I first heard about this book when I read it was one of the most anticipated book-to-movie adaptations of 2016 and promptly ordered a copy.
Not because it was being made into a film - even though this was the reason the book came to my attention - but because it was to do with zombies, of course.
Better yet, reading up about it, it soon transpired that it was a unique take on the zombie apocalypse in that it wasn't necessarily about a bunch of citizens trying to survive the apocalypse - instead, it mostly focused around a young 'zombie' girl who is also a somewhat functioning human, set a good 20 or so years after the world has gone to sh*t.
The blurb reads -
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.
The first thing I liked about this book was the character's chance of survival - seemingly. Being that the small group is made up of two soldiers and a scientist - and, of course, Melanie - you feel like they've got a good chance. It's realistic too - this isn't just a civilisation who just happens to stumble across someone with guns that can protect them, so the setting of being in a research base is both realistic but refreshing.
Obviously the most refreshing part is the fact that the story is about Melanie and mostly told from her point of view. The zombie genre is still as popular as ever, so people are currently looking at new ways to tell its story.
Although a story from a zombie's point of view isn't entirely new, this one in particular is different and enticing.
The characters were intriguing, also.
I liked how some of the main characters weren't so likeable, though we still got the chance to hear things from their point of view and I found myself not agreeing with them but, at the very least, understanding them and why they are the way they are.
Even though I knew from the offset that Melanie was not normal, she was the character I emphasized the most, which means this novel is pretty powerful to get people to feel that way about a zombie.
I also, naturally, really liked the character of Miss Justineau. Even though she was there to do a job, she was one of the most human characters of the book and I liked that she was more about emotion than facts.
I can imagine that should the zombie apocalypse ever happen, it would be a rarity to find someone with that quality.
“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”
It's a heavy read. I certainly had to put it down and come back to it a few times and although it draws you in quickly, the first quarter of the book is a slow burner.
But the story quickly gains its pace and it wasn't long before it turned into a real page turner.
The end I won't say too much about - but it's believable and realistic, without being a total down pour. It's one of those books which you read, entirely expecting to not be entirely satisfied by the ending because you know whatever happens, it's not going to be good and you're not going to get your happy ending.
But The Girl with All the gifts is satisfying in its own unique way.