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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @orbitbooks

SERIES: The Girl with All the Gifts, Book #1
AUTHOR: M.R. Carey
PUBLISHER: Orbit
PUBLICATION DATE: June 10, 2014
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
LENGTH: 421 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic
ISBN: B00CO7FLFG
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.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.
MY REVIEW:

I absolutely love post-apocalyptic books, especially ones with zombies. This one stands out as being different from the usual zombie fare, because of the way that Carey portrays them.

Melanie is a 10 year old a girl, who is not unlike most girls her age...for the most part. She has a thirst for knowledge and is very intelligent. She goes to school with other kids her age, but -- she's strapped down in a wheelchair so that she can't move. You see, the kids in this class are all zombies (or "hungries" as Carey refers to them) and the only thing that keeps them from turning into salivating creatures is a chemical spray that the humans put on their skin to mask their scent. The kids love Miss Justineau, who is one of their teachers. She treats the kids like they were any other kids, reading them stories and playing music for them. Sergeant Parks chastises her, telling her not to get attached to them because she knows the reason why the kids are there. She even goes so far as to stroke Melanie's head and is caught red-handed by Sergeant Parks. 

Melanie's school is on a military base, and Dr. Caldwell is the one in charge of this research project. What sets these kids apart from the other hungries is that their brains have not deteriorated. They can actually acquire new knowledge, even though they technically are dead. If Dr. Caldwell can understand why the virus has not affected their brains, that might hold the key to making an antidote to reverse the process and creating a vaccine to prevent new outbreaks. No longer content to just read the reports from Miss Justineau and the other scientists who are working with and observing the kids, Dr. Caldwell takes matters into her own hands and starts conducting her own experiments on the kids. In order to understand why their brains are different, she must study them...as in under a microscope. When Miss Justineau gets wind of what is going on, her mother bear instinct kicks in and she tries to sabotage her superior and protect the children.

I really, really enjoyed this fresh new take (for me) on zombies! I never thought I'd ever feel empathy for one of these flesh eaters, but Carey pulls it off. Melanie is thoughtful and caring, and she understands what a danger she is and is more than happy to comply with safety protocols. Later in the book, we can see how much restraint she really has when that chemical blocker is all gone! Carey makes me question who are the monsters and who are the humans! Memorable quote:

Sergeant Parks: "Not everyone who looks human is human," he says.

"No," Miss Justineau agrees. "I'm with you on that one."

I also loved Miss Justineau, and it's easy to see why the kids love her so much. One of the characters I hated at the start was Sergeant Parks, but the growth in his character from beginning to end changed my opinion of him! 

I loved this post-apocalyptic world that Carey created, and I can't wait to read the second book in the series, The Boy on the Bridge.

MY RATING:

4 stars!! I really enjoyed it, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy horror or science fiction/post-apocalyptic books.

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