The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end. 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 is a very special girl.
If the blurb isn’t enough, here’s the trailer. It gives quite a good feel for the tone of the book:[video src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_Xo3A5UTjso”]
I just loved this book. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I think it is better to go into this one knowing as little as possible. But as you can likely gather from the blurb, it starts by introducing the reader to Melanie. She is a young girl who is raised in a environment where kids are kept in individual cells. When it is time to go to class, three soldiers come into her cell. One to point the gun at her, two to restrain her to the wheelchair. That is just the way things are done. Melanie is an exceptionally bright child and loves to learn. She has a particular fondness for one her teachers, Miss Justineau.
Seeing Melanie’s bright and inquisitive nature within the stark, sterile conditions is quite a contrast. But, Melanie has never known any different, so to her, this is normal. We are introduced to a number of the adults in her life. The soldiers who strap her down and wheel her to class each day, and the the group of teachers that they alternate through day to day, the Doctor who works within the compound. They are all damaged people living in a damaged world. But they go on, as people must. And there is quite a diverse set of backgrounds and personalities.
I absolutely love Melanie’s character. She is so bright, yet so sheltered and she brings a unique (and sensible) view to situations. And since Melanie loves Miss Justineau, you know, I think I have to as well. Miss Justineau actually sees Melanie for the person she is, which in Melanie’s world is quite meaningful. We also get to know Sarge, the soldier who points the gun at Melanie. I don’t think there are any simple characters in this book and exploring them is part of what makes this book work.
The horror elements of this book are extremely well done. There is tension and suspense, and there is a psychological component that really just pull the reader in and keep you on edge. But I would not just classify this book as horror because there is also a strong science fiction bend to this story, beyond just the dystopian setting. The science aspect of it was fascinating and added plausibility to the environment they live in (even if ultimately it is fiction).
If I haven’t convinced you this book is worth reading, I don’t know what else to say (other than READ THIS!). It also has an absolutely amazing ending. I love when I adore an ending to a book, and this one was as near to perfect as I think you can hope for (at least for me). So go on, get this in your reading queue!
Many thank to Orbit and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review