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About the Author
- ASIN : B00CO7FLFG
- Publisher : Orbit (June 10, 2014)
- Publication date : June 10, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 2257 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 420 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,126 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Carey has taken a real biological organism (the parasitic fungus cordyceps which highjacks the nervous system of its host, typical ants) and imagined what would happen if this fungus jumped the species barrier and was able to infect humans. The result is a pandemic of apocalyptic proportions as most of humankind is infected, those who remain attempting to not become infected themselves while seeking a vaccine.
It is difficult to write about the plot without spoiling the story, so I will err on the side of being vague. The story is a bit confusing initially, as it is told from the perspective of Melanie (the girl with all the gifts.) Finding out what those gifts are, and how they are important to the plot is a large part of the story itself, and a large part of the fun of reading it. Besides the brilliance of the concept of the story, I particularly enjoyed the constant changes in perspectives between characters giving readers an opportunity to see and understand their motivations and world-views. Carey also does a tremendous job of creating and building tension as the plot moves forward, although (as with many of his other books), there is an element of the bitter-sweet in its resolution.
For those unfamiliar with this author, I recommend _The House of War and Witness_ first (only out of personal preference) before reading _the Girl With All the Gifts_; that said, this is a fantastic piece of dystopic science fiction.
Spoilers... Zombies are already a tired concept and this book does nothing to change that. If you're looking for a classic horror concept with a twist check out "Passage" by Justin Cronin instead.
To say too much about the plot would be to deprive unsuspecting readers some spectacular plot twists. But, in the interest of not being entirely unhelpful, here goes. Six year old Melanie is a genius. She reads the classics, performs Calculus, and quotes Greek literature. Her favorite teacher, Miss Justineau, adores Melanie above the other students in a very unique class. For each day, Sergeant and other hardened soldiers roll Melanie and her classmates into class strapped helplessly into wheel chairs. No one ever touches the children, or gets too close to their teeth, or releases their bonds in the presence of adults. Why? Melanie doesn’t know at first, but gradually learns of the undead “hungries” that have killed the world outside of the school. That world seems so far away … until it crashes in on the school and destroys it. What follows is a frenetic journey of self-discovery and survival as Melanie, Miss Justineau, and Sergeant attempt to survive a brutal outside world. For the truth about Melanie and the danger she poses to those she loves most becomes the girl’s most difficult lesson yet.
This novel has everything – everything – I look for in a story. Compelling characters you cannot simply classify as good or bad who soldier on with hope despite a hopeless situation. Twists and turns galore – some you see coming and some you don’t. And best of all, an ending that you don’t see coming, but when it does, you know it is perfect.
Five enthusiastic stars for this novel … and I would give it six if I could. Just read it, okay. You can thank me later.
Top reviews from other countries
I guess I was taken in by the opening, as you know something is afoot when a young girl is strapped into a chair with no ability to move her limbs, and then force fed something no normal child would eat or want to eat either.
When you find out that the foreword is written by none other than Joss Whedon himself, and that the author is producing a screenplay at the same time as writing said novel, then it’s winner winner chicken dinner.
Though I’ve not seen “The Walking Dead”, it has that kind of feel to it - atmospheric, dramatic yet personal and touching at the same time.
The novel didn’t end how I wanted it to, but it certainly made for an enjoyable and thrill packed read.
I was absolutely gripped by this story and by what it tells us of human nature and its response to adversity. The little girl was a haunting figure and all the way through I wanted her to be safe. I cared about her and her survival. I also felt for her teacher, fighting against immense odds to look after her charge. Other characters pulled me or repelled me, but sometimes I changed my mind about them as their stories unfolded. The end was sublime. Horrific in some ways but ultimately hopeful. It’s a haunting story and I shall not forget it in a hurry. Highly recommended.
This is a novel told from multiple perspectives that gives a unique view on the zombie apocalypse theme and the aftermath. The main voice in the book is that of Melanie, she seems like an ordinary girl in a strange world of underground living, military figures and other children just like her. It isn’t until a few pages in when you are told the children only eat once a week, are covered in disinfectant and strapped into their chairs that you begin to twig that something isn’t quite right. We learn early on that Melanie and the other children are zombies in a world that has been all but wiped out by a virus that feeds on its host.
The story switches between Melanie’s teacher, Miss Justineau, the military man who keeps them secure on the base, Sergeant Parks and a scientist, Dr Caldwell. There are a few other little snapshots in there too from other perspectives but these with Melanie provide the main four voices..
A break in at their base results in nearly everyone dying, a flood of zombies and forces Parks, Caldwell, Justineau and Melanie to go on the run. They head towards the only human haven left in the UK, a base that has been silent for months while trying to learn more about the virus and survive the zombies they run into. As the book progresses, we encounter emotive situations where we learn how Melanie came to be and why she is not like the other zombies, but what does that mean for the future?
I really enjoyed this book; it was well written, fast paced, filled with action and made me think. The ending was not what I was expecting and that always wins a book brownie points from me. I love the simple design of the cover and I loved the interwoven narratives each with a distinct voice. This is a four star book for me, just because of the range of emotions I felt while reading it and the impact it had on me.
The story was very slow to start and I didn't think quite up to the author's usual standard. Several plot questions were left unanswered. But the complexity of the main character, hungry girl Melanie, and the army sergeant and the school teacher with which she is on the run, made it an engaging and in depth story.