Friday 2 January 2015

Book Review - Girl With All the Gifts

Title: The Girl With All The Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: 14 Jan 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0356502731

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.
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.

My Review
I saw this on a display in my local book shop and thought it looked good, I had a quick read of the blurb and was intrigued so I went and ordered a copy from the library. I wouldn't say this was my usual sort of read but I have got quite into the whole paranormal genre and thought this may be good. 
I started to read it about a month ago and found myself getting into the story, it was a bit of a strange story and I as intrigued by the set up. The story starts in a base where kids are strapped to big wheelchairs and wheeled into a classroom every day, they are then locked into cells at night. 
This is a dystopian paranormal with a vampire twist. Set in the future, the world has been taken over by 'Hungries' - human mutations that basically have turned feral and eat humans, and once you are bitten you either become a Hungry or they eat you to death. The children are test subjects, brought in as young hungries to see if they can adapt, learn and also to be used as experiments. 
I found the start of the story interesting but I have to admit that it was also a bit slow, I kept waiting for something to happen and then I had to put the book down to do a Uni assignment and just didn't pick it up again for a while.
Turns out, I put it down right before it all gets exciting, I picked it up yesterday to do a bit more reading, to see if it was worth finishing and suddenly i was like 'whoa', the base gets attacked by Hungries and 'Junkies' -  humans who have learnt to survive and hunt in the wild and avoid the Hungries.
In the base there is one particular child that stands out - Melanie, she seems to be exceptionally bright and in control of her emotions and she gets on very well with her teacher - Miss Justineau. They form a special bond and they escape together during the attack, along with Sergeant Parks, Doctor Caldwell and another soldier called Callagher. Together they try to escape and make their way to another safe base, but running into all sorts of trouble on the way.

The book really picked up it's pace about halfway through and I found myself reading through quickly and not wanting to put it down, I wanted to know what would happen to these people and actually felt like I got to know them. Like I was part of their group. Melanie in particular was very interesting and unique and I like the way she was presented and grew as a character. She was very well written.
The group dynamics is also well set out, and although the people don't all get on, they learn how to survive with each other.

This book is actually set in my local area, Bedford and surrounding villages are mentioned and then they move into London districts. This was quite cool as it meant I could actually visualize some of the places and imagine it playing out. When Bedford was mentioned I actually gasped and got a bit excited. This added a bit of texture to the novel for me, made it feel more real.

The only down for me was that the ending isn't complete - it doesn't come to a conclusion as such but it does hint at what is to come. I don't know if there are plans for a sequeal, but as it was it left me a little bit disappointed. But only a little. Overall i really did enjoy the book and would recommend it to fans of distopian, paranormal horror.
I would give a word of caution though  - some bits are a bit gruesome and even made me look away or curl my nose in disgust. There are some fairly graphic descriptions and a lot of blood mentioned.

But overall a really enjoyable read, worth checking out.

My Rating

1 comment:

Sara In Bookland said...

This book sounds great!

I love distopian/horrors and WOW! Some scenes made you curl your nose? Definitely my cup of tea !

Thank you for sharing!
<a href="> Sara @ Sara In Bookland</a>