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.
These few lines are what caught my attention and this really cryptic video sealed the deal for me. I found this during my search about this book sometime late 2014, I was really curious about what Melanie’s story is. Was she in an asylum? Is she under captivity or protection? Is she an alien? Well, I got all my answers when I read M.R. Carey’s latest thriller The Girl With All the Gifts.
I’m not a big fan of the horror books because mainly I get scared easily. It doesn’t really take much to frighten me so at first I was a bit hesitant in reading this because it might scare the shit out of me. But when I skimmed a few of the reviews, I found that it would fall more in the category of mystery – thriller so I proceeded.
This dystopian thriller starts off in a facility outside of London where Melanie and other kids are kept. It also introduces you to key characters like Helen Justineau, Dr. Caroline Caldwell and Sergeant Parks. I gotta say writing a review for this book without giving away everything is tough, so if you want to remain a bit more in the dark about the plot, I suggest you stop reading now before it’s too late. If you want to know more, then I’ll gladly tell you more.
” Not everyone who looks human is human.” – Sergeant Parks
The time is several years after what was known as the “Breakdown” in a facility in the outskirts of London where Dr. Caldwell is holding her experiments in order to find a cure for an infection which plagued humanity. A fungus which spreads through blood and spit or more likely a bite from another human being. This is the world where almost 3/4 of the population are now called Hungries. The term came from the infected human’s sudden urge and obsession for human flesh. Yes, by this time you’ve already guessed that this book is about flesh-eating creatures or what is most commonly called zombies. But it’s not your run of the mill zombie Walking Dead / World War Z type of thriller. Going back to the facility, comes the kids and Melanie who are kept in cell blocks and taught different lessons in a classroom. Melanie knows they’re somewhat different, but she’s not exactly sure about what makes them or her different.
M.R.Carey will bring you into a world where your survival instincts and your humanity will be tested. It’s a refreshing story and as most of the praises I’ve seen, it is utterly heartbreaking. It is thrilling and suspenseful. The fast pace story will keep you interested as their group traverse different obstacles and give you an insight in the characterization of each person. There are just several holes that didn’t work for me like the unexplored story of the Junkers which I would think played a key role in the turning point of the story. And how the Beacon (the name of the city / capital after the breakdown) or the people in charge there didn’t even get a brief glimpse in the story.
“But she knows that you can’t be a child forever, even if you want to be.” – Melanie
The Girl With All The Gifts is definitely a fresh read for me. The story is harrowing and yes, I’ll say it again heartbreaking. It’ll tug into plenty of emotions and will leave you with an expected ending. At least for me it was.
The movie adaptation of the book is already in the works and will be entitled “She Who Brings Gifts” with Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close joining the cast. It is due to be released in 2016.
Read: May 30, 2015
BookNut Verdict: 3.5 out 5