*** Chance of Spoilers! ***
This isn’t the kind of story I would ordinarily be attracted to but something about the introduction appealed and I am so glad that I picked it up.
Pun intended, I devoured this book hungrily.
I don’t want to give too much away, and although it’s not really a twist you won’t see coming, I think the less you know about the plot, the more impact it will have on you.
Described on the back cover as “Kazuo Ishiguro meets The Walking Dead” I knew I was in for a treat. I love a bit of dystopian future and although Science Fiction is a hard one for me to really embrace, the idea of it being clinical and dark, much like Never Let Me Go was what inspired me to part with my pennies.
Ordinarily, for the record, statements that compare new works to existing works (or trumpet something to be ‘the new something’) bug me big time. It seems lazy and although I understand the purpose of doing it, the rebel in me wants to decide for herself. In this case I would say this proclamation is pretty spot on.
I liked the fact that the central character is a young girl. Melanie is Test Subject #1, whose gift of hyper-intellect sets her apart from her young counterparts, or class mates as they really are. This may or may not turn out to be a good thing. She is a great heroine and a well crafted character even at the tender age of ten. Mark my words, she will break your heart.
Again, it’s hard for me to talk about the characters without giving the game away but you’ll meet Ed Parks, hard wired tough guy who is really only interested in leaving no man behind. There’s ruthless Caroline Caldwell, big hearted but secretive Helen Justineau and green behind the ears, Kieran Gallagher.
Central to the plot is a touching reflection on the maternal instinct but also redemption. Can you make up for something really really bad by saving a life? It’s an upsetting theme but I feel for all those involved, in fact I feel something for all the characters, who all have their own demons to deal with. Even mega bitch Caldwell, whose twisted mission to save an all but extinct race is awe-inspiring in itself.
As I was curled up reading this book, which at times is quite gory and also made me a bit jumpy, I kept thinking how much Mr Bee would like it. Then I Wiki’d its author, M.R. Carey who has written a lot of the comics that Mr Bee is into and it made perfect sense.
The language is so vivid that you feel as though you are part of proceedings and it feels like TGWATG would make a compelling movie as well as graphic novel. In some ways I hope it stays under the radar because I love it so much. But in a genre that has been very popular in recent years, particularly on the small screen and in Hollywood, it’s nice to get a different perspective, and although the book is written from multiple points of view, I feel like Carey nails feminine and childlike psyches quite well.
Read it. It’s a bit tense and a lot scary in places. If you’re not into The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later‘s themes, maybe you shouldn’t.
But this would be a good place to start.
- The Girl With All The Gifts
- Publisher: Orbit (19 Jun 2014)
- ISBN-10: 0356500152
- ISBN-13: 978-0356500157
- Bought paperback (new)