Published by Orbit on June 19, 2014
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
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NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING
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 is a very special girl.
Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
There are few things I like more than zombies. Zombie books, movies, tv shows, graphic novels, name it and I’ve probably heard about it.
That’s why going into The Girl with All the Gifts, I probably had sky high expectations. I knew that zombies were in it, but didn’t know in what shape or form. That intentionally vague blurb did it’s part by intriguing me, but I’m not sure it was necessary. Within the first few chapters, we find out why Melanie is such a special girl – because she’s a zombie. And a lucid one at that, and the whole novel tells us why and how this has occurred.
Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.
While I do love a good brainless zombie story, I love intelligent zombie books even more. However, the paragraphs of the medicine and science here went over my head, with info dumps here and there as Dr Caldwell droned on about viruses and spores. All we needed to know was how determined she was to research and understand the virus, and without the info dumping I could have gotten the picture.
The characters here are the show reel of the book, with the courageous and curious Melanie, the gruff Sergeant Parks, the doting compassionate teacher Mrs Justineau, the young Private Gallagher and Dr Caldwell. Each of them are quite memorable, although I found them to be kind of stereotypical, especially Sergeant Parks with his military gruffness and the detached intelligence of the scientist. Melanie herself was a really strong character though, and I was charmed with her character right along with Justineau.
So what was it about this book that I didn’t love? Aside from the interesting angle about Melanie and the scientific info dumps, it wasn’t anything that I hadn’t seen before. I can see what the book is aiming to achieve, focusing on strong character development, although I felt like the stereotypical secondary characters kind of took that away from us. All of the focus is on Melanie, and I’ve never really been one for the special snowflake story.
It does feature a not quite romance that was mildly entertaining and a shocking ending you didn’t quite see coming though, so at least it had that.
I’m going to be the black sheep here and say that The Girl with All the Gifts wasn’t the amazing thrilling read that I expected it to be. If I had known it would be pretty much a straight zombie novel without a strong mystery element to it, I might have been better equipped going into it. Lots of people loved this book though, so I think it’s just my zombie addiction coming through. If you’re looking for an intelligent zombie book, definitely pick up Feed by Mira Grant (My review).
Rating: 3 out of 5
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