I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Orbit Books on June 19th 2014
Genres: Adult, Horror
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NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks 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 is a very special girl.
Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.
The problem is The Girl With All The Gifts is that it is amazing and I don’t want to tell you anything about it.
You see, one of the best parts of this book is how it unfolds. Each layer of the story is slowly revealed with as much intense build up as the human nervous system can take. You guys, this book is flat out creepy. Like my shoulders are tense, I kind of have goosebumps, WHAT’S THAT? NO DON’T TOUCH ME I’M SCARED creepy. I went in with zero idea of what to expect besides Ellen at Orbit was really excited about it, Joss Whedon and io9 loved it and I think maybe there are zombies or something. I think this approach is sort of key for getting the full effect of the narrative.
Unfortunately, this leaves me kind of at loose ends as far as reviewing goes. I will tell you that it contains some seriously disturbing shit. I have a pretty high threshold for (reading about) squicky stuff and there were a couple of scenes and descriptions I would gladly scrub from my brain (nonexistent memory for the win! In about 6 months I’ll be like ‘oh man, this book was really good, I’m going to reread’ and be shocked and horrified all over again).
I can also tell you that this book makes use of the monster as metaphorical whatsit thing that I love to pieces (I told you Joss loved it, right?). In my opinion, no truly good monster story is complete without asking who is really the monster, us or them? in some form or another. The Girl With All The Gifts does a brilliant job of showcasing the highs and lows of humanity, often within the same character. It enraged me, it disgusted me, it broke my heart.
And then the end. Seriously fantastic ending, top notch stuff. I award high fives and thumbs up all around. It’s one of those endings you sort of see coming but also don’t because that’s not how it’s going to go down, right? It cant be. Can it?
On a more nit-picky note, points deducted for calling zombies hungries. This is probably my least favorite of all zombie story tropes (The Walking Dead, I am side-eyeing you so hard right now). If the zombiepocalypse occurs in the world as we know it, why in the hell would we invent a new word for zombie? We already have a word for that. We apply it to everything. Are you really trying to tell me that if someone randomly started to violently eat another person’s face we wouldn’t all start screaming ZOMBIE at the top of our lungs? Respectfully, I call bullshit.
However, points added for this practical approach to wholesale zombie slaughter:
Broad sweeps, below the waist, full automatic. Bust their legs and they’ve got to drag themselves on their hands to get to you. Changes the odds a little.
Headshots are fine and dandy, but for the more hand/eye-coordinationally challenged among us (i.e. me) constantly trying for headshots is a good way to waste ammo and get eaten. Take out the knees and then pick ‘em off. Solid strategy.
Anyway, the point is, read this book. It’s incredible. The science is on the sounder end (grain of salt, not my area), the story is riveting and the alternating character POVs are brilliantly written and completely distinct. If you like fascinating, dark, post-apocalyptic survival thrillers you should be reading The Girl With All The Gifts right now. The end.
(I lied, that wasn’t quite the end. If you’re interested, stay away from the Goodreads reviews, people have different definitions of what constitutes a spoiler)
(To be fair, I have a fairly conservative view of what counts as one in this case.)
(If you’ve read it, stay vague in the comments. But omg this book, right?)
(The end for real.)