Horror; 435 pgs
Source: E-Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
Thank you to all who voted for The Girl With All the Gifts as my July TBR List book! This made the perfect book to read on my plane ride to and from the East Coast. I had high expectations going in given all the praise this one has received from my fellow book lovers.
I became an instant fan of Melanie's from the very first page. Innocent and polite, an eager learner, and did I say innocent? It is clear from the beginning that she is not just an ordinary child. Why keep her locked in a cell with the guards taking extra precautions to keep their distance and protect themselves? Melanie has no idea who--or what--she is. This is the only life she remembers. She longs to be held and loved, dreaming of living a life in one of the fairy-tales she's been told so many times by her favorite teacher, Miss Justineau.
It does not take long for The Girl With All the Gifts to take off, finding our protagonists in survival mode. The novel is told from several alternating viewpoints, jumping from one to the other to offer a more full view the world in M.R. Carey's book. I really appreciated the depth of the characters and the attention to what each of them was going through, especially Melanie who, as innocence turns into awareness, must find her own place in this new world she lives in.
I hesitate to go into too much detail about the book, given it seems to be one best left to discover in the reading. As others have said, reading this book felt like watching a movie; I could see it playing out on the screen in my mind, one tense moment after the other.
This book was at times touching and other times terrifying. M.R. Carey pulls no punches in describing the direction humanity has gone in The Girl With All the Gifts. It's not a world I would want to live in.
I admit to being worried the ending would disappoint, but it didn't. It was a perfect fit for the rest of the novel. The Girl With All the Gifts is everything everyone said it would be. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can learn more about M.R. Carey and his books on the author's website. He can also be found on Twitter.
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