The Girl with All the Gifts

41T8+DRhOHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When was the last time a book caught you completely by surprise?

I can’t remember how I heard about The Girl with All the Gifts, a speculative novel by M.R. Carey. I had a sample on my Kindle, and I started reading and couldn’t stop (until I fell asleep). I’ve looked forward to reading it every night for the last week or so.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling anything (it really is best for you to figure out what the book is as you read it). So I’ll stop there. If you need a little more information, below I’ll discuss the “hook” of the story, which you would learn about within the first few pages of the book.

Minor Spoilers Below

The Girl with All the Gifts is told through the eyes of several characters, but the story gravitates around Melanie, a gifted girl. Every day she goes to class with other kids her age, but the circumstances are…odd.

Melanie has to be strapped into a wheelchair to class, just like the other students, and a mask is affixed to her head. She’s clearly a danger to someone–herself? The other students? The teacher and soldiers who handle her?

All of that is in the first chapter, and even though I could kind of guess what was happening, it was such a good hook for this genre that I had to know more.

If you read this book, come back and read the following. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. (I really should just get on Goodreads, shouldn’t I?)

Major Spoilers Below

I love a lot of things about this book, way too many to write about here. So I just wanted to mention two things:

  1. I love the scientific explanation for the virus and ensuing zombie outbreak. It’s based on a real fungus that infects and controls ants. It makes perfect sense that the fungus might one day cross over to other species. If a zombie outbreak ever happens in real life, that’s going to be the cause.
  2. I love how the characters evolved throughout the book, Melanie and Parks in particular. Usually in books you see characters “level up” as they learn more about the world or get in touch with their powers, etc. But the author simply treats Melanie and Parks as people who change in subtle ways (yet stay true to their character). They’re some of the best characterizations I’ve seen in any novel.