I have to say I didn’t really know what to expect when I started The Girl With All The Gifts; I’d seen how highly rated it was but had tried to avoid detailed reviews as I wanted to read it completely without any other information apart from the synopsis, to see if it lived up to the hype for me! I do really enjoy post-apocalyptic storylines in general so this appealed to me, although the back cover doesn’t give too much away which I like:
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 novel was easy to read and quite fast paced, with plenty of action as well as interesting dialogue between the main characters, who were all quite well developed in their own ways. However the author M.R. Carey does emphasise many times how amazing, caring and different the little girl Melanie is, and what a fierce, intelligent and attractive woman her teacher Miss Justineau is. This was contrasted with some characters that were evidently ‘the baddies’, and sometimes it just felt like there was too clear-cut and obvious distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ which seemed a little basic and simplified.
There were some fairly graphic, gorey scenes which I felt added to the story but of which others have said was a bit too much. At some points I felt the pace died off a little and I didn’t feel as interested but then at other points in the novel I got back into it and wanted to read more. I hadn’t expected the novel to end when it did as the ‘extras’ section (note- may not be in all versions) made the book appear to have more pages left than it actually had, so in a way the ending felt quite abrupt, but that was just the way I’d read it.
Overall I did really enjoy reading The Girl With All The Gifts as it was entertaining and not too taxing, but I’m not sure it completely lives up to all the hype in my opinion. It’s still worth a read though!