This book is: an extremely cool take on the global pandemic SciFi trope.
Other elements: Almost-zombies, scientific experiments, David Attenborough, fungus, survival.
Read it: if you love flawlessly-crafted narratives and fascinating fictional science.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
This book is not at all the kind of thing I normally read.
It’s Science Fiction. More than that: it’s Science Fiction that takes place in a future version of our world where things are not going well. It belongs on the same shelf as Cronin’s The Passage, except that the world in The Girl with All the Gifts is more like our own.
When I reviewed The Passage, I told you that I could tell it was a good book but that I didn’t enjoy it because it’s not the kind of book I enjoy. The Girl with All the Gifts isn’t the kind of book I normally enjoy, either…but I thought it was awesome.
Part of my enjoyment was being able to slowly learn more about what was happening as events unfolded, so I’m not going to reveal much here. I’ll give you the publisher synopsis that prompted me to give this book a chance:
“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.”
This book is vivid, engrossing, original, and very tightly written. If it sounds interesting to you at all, you should definitely give The Girl with All the Gifts a chance. It’s great.
My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for providing me with a review copy of The Girl with All the Gifts.