The Girl With All the Gifts: An Amazing Human Apocalyptic Tale with an Awful Ending
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey.
There was a movie that came out a while ago called The Girl With All The Gifts and when I saw the trailer my thought was, “I don’t know about this. I’m really tired of zombies.” Then at the release of the film, the ebook was placed on sale for a dollar and I thought, “Why not?” A year or so later, I finally decided to read The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey.
What is it? Well first of all, it takes place in the zombie apocalypse. Its not the run of the mill undead zombies. People infected with a zombie like condition caused by a mutated version of the cordyceps fungus that as jumped species to the human population. The story is told from a point of view of a young girl named Melanie. She and a number of other students live in cells on a military base. Most of their lives they are locked away but for a few hours on most days they are restrained in wheelchairs unable to move, wheeled into a classroom, and are forced to learn. Melanie knows nothing but this and believes every kid grows up this way. Melanie soon begins to notice things. Children are taken away by Dr. Coldwell and never come back. Her favorite teacher cries when she asks when they can leave the base and what they will be doing when they grow up. Then there is an incident where she suddenly had no control and almost devours her teacher.
When zombies or as the story called them, Hungries, attack the base, Mrs. Justinue, Dr. Caldwell, Melanie, and a couple soldiers get away. And as they must survive, Melanie learns she is infected. All the children were being studied because they still ahd the ability to think freely and are not under control of the fungus like the others.
The good? It took me a long to read this because I really didn’t want to read a cliché zombie story. But this is miles from that. This is about Melanie’s journey and struggle. Her human story about her relationship with these other four who ultimately become a family unit in a way. It’s a really fascination tale of self discovery and acceptance among the others. Also I know the cordyceps is the newer brand of zombies now. It’s been used in a few movies and most notably in The Last of Us. But I like it still. The reason I like it is because it is something so alien, scary, and real. I remember seeing insects were infected, behaving strangely, and died from this stuff on a science channel documentary years ago and its terrifying. The thought that it exists is scary alone. The idea that it could mutate and infect human race is a nightmare. In the book, it can also be seen that the author did a bit of research as well, which is nice. I like science fiction that uses science. The action is great. The cast is wonderful. The perspective from a unique outlook like Melanie adds a lot of flavor. And the book does provide an interesting mystery as well.
The bad? To be fair. I love this book. I was loving every page. I did have a nagging feeling that story hit the same story beats of The Last of Us, but hopefully that is a coincidence. Then came the ending and I was like holy crap it is more similar than I first thought. And let’s just say this ending will make people mad. Melanie makes a choice that she considers noble but in so many ways is selfish, in comparison to the whole human race which seems to be hurt by her choice. These last few pages made my jaw drop. I like Melanie a lot and I couldn’t believe the choice she made. It made me think, is Melanie the bad guy in this story? I really hated this ending.
Overall, this book I amazing. It’s a wonderful surprise if you go into it cold, but it has an awful ending. I can’t believe what happened in the last few pages. I think it hurts the book and will leave quite a few people hating it. But if you're one of the people who enjoy the journey more than the destination, then you may still love it despite the ending.
3 ½ smoothies out of four.
Overall Rating: An Amazingly Human Apocalyptic Tale with an Awful Ending