Source: Borrowed from Library
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Edition: Audiobook, 13 Hours 4 Mins
Genre: Horror, Zombies
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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. The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.
The Girl with All the Gifts was a random decision on my part, having heard almost nothing about it. My library expanded their digital library a bit and I got so excited I borrowed a few just so I wouldn’t be stuck on the hold list, this was one of them.
The Girl with All the Gifts focuses on several people, the main one being a girl name Melanie who is incredibly smart but more than a bit odd. The life she’s known consists of being strapped into chairs, having guns pointed at her, and going to school, and all of it is completely normal to her. She’s never known anything else and her world consists of her cell and her classroom. To the other four this book focuses on this is anything but ordinary. Where Melanie sees herself as a child, the rest of them see her as something entirely different: a monster, a specimen, an unfortunate child with a bleak future. At this point I think it’s quite obvious this is a zombie book, seeing as no matter where you look everyone pretty much tells you that much right off the bat. We get the normal unthinking single minded variety of zombie, but we are also given a more intelligent version capable of behaving like a normal human given the right circumstances. I’ve only read a few books with this type of zombie in them and I’ve enjoyed them all, but this is the first one that left me with an eeiry feeling. It focuses on what humanity truly means and we get to see Melanie’s journey to knowing the world around her as well as becoming more and more self aware to her condition. Each character brings something to the table in this novel. Miss Justineau is Melanie’s teacher and her idol, the one she looks up to and reveres and to Justinineau she is someone to protect and secure a future for. Dr. Caldwell is a single minded researcher who is working on trying to find a cure for the infection and an answer for why Melanie is the way she is. She spouts out facts with little to no regard to the feelings of those around her, and sees Melanie as a subject not a person. Sergeant Parks is the muscle in the group and sees Melanie as a little monster to be snuffed out when the time is right. Each of these opinions helps shape Melanie’s view of herself and the world, and I really loved seeing her go through such raw human emotions for the first time.
While there are slow moments where we are treated to such explanations and self monologuing, there is plenty of action and suspense to be had especially after the first quarter of the book is done. While there are some issues with the writing, I find that I didn’t focus on them quite so much since I was listening to the audiobook version and some of the more off sentences flowed rather well when spoken. Finty Williams is an excellent reader and I loved listening to her. She kept to the pace of the story and made sure each character was easy to differentiate between. While part of me wishes there was a sequel to continue on to, I’m so satisfied with the way the end played out that I’m content with the one book.
This is definitely one of those books that will stick with me, and I’m happy I took the chance on it. I enjoy zombie novels but sometimes it feels like so many of them lack substance and don’t make an effort to set themselves apart, and I certainly think TGwAtG has done just that.