This isn’t exactly a sequel, but takes place at roughly the same time and in the same world as the phenomenal The Girl With All the Gifts. A terrible fungus has been released on the world, turning all who are exposed into “hungries” – basically zombies. The survivors have banded together, and a crew of scientists and soldiers sets out into the post-apocalyptic mayhem to gather samples, reconnoiter, and look for a solution.
We follow this crew on their journey: a pregnant scientist (Rina Khan), the teenage boy science genius (Stephen) she’s taken under her wing, a military commander, a spineless doofus who attempts to be the civilian commander, and a miscellaneous collection of other scientists and soldiers. Naturally, people can’t play nice with each other even when they might be the last humans left on earth, so there’s drama within the crew, as well as a power struggle back at home base that threatens to divide our heroes.
Stephen falls into the “magical mental illness” trap a little bit – he’s either severely traumatized or has autism; nobody cares about diagnoses post-apocalypse – but by the end of the book, it makes sense why he was written that way. As Melanie was the lynchpin in Girl With All the Gifts, this book could not have happened without Stephen. His encounter with the Children changes everything science knows about the hungries, and opens up possibilities for treatment and even a cure…but at what cost?