Friday, 26 December 2014

REVIEW || The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

Book Title: The Girl With All The Gifts
Author: M.R. Carey
Publisher: Orbit, June 19th, 2014
Source: Bought!
Format: Paperback, 403 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
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.
*Risk of (possible) very small spoiler ahead. Just in case.*

Without a doubt if you've picked up and read this book you were expecting a thriller and were presented with something entirely different. I was surprised to say the least, as I flicked through the pages and came to the realization that this was unlike anything I was expecting, and just as equally impressed – I don’t think you can read this and not come away with at least mutual respect for the author, even if you didn't like the book.

After the first few chapters it pretty much reveals itself as a zombie apocalypse novel, and an original one at that. One of my favourite elements of the book, and arguably one of the main things that makes the book so original, at least in my opinion, is the large extent of the scientific/technical elements that are weaved throughout the novel – most particularly noted in Caldwell’s chapters. As well as the rather stunning descriptions, along with Carey’s writing style, it almost seemed like prose – which I really enjoyed reading.

Furthermore, it is easy to say that the book has almost zero plot and yet it has ended up being one of my favourite books of this year, which I attribute to the writing and the original concepts. Unlike in most zombie apocalypse books where some part, some where in the book, feels taken from some other place – this feeling wasn't here at all, everything felt fresh and unique. Touching on the scientific elements again, I think that’s a big part of why I loved the book because it was grounded, real - the concept of things that were essentially “zombies” was explained and it sounded logical, hell I would believe it if it ran in a newspaper.

As with any book though, there are negative elements and there certainly were a few with this one, even if I did really love it. Something that really irritates me, strangely enough, is the fact that the book basically has zero plot. It is incredibly well written, that’s pretty indisputable, and I was riveted but with an ending that was less than satisfactory (but totally understandable! See why everything I've said in this review sounds so hypocritical? urgh), for me personally, it’s just a fact that sits at the back of my mind and sours the whole experience slightly.

Onto characters, again this is another element that was a negative for me, I didn't like a single character, not one – and whilst I can appreciate how real the author made characters such as Miss Justineau and Sergeant Parks, they just didn't do anything for me, they felt more like inconveniences distracting from the more interesting elements of what little plot was taking place. Then there’s Melanie, again I admire what the author has done with her character, she’s a fascinating ten year old, but as I've mentioned in a few previous reviews; it’s hard to get behind a book when you can’t even get behind the main character.

I still don’t know what I’m going to rate The Girl With All The Gifts – do my technical issues with it override the fact that I loved the book whilst reading it, and in spite of all the negative points can’t help but want to immerse myself in it again, and again? Maybe. Overall, The Girl With All The Gifts was a piece of literature that I loved, and whilst I have my bitterness with it being marketed a thriller when its something I view as completely different I won’t be denying the fact that I will recommend it to any and everyone I can. It’s a book you just want to talk about and dissect endlessly, which is a quality I very much admire in a novel.
*Just for clarification I'd like to point out that this is an Adult rather than YA novel!*

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