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The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey Review

Monday, 4 July 2016

I decided to read The Girl With All The Gifts after hearing people sing its praises across many booktuber channels and so I made it a part of my 2016 book challenge, fulfilling the "book set in Europe" category. I didn't know anything about it other than, and I don't think its a spoiler to say that this book is about zombies. I want to mention here a little fact about myself. Zombies kind of terrify me, probably hailing from the fact that I watched Dawn of the Dead when I was around ten. They also kind of fascinate me though. I loved the Playstation game The Last Of Us and I recently watched World War Z and really enjoyed that too. I'm still working up the courage to watch 28 Days Later...

Anyway, back to the book. I knew this was about zombies and I was sort of looking forward to being scared a little. This didn't happen when I read this book because it's not that kind of book. It's another one of the zombie stories that tell us more about humans than it does zombies. I realize that sentence made me sound lethargic but I don't mean it. Whilst I believe this kind of story is somewhat overdone, this book is good enough to overcome this.

Our protagonist is Melanie, a little girl who lives in a cell underground who has never seen the outside world. She has heard about it from her lessons and her beloved Miss Justineau and she dreams of seeing it one day. We learn very quickly that Melanie is an intelligent and curious girl but that she also has an innate desire to consume the humans that surround her, should they get too close.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. It's paced very well and I never found myself getting bored at any point. And whilst the story moves quickly enough, the characters are given enough room to grow and not feel too one dimensional. I enjoyed Melanie's parts and Miss Justineau too. I even warmed up to Sergeant Parks. I didn't like Dr Caldwell but I did enjoy learning about her and I thought her characterization was done well.

I also enjoyed the way in which the zombies are explained. Somewhat spoilery I guess, but if you've played The Last of Us, the outbreak and cause for zombies is the same. I didn't mind this though. It's a origin that makes sense to me whilst also being terrifying. This novel is a lot more detailed though, explaining quite a lot of how to zombies infect on another. The novel also looked at the way in which the infection matures inside the body of the zombies, which was creepy but it was an element I liked a lot because it added another dimension to the zombies we've seen before.

The narration was occasionally strange although it didn't mar my enjoyment of the novel. I can't put my finger on what it was really. I think some of the phrases that Carey used were odd at times. I don't think the writing style was amazing. There wasn't really any standout sentences or beautiful prose but I don't think this book particularly needed it. It works because of the strength of the story. The ending actually came as a surprise to me so I'm not going to spoil it. It's the type of ending that was sad but satisfying.

So overall, not a particularly scary zombie story but a very good one nonetheless. If you prefer your zombies to be scary I would say this isn't a novel for you but if you enjoy novels that analysis humanity then definitely give it read.

4/5 

Thanks for reading!

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