Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Girl With All The Gifts


It's hard to describe this novel without giving away a lot of very important plot points. It begins in a classroom where the kids are all strapped down into chairs. After their lessons they are taken back to cells in a concrete bunker. Once a week they are given live maggots to eat which they devour ravenously. It quickly becomes clear that - big spoiler alert - we are in an end of the world scenario: a fascinating and plausible zombie apocalypse has gripped the Earth (the only really plausible zombie apocalypse I've ever encountered actually in any medium) and these kids in the class are somehow zombie hybrid children that exist to be experimented on in an army base in the hope of finding a cure. Several of the teachers & scientists despise the hybrid children but one in particular has empathy...
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The second and third acts of the story are a little predictable if you've, you know, read any fiction at all, but the ending of the story was very neatly done. I also admired the anti-machismo elements of the narrative. There are not one, not two but three strong female leads, one of whom, Melanie, is the smart and sensitive zombie-hybrid kid lead. And although there are soldiers with guns this is a story about intelligent women and girls who attempt to fix things not through shooting at stuff but through thinking. I've been meaning to read this book for a while but I was put off a little by all the hype. I shouldn't have been. I hadn't read an M.R. Carey book before but I will certainly read more of his stuff. He's produced an authentic original horror thriller masterpiece and you should read it before the movie version comes out and no doubt ruins it with male leads saving the women and doing macho stuff thats not in the book.