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Editorial Reviews

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
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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2014 M.R. Carrey (P)2014 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 09-04-15


The first 25 chapters are stunning. A Zombie novel written with intellect. The main character is a ten year old Zombie girl, who is sweet, a genius and just wants to be loved. She has spent most of her life in restraints and has no idea that she is a Zombie or that her life is not normal. She is rolled to class tied to a wheelchair. Her arms, legs and head or restrained. In her class are about thirty other Zombie kids. She loves learning. You will fall in love with this little Zombie and will be sicken in how she is treated. At about the 24th chapter there is a scene similar to UNSTRUNG.

After the 25th chapter the book does not get bad, it just becomes more like the other Zombie novels. The school is attacked and a small group of people with the Zombie girl in tow, most travel some distance through dangerous lands to get to safety. This of course is the bread and butter of most post apocalyptic novels. I just hated to see what was one of the most unique and well written Zombie novels go the common route. It was still well written during this adventure.

Even during the adventure part, there is that added aspect of these people traveling with what could be a dangerous Zombie. The girl is just finding out what she is and living with people is all she has ever known. Living in restraints is also all she has ever known. The debate among the survivors makes this part most important.

As the story gets to the end, we find that Carey is not done with his intellectual imagination. He comes up with a couple of more twists, not seen in similar books. The ending along with the work up to it, is fantastic.

This is a pet peeve of mine and does not affect the rating and that is the non use of the word Zombie. No where in this book will you hear the word Zombie. I believe just once you hear the word Undead. Several authors do this, they try to make a new word and act as if the general public is going to use that word. It is almost as if they feel they are going to have to pay a royalty to Romero, if the use the word Zombie. The word Zombie has been around a long time, even before Night of The Living Dead, if anything like this was to ever happen, the afflicted are going to be called Zombies by the general public, not THE HUNGRIES or the infected or any of the other names authors keep trying to make their own, so use the word, Zombie, cause that is what the reader is saying in his head.

The narrator does a really good job especially in the beginning, but I will say during action scenes, not so good. It is not bad enough to detract, just not up to the standards of some better narrators and that is action scenes only.

Over 10,000 people have bought, listened and rated this at audible so far, you are missing out if you don't check this out.

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146 of 173 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Pikay on 12-13-14

Hours in, restarted so husband could listen too!

Would you listen to The Girl with All the Gifts again? Why?

Yes ... because the writing, the characters, the story, the ending, and the performance were all so satisfying. Thank you, Mike and Finty!

What did you like best about this story?

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!

What about Finty Williams’s performance did you like?

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!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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104 of 125 people found this review helpful

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