Hello my friends!
I have been kind of missing in action the last few weeks because my whole house was trading a horrible cold around for the last few weeks of November. I finally caught it and was sick on Thanksgiving Day which was not fun. Thankfully we are all over the cold and things are back to normal (ish).
While we were all sick, it gave me some time to cuddle up and read. I happened on a mention of this book by M.R. Carey called “The Girl With All The Gifts”. If you are into Post-Apocalypse Survival fiction you need to read this book right now. All I knew about the book when I started it was that it was after the apocalypse and centered on a girl named Melanie. I’m so glad I didn’t read any spoilers because this book is so unique and I loved being surprised by how things turned out.
The summary on Amazon says:
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 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.
I’m going to review the book below and include some spoilers in the review, so STOP READING NOW if you want to know nothing and come back and talk to me about the awesomeness of this book when you are done!
Still here because you want to know a little more before you read? That’s cool! Let’s get into the review!
The novel takes place at a military base in England after the zombie apocalypse. The purpose of this base is to study the virus that turns humans into “hungries”.
Melanie and a group of children that live on the base attend school with several teachers. Melanie’s favorite teacher is Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau is kind to Melanie and all the other students and always greets them by name, even though the kids are always strapped into wheelchairs so that they are unable to even turn their heads. Miss Justineau teaches the children about ancient myths and reads them stories and asks them interesting questions and always listens to their answers.
The other teachers and adults are not so kind. Doctor Caroline Caldwell sometimes comes to their cells and selects children who are wheeled out of their cells and never seen again. Dr. Caldwell is 100% focused on finding a cure, so much so that she has zero problems with removing and dissecting the brains of the children from class.
Why are these kids so special? They were found outside the base and are infected, but they can talk and learn and laugh, however as Miss Justineau is reminded by Sgt. Parks (the main military character in the book) after she breaks the rules and comforts Melanie by touching her, the kids are still “hungries”. Parks reminds Justineau of this by removing the scent blocker that all the humans wear around the kids and then holding his arm above a little boys head…the boy of course goes crazy and tries to bite his arm.
Eventually, Dr. Caldwell decides she must dissect Melanie because Melanie is the best and brightest out of the kids they are holding. Miss Justineau is decidedly NOT okay with that and ends up in the lab fighting Caldwell to try and spare Melanie. About that time, the base is overrun by junkers (survivalists who are trying to make it outside the base) and Sgt. Parks, Caldwell, Justineau, Melanie and another military guy are the only ones who escape.
The rest of the novel kind of ramps up into a typical zombie survival story, but it’s also Melanie and Caldwell coming to some pretty serious revelations about humanity and it’s place in this new world. Caldwell and Justineau continue to fight over whether she is a monster for being willing to do whatever it takes to find a cure and they both make interesting arguments.
I’m not going to give away the ending, because where’s the fun in that, but as someone who has read a ton of Dystopian novels as well as quite a few zombie novels, I REALLY enjoyed the ending because it was partially what I was expecting, but also a pretty decent twist on the typical ending. I realize that doesn’t make a lot of sense right now, so go read the book!
I am going to try and feature more reviews of books I’m reading and since I tend to read a little bit of everything, I should have recommendations for everyone’s taste eventually!
Do you have a favorite Dystopian or Zombie apocalypse novel I should read and review? Let me know in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading!