"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.
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin and Neil Gaiman."
When I requested this book I didn't know what to expect. I was intrigued but cautious. I love Gaiman, don't tend to read Stephen King as I'm not big into horror, and DNF Justin Cronin's The Passage without any desire to try anything else by him. So seemed like 33% chance of liking this, 33% of not really caring, and 33% giving up on it. I was actually almost reluctant to start reading the book in case my fears were met.
I was completely taken aback with how much I loved this story.
Melanie a very special, if not quite normal, girl. Like most children she goes to school, learning about history, math, literature, and science. However, for her life has never existed beyond the compound she lives in, her cell, the classroom, the dining hall, and the showers. She and the children do not play, and she only leaves her room fully restrained in a wheelchair. She is brilliant, but innocent. Pieces begin to fall into place. Cities with a population of zero, students taken away by the doctor who don't return, and the triggering of a strange, overwhelming hunger.
We follow Melanie as she discovers what she is and some of the last humans as they fight against time to survive and find a cure.
M. R. Carey masterfully balances narrative and exposition, sharing details and knowledge of the world the characters navigate with a purpose to the plot and the action immediately at hand. The characters are convincing in their and sympathetic, even if unlikable. I was quickly drawn into the story and stayed entranced through the end.
The Girl with All the Gifts is the story of the extinction of humanity, and just maybe what comes next.
Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.