Here is the summary of the book:
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 Parks 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 loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
M. R. Carey has presented in all of its splendor, a sure footed tale in this particular genre. For all of its intents & purposes the synopsis keeps its secrets close to the vests. But then you see so many big names giving this book, their thumbs-up that you can't help but see what the fuss is all about contained behind its minimalistic yellow front cover that had awed them so. And my my my .... doesn't it floor you with its simplicity, completely and ingenious wordplay.
Well it came out a year early, so it is safe to say that the cat is out of the bag. This is a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller. As I already stated neither the plot nor the gene can be guessed at first, it cleverly creeps up on you as you advance through the chapters, through the eyes of the little girl Melanie. 10 year old and living by a routine. Exceptionally clever, she watches anything and everything. Everyday she takes classes with her mates and enjoys her favorite teacher Miss Justineau's classes the best. Normal isn't it but what not quite normal is that she is taken o her classes strapped to a wheelchair with guns trained on her head from her cell.
There is the Sergent Parks and his men, the other kids, the creepy Dr. Caldwell and that chemical smell .... always that chemical smell. And sometimes her friends are taken away, never to be seen again. The Girl with All the Gifts, shows us a world in its bare dredges. Humans are pretty much extinct with pockets of survivors here and there, living within enclosed spaces and the remaining half turned to Junkers, scavenging for supplies and living the wild way. There is a bacteria attacking the populace at large and no one is safe. Zombies or Hungries are what they become and it is definitely not a pretty sight at all.
It may seem slow at the beginning but Carey's fluid wordplay and vivid imagination strikes through as little by little of his end of the world diarama comes to light through the mind of 10 year old Melanie, who can't keep her curiosity at bay or her biting jokes. What strikes about this tale is that Carey pretty much keeps the narrative realistic and most of all scientific. Pretty much every dystopian tale has a miracle cure to heal the world at the end but not here.
There is a lot of biological background here which just serves to strengthen the story. The author as biology would most probably state, looks to Evolution as the crux of the issue. Of course action and battles can be found aplenty here, so yes there is something for everyone in it. A solid piece of literature and a strong addition to the genre. A definite tricky one to review but I hope I was able to do it justice.
"Vivid and engaging"