Susan's Reviews > The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
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it was ok

To be fair to this book, it is not really the sort of thing I would normally read – however, it was chosen by my book club and the initial description looked quite promising. Melanie is ten and, when we meet her, she is in a base – her entire world consisting of her cell, a corridor, a shower room and a classroom. Five days a week, Melanie is strapped into a wheelchair, fastened securely and wheeled into the classroom where she, and her fellow classmates are taught. Melanie is a bright and engaging little girl, who has an enormous crush on one of her teachers, Miss Helen Justineau. However, we are obviously aware that things are seriously not right and the world as we know it has changed beyond recognition. Although Melanie is content enough with the world that she knows, she is concerned when two children from her class suddenly disappear; taken by the aggressive Sergeant Parks to Dr Caroline Caldwell’s lab, never to return.

Although this begins as an interesting dystopian novel, it soon descends into a fairly basic zombie story and, once I fell in with the plot, my heart began to sink. A group of characters, including the doctor, the teacher Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and a young private Kieran Gallagher, plus Melanie, find themselves on the run in a hostile environment. The strong female characters in a genre which is very male oriented led the story in a more interesting way and Melanie’s realisation of who, and what, she is, is very well done. However, I found it difficult to retain interest in the plot and it did become rather wearing, and rather ridiculous, towards the end. By far the strongest part of the novel is at the beginning, when you are not sure of why Melanie is being kept and caged like a laboratory animal. Towards the middle it became rather a slog to the finish and I got to the end with relief. Still, if you do like this kind of zombie horror book, with a more female slant, then this might be for you, but the book as a whole does not live up to the premise it suggests.

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Reading Progress

May 11, 2014 – Started Reading
May 11, 2014 – Shelved
May 17, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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Jaksen You know, I couldn't say it better, but I got so disinterested in this book that my review fell flat. I just couldn't summon up the energy to write a lengthy review. Thank YOU for doing so. :D


message 2: by Pam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pam Lyon me too...parts of really loved...some great lines...well written, loved beginning and even middle, but have to admit i skimmed that last third to get to the end.


Susan It DID have a good beginning. To be fair, it isn't my type of book. Had it not been my book club choice I never would have picked it up...


message 4: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra i feel the same way. i think it would have been more interesting to have to guess throughout the book why she and all the other students were in cages and have that revealed slowly. i'm not into this type of genre and had i known this is what this book was about, i never would have picked it up. I honestly am debating whether or not to finish


Susan The beginning is the be best bit - it gets pretty boring once you reach the middle...


message 6: by ✨Susan✨ (new)

✨Susan✨ Thanks for the review. I've taken it off my tbr list.


Susan I feel bad now... I don't like zombie books - but if anyone does, they may like this.


message 8: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Yeah. I'm in the middle now and it's like all fighting and running and blah blah boring. Exactly why I don't like zombie books. I'll read a few more chapters and if it doesn't pick up, I'll probably put it down. M.R. Carey did a good job disguising what this book was really about, ensuring that more people, not necessarily all zombie fans, would buy it:(


Jaksen If the zombie book gets into the day-to-day survival of the 'live folks,' plus interactions among them in a drastically-changed world, and the reader gets to see how personalities change/develop/get worse - or better, then that is usually a better read imo. Keep the zombies as the external threat, always there, always apt to rush in and ruin your nice outdoor-dinner-from-a-can - dogfood maybe? - and you probably have a good read there. If it's all zombie-and-human battles, that can get a little tiresome. In other words, even in a zombie book, it's the (living) human element that makes all the difference.

Because, as in almost any book, sameness=tiresome and when a reader gets tired of a book, it's apt to get tossed aside. imo


Susan She did disguise it - you start reading, it looks good, then, oh dear... zombies...


message 11: by ✨Susan✨ (new)

✨Susan✨ Susan wrote: "I feel bad now... I don't like zombie books - but if anyone does, they may like this."

Oh no, don't feel bad. I'm not a zombie book lover either. That being said; ironically i just read My Life as a White Trash Zombie
It was funny and a pretty good mystery. It was a Daily Deal.


Susan My Life as a White Trash Zombie? What a great title :)


message 13: by ✨Susan✨ (new)

✨Susan✨ ;D


Andrea Moore ditto. this book could have ended 250 pages sooner than it did.


Susan To be fair to the author, the beginning does show real promise. The zombie storyline was a bit sneaky, as you get interested and then think, Oh No! Disguising the zombie storyline on the book blurb did not do her any favours, as people feel cheated when realisation hits.


Emily Completely agree.


Emily Completely agree.


Peter Deeks For me, the reason that this book is rather scary is that the cause of the zombie state is not only plausible but possible. The ending is also palusible. I'm not a zombie fan, but as science fiction this was credible.


message 19: by Diane (new)

Diane Houston Very well stated. Like you, I loved the first third, but then as more happened, it seemed like less was actually happening; it became oh so boring.


Stephanie I loved the "twist" at the end. The only zombie novel I had read before was World War Z and I'm not a huge science fiction reader but I loved the ending. The idea that this is a natural evolution of humanity really turns the entire zombie-genre on its head.


Terry So I was completely taken in! I should have read more of the reviews. I'm about 1/2 way through and the writing is not bad--I just wasn't expecting another zombie novel! After Justin Cronin's masterpiece , I have a hard time with others and I have no desire to read knockoffs. Anyway because I actually bought it I'll probably finish it--hurriedly!


Thebossinthewall Mentioning that she's a zombie will ruin the discovery for readers. You might want to omit that.


message 23: by Christie (new)

Christie Well said. It's only the second audiobook I have ever returned without finishing. When I reached chapter 22 & realized there were more than 70 chapters, I turned it off.


message 24: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna Wilson My sentiments, almost exactly. Instead of plagarizing your review, let me just give it a thumbs up. You spoke for me.


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