This is an uplifting and intelligent book with a zombie theme. If you like to read fresh new novels and see things from a different perspective, then you will enjoy the story of The Girl with All the Gifts. But, if all you require is a thin plot with zombies that stumble around searching for fresh blood or the walking dead trying to get a bite out of people, then you may be a little disappointed in this one. Don’t be put off at first glance though because there are enough thrills and grisly bits to keep you reading right through the night.
Taking a risk and breaking away from the traditional zombie story recipe, Carey decided to write The Girl With All The Gifts book from the point of view of the zombies. And that’s not all. We are told this story from the perspective of a zombie child. I think you will agree that this takes an inventive mind and some interesting writing talent and reviews declare that Carey has both of those and more! You can also find this book in our top selection of the best zombie books!
The Girl With All The Gifts is set in England after a zombie apocalypse. It has the chill of a Gothic setting swirling with grey mists and specters. The outcome of the invasion is that some children have become zombies with a difference. They still have functioning brains and some emotions but are not averse to snacking on the odd human.
One particular zombie child, Melanie, is unique in that she is lively and inquisitive and even has the unusual capacity for forming relationships with others. She does not understand why she is kept in a cell and guarded at gunpoint despite her protests that she won’t bite. The guards do not believe her and the children are generally badly treated by them.
Melanie is also very intelligent – “a genius” as Dr. Caldwell calls her. She has an insatiable desire for learning and her admiration for her teacher is a dominant theme throughout the book. When she and her classmates are strapped into their wheelchairs and taken to their classes, no-one could be happier than Melanie. She is devoted to her teacher and inspired by the stories that she tells. Melanie trusts her enough to share her dreams for the future with her favorite teacher, Miss Justineau.
However, she is unable to comprehend why her teacher always looks so sad when she tells her what she wants to do when she is older. We have to wonder what Miss Justineau knows that we don’t.
We later find out why her teacher is so sad. There is a sinister reason for keeping these zombie children alive and she knows what it is. They are being held captive in their cells so that a team of doctors can perform tests on them.
The doctors are desperate to find a cure for the Zombie invasion and they believe that these children hold the key to finding a cure. Melanie becomes aware that sometimes children disappear into the lab and never return. She has the mental ability to work out what is going on and she begins to fear that the same may happen to her. Her biggest dread is that she might be separated from her teacher.
When that dreaded day eventually arrives, Melanie has to decide whether she is a human or whether they are merely below her in the food chain. You were promised zombies and so there will be deaths, but the conclusion is worth the wait.
With well-developed characters and the ability to evoke emotions from the reader, book reviews of The Girl with All the Gifts have been stellar and rate this as a top-class, but chilling read.