Title: The Girl with All the Gifts
Author: M. R. Carey
Narrated by: Finty Williams
Length: 13 hours 4 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio
From the Publisher: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."
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.
This was one of the strangest books I’ve ever read (or “read” since I listened to it).
I had no idea it was a zombie book until a friend recommended it to me and mentioned them. I’d bought it last year, so I figured now was as good a time as any to listen.
It was slow getting started. But eventually, I became interested enough in the characters that I got sucked into this world. It was definitely a new spin on an old topic.
In this world, the zombies are called “hungries”. And the culprit responsible is a mutation of the parasitic fungus cordyceps. This is the one that takes over ants and then sprouts out of their brains. So, not entirely implausible in an alternate universe.
But something strange has happened. There are children popping up who can speak and think but clearly exhibit symptoms of infection: namely, wanting to eat people.
Dr. Caldwell is convinced that these children are the key to a vaccine or cure.
Sergeant Parks is just doing his job, though he struggles with the idea of not killing these “hungries” (because they aren’t children in his eyes). He ensures they don’t get loose in the base.
Miss Justineau is one of the teachers that have been brought to the army base to teach these children and observe their mental capabilities.
Melanie is Test Subject Number 1. Not because she’s the first one they found, but because she’s the brightest of them all.
After a raid on the army base, this cast of characters is thrown together and simply try to survive in the world when the world has ended and is overrun by a predator. Think The Walking Dead meets Mary Poppins – only there’s no singing or dancing.
My favorite thing about this books is that it kept me guessing. As I read I came up with many many theories about how it would end. I kept changing my mind because the book wasn’t predictable to me at all. I didn’t know until the end how it was going to end.
And I’m not sure at all how I feel about the ending. I don’t want to say too much so I don’t spoil anyone who hasn’t read it – but I’m struggling with the idea of a well written ending vs. the ending I’d hoped for. Don’t get me wrong – it was very well written. It really was the ending this story should have had. But it’s not necessarily the ending I would have wanted for Melanie.
Bottom line: if you want to read a new spin on a familiar topic – this is a great book.