I normally do not read books about vampires or zombies or post-apocalyptic thrillers as this genre of books are not my cup of tea. When I bought The Girl With All The Gifts, I did not know that it was a post-apocalyptic thriller. It was hailed as “the most original thriller that you will read this year.”
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey has received acclaim from critics, who praised its variation from typical zombie fiction as well as the depth of its characters. It is based on the author’s Edgar Award winning short story, “Iphigenia In Aulis”.
In a dystopian future, humanity has been devastated by a mutated fungal infection that has turned most of the Earth’s population into ravenous zombies, known as ‘hungries’. In a secure army base in Birmingham, a group of scientists experiment on part-human, part-hungry, hybrid children in the hope of finding a possible cure to the epidemic.
The girl with all the gifts is Melanie, a ten-year-old girl who has grown up and lived on an army base her entire life. She’s regarded by her minders and teachers as dangerous, and is locked in a cell with only school to offer much need distraction. In this fortified facility, teacher Helen Justineau develops a close relationship with Melanie and objects to her superior, Dr. Caroline Caldwell’s plan to kill her for further experimentation. Melanie is a normal child, right up until the moment she smells human flesh too closely – and turns into a feral monster. Everything changes dramatically when one day the army base is attacked by Junkers, a ruthless band of survivalists who shunned society and its protections and decided to eek out a life in a world of zombies. Escaping with their lives, Melanie, Miss Justineau, two army staffers and Dr Caldwell, attempt to head south to the last remaining safe human settlement, Beacon. Along the way Melanie has to come to terms with life outside of the base and with it, the harsh realisations of her own nature and those of her minders.
The book is generally easy reading, but I find the scientific explanations a bit laboured in parts.The thriller starts slowly but later builds up to a fast-paced finale. This highly-acclaimed novel is intense, intriguing and a rather interesting take on zombies. I was gripped right from the start and the characters are so well developed that you become immersed in their lives and can’t help rooting for them.
The book has been made into a movie but I have not watched the movie yet. But here is the official trailer for the movie in case you are keen to watch the movie.