Malin’s review of The Girl with all the Gifts inspired me to read it (as with many of the books from my CBR this year, because you all write such intriguing reviews). I was not disappointed by the suggestion of this book, it was such a fresh and inventive book that I think will stick with me for a bit. It was horror in the lightest sense of the word, most of the horror has already occurred…and then again, much of the horror is only just beginning in this novel.
We begin the book by meeting Melanie, a young girl who is held against her will in an army compound with other children. The one they refer to as “our little genius”. Melanie is beautiful, intelligent and extremely attuned to her teachers’ emotions and behaviors. These children are being taught by several different teachers, observed by doctors and scientists and kept separated in different cells and are constantly bound and restrained as if they are something to be feared. Slowly, the reader learns more, and it complicates how Melanie is seen and treated greatly. Things get even more complicated when the base is infiltrated and Melanie, her favorite teacher, a scientist and two soldiers must work together to stay alive.
The only weak part of the book is the fact that Sergeant Parks, Private Gallagher and Doctor Caldwell are only slightly fleshed out. We’ve got the gruff, yet brilliant tactician, the bumbling private who is out of his league and is floundering and the “mad” scientist who is willing to sacrifice everyone and everything for SCIENCE (which may be a true characterization, but it seemed a little one dimensional). However, that said, the characterization of both Melanie and her beloved teacher Miss Justineau is so wonderful, along with the plot and the ideas within the plot that I think you’re going to be ok with that flaw, just as I was.
Without going any further into the plot, because I want you to discover everything just as I did, pick up this book. I absolutely love, love, loved it and I loved how Melanie identified with Pandora from Greek mythology–it was such an apt comparison and made her character and her choices even stronger as the story continued. Taking a typical (and perhaps tired) trope and completely turning it on its head and writing a fresh and wonderful cross genre piece, M. R. Carey created a cool concept that fires on all levels–action, horror, emotional, cerebral. I’ve read that this will be a movie soon, I look forward to seeing it (and hoping that it translates well) on the big screen.