crews in untenable situations, especially when they have deep divisions to overcome. While Boy won’t win awards for original characters (they’re all well-worn archetypes, including the eponymous boy), Carey imbues them with a respectable sort of humanity – even when I didn’t like them, I believed in them – and could be surprised by them. As they trundle around the UK in search of a cure, the novel is often tense, sometimes harrowing and arguably entirely by the numbers – but as with Girl it transcends its tropes and stereotypes to work on its own terms.
That being said, I did enjoy most of the characters, especially Steven, who I thought was well drawn - although I too wondered why he managed to go wandering off so often and nobody noticed. I thought the novel zipped along at a good pace and I was desperate to know exactly how it ended, even though, since I had read TGWATG, I did sort of know. I would have given it four stars anyway, because, in the end, it was decent story that entertained me.
But then, there was the ending, and I was utterly undone. Melanie appeared again and she is just such a lovely little character, my heart melted and that last star slipped out without any effort at all. She's so decent and kind, without being saccharine-sweet, and there are far too few characters in novels that one can say the same of. Worth five stars alne just for her on the last 20 pages.