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.
Editors Select, June 2014 - All I knew going into M.R. Carey's The Girl with All the Gifts was that it is a zombie novel centered around a special, enigmatic little girl named Melanie. Now that I've finished, I have a dilemma — I want to convince everyone I know to listen to it, but I don't want to give a single thing away. What I will say is this: The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the most imaginative, original, and deeply human takes on the zombie genre I have ever encountered in any form. It's definitely a thriller in the true sense of the word: every time I thought I knew where the story was going, Carey completely changed the game, and there were plenty of those harrowing, suspenseful scenes that make the genre so irresistible. But what made this story truly unique were the characters — multidimensional, believable, and sympathetic personalities that stayed with me long after the story was over. If you like zombie fiction, or just great, smart thrillers, make this your next listen. And don't dare let anyone spoil the ending for you. Sam, Audible Editor
"A great read that takes hold of you and doesn't let go.""If you only read one novel this year, make sure it's this one, it's amazing.""The story of Melanie and the people around her is so thoughtfully crafted, so heartfelt, remorseless and painfully human, that it takes the potentially tired trope of the zombie apocalypse and makes it as fresh as it is terrifying. The story spirals towards a conclusion so surprising, so warm and yet so chilling, that it takes a moment to realize it's been earned since the first page, and even before. It left me sighing with envious joy, like I'd been simultaneously offered flowers and beaten at chess. A jewel."
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- Jim "The Impatient"
Hours in, restarted so husband could listen too!
Yes ... because the writing, the characters, the story, the ending, and the performance were all so satisfying. Thank you, Mike and Finty!
So much ... impossible to choose. None of Carey's characters is a cartoon; all are fully and wonderfully drawn. The story is full of little, almost offhand turns of phrase that just resonate through you, again and again ... little chilling chords that mimic the author's equally skillful carving and direction of plot. In a world overfull of zombie apocalypse stories, Carey has created one that is truly exceptional and non-formulaic. I was so sorry to see this book end!
Everything, everything, everything. After several years of listening to narrated books, I have so much respect and admiration for truly exceptional narrators, and Finty Williams goes to the top of my all-time favorites list. Intonation was perfect, for every character, scene, and situation. Never too slow, too maudlin, too dramatic ... never grating, never monotone. Just wonderful. Thank you, Finty, for taking an already wonderful book and adding yet another layer of perfection to it!
The ending both moved and surprised me ... I didn't see it coming, and while it made me uneasy and uncomfortable, I could not, at the same time, argue with the characters' rationale.
I bought this book after reading a sample chapter or two, but of course, not knowing really what to expect. The book bounces around in a third-person omniscient way, which is a perspective that I sometimes find tricky for authors ... but it is particularly well-done here.
I would not describe myself as a connoisseur of "zombie books," though I have read a few, and I didn't come to this book with more than light "genre story" expectations. I was pleasantly and poignantly surprised. Five hours in, I started the book over so my husband and I could listen to it together (something I have only done with one other book in 7 years). In short order, Carey introduced us to characters we genuinely cared about, set in a scenario a bit outside the typical one ... and when, all too soon, we reached the end of this amazing story, he gave us an ending that manages to be somehow both entirely unexpected and inevitable.
Highly, highly recommended. I'm going on to check out some of Mike Carey's previous books now.