Audiobook Review: The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
Narrator: Finty Williams
Also by this author: The Girl With All the Gifts
Published by Hachette Audio, Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
Length: 13 hours 1 minute
Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.
The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.
To where the monsters lived.
I am going to start with talking a bit about reading order, I think both of The Boy on the Bridge and The Girl with All the Gifts can easily be read as stand-alones. The descriptions from the publishers are incredibly vague for both, which I tend to enjoy. That said, there is something about the world I had no idea of before reading The Girl With All the Gifts that gave an additional level of mystery and suspense that I think I could miss if I had known ahead of time. That has most likely been spoiled for most readers by this point, particularly with the movie and reading The Boy on the Bridge first will certainly take that bit of mystery away as well. But with that in mind, I would recommend reading The Girl With All the Gifts first if you plan to read both (and maybe skip this review and read my review for that book instead)
While I was reading this one, I was asked a couple of times if knowing the outcome of The Girl With All the Gifts (which is set after this) ruined my reading experience at all. I really don’t think it did. This is a new set of characters and circumstances that have a story of their own to tell and I never felt like having some knowledge of upcoming events lessened my level of interest for this story. And like I said earlier, I think if I had read this first, it might have slightly lessened the intrigue in The Girl with All the Gifts, so I am happy I read them in this order.
The Boy on the Bridge is centered mainly around a crew in a mobile lab. It is staffed with both military and scientists with a mission of understanding and hopefully curing this new plague that is overtaking the people. Once infected, people become what they call “hungries”. It’s basically just another name for zombies. Unthinking bodies that used to be human, but now think about nothing but feeding. And they have an overwhelming urge to feed on other people (and in turn infecting them). Their sole purpose becomes feeding, hence the name hungries.
The crew for Rosie (the nickname they have given their armored mobile lab) is quite diverse in personalities, which always makes for a more entertaining read. Dr. Rina Kahn is accompanied by her assistant Stephen Greaves. I don’t think Stephen is ever labeled autistic, but he clearly exhibits many of the traits often associated with autism, and other crew members refer to him as The Robot at times. But I enjoyed his perspective which gave insight into his thinking and really humanized him in way that may not be as evident from another person’s perspective. Stephen is also incredibly intelligent, developing the e-blocker that prevents hungries from smelling humans, giving the scientists a much needed layer of protection while doing their work.
And I hate to go into the plot too much with this one, particularly with as vague as the publisher kept their info on it. I will just say I enjoyed the blend of science and crew dynamics as well as the excitement and terror of the threats facing the team. I also enjoyed the level of hope they had that they could turn things around and find a cure. Did I love it quite as much as The Girl with All the Gifts? Well, maybe not, but that was an incredibly high bar for a book and when it comes down to it, I think the discoveries about the world in The Girl with All the Gifts is one aspect that edges that book a bit higher. That’s hard to replicate within the same world, so I can’t fault the second book. When it comes down to it, this was another fun and exciting book from Carey.
Audiobook Note: This book lends itself very well to narration. It is easy to follow names and events, and the pace is great. I felt the narrator, Finty Williams, did the story justice.