Title: The Girl With All the Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Every morning, a girl waits in her cell for the men with guns to arrive and strap her into a wheelchair. After she's strapped down, unable to move, she's brought to a classroom filled with other children strapped into chairs. The girl jokes that she won't bite, thinking the men with the guns don't like her; but they don't laugh.
Picked this one up because I was in 'need' of a new read, and the brief blurb on the back piqued my interest. Also, it had a quote from Joss Whedon on the cover, and I'm a sucker for things he finds fantastic. Having now read it, wow is about all I can say.
Wow, wow, wow.
This one was a doozy of a read; both in the heavily researched medical sciences on which the premise of the book stood, and the hopeless struggle of the human race against the pathogen.
Set in a post apocalyptic future, in world now populated with hungries - zombies by a different name - The Girl with All the Gifts alternates perspectives between five characters. Heading each chapter with the character whose view we're going to be experiencing was definitely helpful in keeping the rotating POVs separate.
However, each of the five characters the novel is viewed from are fantastically developed in and of themselves. Melanie was definitely my favorite; the way she was constantly growing and adapting to find her way through the world she was discovering was pure delight to read. Miss Justineau came across as the sympathetic mother figure, the one who was able to see Melanie as just a special little girl, and not the monster the majority of the others saw her as. I really enjoyed how the relationship between Miss Justineau and Melanie began as Miss Justineau protecting Melanie from the horrors of the base, and ended up warping in the end to Melanie protecting Miss Justineau from the state of the outside world.
Sergeant Parks rubbed me the wrong way for a lot of the novel. And even after he started to grow on me, his random moments of unexpected crudeness threw me off. Then there was Dr. Caldwell. Her I did not like one bit. She was so focused on the science side of the attempting to find a cure for the fungus causing people to become hungries that she came off as coldly inhuman. She didn't see what she was doing as anything other than a necessary step towards success.
All together though, with the late addition of a fifth POV, their voices help convey the horror and wonder of the state the world has become.
I think, the most terrifying part of the world Carey created was the state of mind Dr. Caldwell lived in, where the ends justified the means, even if it did mean taking children and treating them as walking talking subjects to dissect.
This book was well crafted and written, and is one I am happy to add to the shelves of my library for a future reread.