January 18, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Science Fiction
2014 Hachette Audio
Read by Finty Williams
Finished on August 16, 2016
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

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 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 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.

I chose to read The Girl with All the Gifts after hearing two of my coworkers give it high praise. After listening to a sample of the audio on Audible.com, I decided to go with the audio, as the reader is outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, eager to return to it whenever time would allow.

I love the way the author describes the following scene in which the children see flowers, perhaps for the very first time in their young lives.
...It's kind of ugly, Melanie thinks, but absolutely fascinating. Especially when Miss Justineau explains that the little green balls are buds--and they'll turn into leaves and cover the whole tree in green, as though it's put a summer dress on.

But there's a lot more stuff in the bag, and when Miss Justineau starts to unpack it, the whole class stares in awe. Because the bag is full of colours--starburst and wheels and whorls of dazzling brightness that are as fine and complex in their structures as the branch is, only much more symmetrical. Flowers.

"Red campion," Miss Justineau says, holding up a spray that's not red at all but sort of purple, each petal forked into two like the footprint of an animal in a tracking chart Melanie saw once.

"Rosemary." White fingers and green fingers, all laced together like your hands clasped together in your lap when you're nervous and you don't want to fidget.

"Daffodils." Yellow tubes like the trumpets angels blow in the old pictures in Miss Justineau's books, but with fringed lips so delicate they move when Miss Justineau breathes on them.

"Medlar." White spheres in dense clusters, each one made out of overlapping petals that are curved and nested on themselves, and open at one end to show something inside that looks like a tiny model of more flowers.

The children are hypnotised. It's spring in the classroom. It's equinox, with the world balanced between winter and summer, life and death, like a spinning ball balanced on the tip of someone's finger.
The ending was somewhat anticlimactic and I was left wanting more (perhaps there's a sequel in the works?), but overall it was a very good book. It's not for the faint of heart, but it will more than likely appeal to fans of The Walking Dead and Justin Cronin's Passage trilogy. I'm eager to see the movie, but after watching the trailer I know it will be something I'll want to watch on a weekend afternoon. I'm too easily scared and don't want to have nightmares!

M. R. Carey is a pen name for an established British writer of prose fiction and comic books. He has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels and one Hollywood movie screenplay to his credit.


  1. I remember reading good things about this book some months back. And I've heard that narrator before. Putting it on my list. I do think the author has a book after this one - FELLSIDE - not sure if it's a sequel.

    1. Kay, I recently listened to Fellside. It's not a sequel and it wasn't nearly as good as The Girl With All the Gifts. :(

  2. I had no idea that M.R. Carey was Mike Carey. hahaha. I am so awesome at paying attention. That means I have read him tonnes before and that this was not my first book by him. oops! I really enjoyed it, but people are not seeming to enjoy Fellside as much which is disappointing!

    1. Kelly, Fellside was a disappointment. I listened to it, but it really was very odd and not at all as good as The Girl With All the Gifts. :(

  3. That might be a little too scary for me.

    1. Kathy, the book isn't too scary, but that movie sure looks it!

  4. I loved The Girl With All the Gifts too! Really admired the way he was able to give the zombie genre a different spin. But like you, I didn't like Fellside nearly as much. Good news, though, I've heard he's writing a prequel to TGWATG.

    1. Anne, it really was an entertaining book, wasn't it?! It's too bad Fellside wasn't as good, but I'm so happy to learn that he's writing a prequel to TGWATG. Thanks for that information!!

  5. Anonymous12:52 PM

    I thought this was a good and different sort of read, but found the ending to be a disappointment. I didn't know at the time though that there is some mythology link that makes it more interesting if one know of it. I should ask my daughter in law (who knew about the link) to explain further, and then go back and reread the end and see if I can get that figured out.

    1. Toady, it certainly was a unique story, in spite of the ending. I'll have to do a little digging online and see about the mythology links. Thanks for that tidbit!


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