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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Girl With All the Gifts: A Novel

I heard the Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey was crazy creepy, so of course I picked it up right away. 

Melanie so, so special--the most special of them all, in fact. Even though every morning she joins her classmates strapped to her chair, head and all, she is by far the best and the brightest. Her teacher knows it, she knows it, but most of all, the head of the program knows it. For these reasons, Melanie may change the world. That is, if she isn't killed first.

It's hard to summarize this book without giving anything away, because the reality of the story is that as soon as you start talking about it when you are in the know, you will give things away. So I will stay as generalist as I can, but if you don't like any spoilers at all you should probably just go ahead and buy the book (link below) and give up your next weekend and read it and prepare to have your mind blown because it's just that kind of novel. So there.

Well, wait, I will give you this next paragraph. This novel is part post-apocalyptic, part zombie novel, part thriller, part science fiction, part sciencey, and part holy crapola. It's a page turner because it's so unbelievable yet so not far off from what could happen in a world of biological terrorism, and that's scary and fascinating all at the same time. If you watched the movie Outbreak at your twelfth birthday party with a bunch of friends who maaayyyyybbbbeeee weren't prepared for such adult fare and were creeped out the whole night (no? just me?), this book will keep your eyes on the page. If you watched the movie and didn't bat an eyelash, then you may be a sociopath but you would still like this book.

Ok, let's dive into it. Melanie, as I mentioned, is so special that she is taken from her classroom to be dissected. I won't say when or why, but know this will happen. (You will have suspected this by about page 50 anyway, so it's only a partial spoiler.) This is when the exposition ends and all hell breaks loose. It turns out the entire United Kingdom has been invaded by a fungus that causes humans to eat each other. So smart be damned--Melanie will try to eat you. If this isn't bad enough, soon the compound where the studies are taking place, run by the military, is compromised by the "hungries," and anyone who is still living is soon on the run. Easy-peasy. I am sure nothing could possibly go wrong with this.

Melanie is a very sympathetic character and I was very drawn to her; it was easy to understand her crush on her teacher, and throughout the rest of the story it was easy to justify why you liked her. Then there is the story. The science in this book is mind-blowing and not too far from being pretty right-on. (Although let's make it clear that I am not a biologist because I am already getting one PhD and I really don't want to get another which is good because it's kind of a one-shot deal.) The science of this story is enough to keep you into it if you decide you don't like the characters (which you will, so don't worry about it).

Pick it up below and be mesmerized. And you will be mesmerized. I was.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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