The Girl With All The Gifts - M. R. Carey

Genre: Zombie/Post-Apocalyptic
Synopsis:  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.


Review: Okay. Let me get the bad stuff out of the way first, coz y'all know this review ends with praise. There isn't too much bad stuff here - I felt the book was a little bit of a slow burner - it became pretty obvious to me pretty quickly what was going on, and I felt it took a bit too long for Melanie to catch on. Even when she began to catch on, she came to at least two conclusions before she came to the big, glaring, neon obvious one. That, combined with the slight caricature of Dr. Caldwell, meant that I spent maybe the first third of the book not entirely sure how I felt about it. To anyone who has a similar initial response - stick with it.

It took me FOREVER to actually get around to reading this book, and yet somehow I managed to avoid knowing even the basic premise, let alone the Super McTwisty Fries ending, and I am so glad I did. Aside from Caldwell, I liked pretty much all the characters. I didn't expect to like Melanie based on my early apprasial of her, but once she started tuning in a bit she became really sweet and not a little bit badass. Miss Justineau is a whole load of badass - she's probably my favourite character, because there are a few times in this book when she says or does things you always WANT characters to do, but they never do. Miss Justineau does. She's open-minded, brave, strong-willed, intelligent and driven. Great character. All of the other characters play their (slightly cliched) parts very well, with their interactions and reactions written credibly and engagingly - except maybe Caldwell.

I've categorized this novel as zombie/post-apoc, which I'm guessing most people know it is. I didn't know that for THE LONGEST TIME, I thought it was gonna be like a light-hearted comedic love story. What rock have I been living under?! Anyway, y'all know this is an overwritten, overused and often underutilized genre - it's been rehashed so many times that its rare for authors to even attempt anything new, let alone succeed. Carey, however, does both. The actual source of the contagion- is awesome. The mutations and growth of the contagion - are awesome. The outcome of the world being driven into the ground by this contagion, and everything about the ending of this book? Fantastic. Absolutely. Frigging. Loved it. I forgive any and all flaws this book has, for that beautiful ending. So unexpected. Weirdly uplifting. Wonderfully different. This book was an absolute treat.

Rating: 5/5

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