Fear evolves through the eyes of a child.
No. of pages: 416
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.
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.
I purchased ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ back when it first came out with only vague idea of what it was about – someone had told me it was X-Men like, young children in a school for the gifted… well that is not really what it was about, but still, this title grabbed my attention.
More and more bibliophiles are calling this a zombie book, and while it’s not technically true, best describes overall genre. ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ starts off so interesting, like a puzzle that needed solving. Especially through Melanie’s POV, where she has such a limited perspective. It all sucked me in – I really wanted to find out what was going on, and why Melanie was so dangerous, when on the surface, she was an innocent little girl.
With changes in the narrative to other main characters, like the teacher, the scientist, the soldier, the plot slowly unravels to reveal a horrible truth, and one I did not see coming. But when realisation struck, it made sense.
Some parts had me cringing – reminding me of B-grade horror movie plots (and acting) but it was kind of camp – the way you laugh at said B-grade horrors. Other parts were truly creepy. So I’m torn between marvelling at its story telling goodness, and dismissing it with a top lip curl.
There are some fantastical moments from both characters and plot, and maybe it was the narrative style that stopped them from being pulled off as truly terrifying. But I really enjoyed all the concepts used in this story. Pacing is slow in the beginning, great lengths are taken to set up each of the cast and the world in which they are struggling to survive.
All in all a creepy little book.
And there’s a movie coming out next year staring Gemma Arterton and Glen Close, except it’s called ‘She Who Brings Gifts’ so I can’t wait to see where they take this story.
Overall feeling: ick factor 8/10
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