The opening sections of this book are brilliant. We know from the blurb that this child, Melanie, is being treated like a dangerous animal - kept locked up, never seeing the sun or the outside world, chained and immobilised for large chunks of time - yet her thoughts and words are those of a normal child. What's going on?
As the story unfolds, we share Melanie's growing awareness of what she really is, and empathise with the horror of her situation. The feeling of being in a surreal world just goes on and on.
It is hard to find fault with this book. The story telling is masterful, we see a lot of things from Melanie's point of view, but the (third person) narration is shared by other, adult, characters which gives us a wider perspective and allows the narrative to move on at a good pace. However, it is the central role of Melanie and the complexity of her situation that makes this so much more than just another "zombie book"
In the crowded genre of young adult dystopian fantasy this book really stands out as being intelligent, exciting and unusual. And my teenage daughter agrees - she has just sat up half the night reading it!