Honestly, I kind of spoiled myself for The Girl with All The Gifts to find out what was going on before I started this highly hyped summer sci-fi novel. Around its debut, it was pretty much impossible to go on any geek-friendly websites and NOT find something touting this book, which of course led me to pick up a copy before I went on my road trip/vacation around the northeast US. I knew vaguely what I was getting into, but wait – the synopsis you’ve read only covers like 20 pages before the story truly sets out and morphs into this amazing, consuming, dramatic, and action-filled story about the zombie apocalypse and one little girl that has something strange about her…
And with what I just said in mind, talking much about the novel beyond the synopsis delves into spoiler territory, but I think there are a few details that you, a potential reader, might like to know before you go and pick up a copy. Because obviously that’s what you should do. Trust me on this one. Have I ever led you astray? Well, probably, I did enjoy Modelland in a morbid way, but that’s beside the point.
There will be minor spoilers from here on out, but nothing more than you can glean from the majority of reviews.
The Girl With All The Gifts might be one of the most interesting takes on the zombie genre I’ve ever read. On Goodreads, the fact this is sort of a zombie novel is spoiled by the genres listing, and it’s mostly accurate. We enter this post-apocalyptic world in a scientific outpost where a group of young children are being educated, except in this school, the students are restrained in chairs and kept in cells at night while guards point guns at them. As we delve deeper into this world, we begin to realize there is something very different about this otherwise normal seeming children. These children are the experiment as the world around them outside crumbles in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and these children are ostensibly the changed survivors.
From this point, the book devolves into an action-packed look at human survival, evolution, science, the greed for glory, and the will to survive at all costs. As humanity looks like it’s on its last legs, we watch our cast struggle and persevere, crossing a wasted landscape, fighting to live, struggling with mortality, and all the time, focusing on this one little girl that by all accounts should be dead, but instead has become the one last hope the group has for living to make it back to the last vestiges of humanity on the other side of Britain. As our band of survivors encounter scavengers, decayed towns, more zombified humans, and the terrifying reality of their situation, you’re drawn in and can’t help but sympathize with each character and their drives and desires. It’s a powerful, strong book that I can’t help but love, even if it did hurt me at times. Even now, it still hurts, but a good hurt.
This is a “read in as few sittings as possible” type of novel. It’s fast-paced, well-written, and wholly engrossing from the first page to the last. And speaking of the last page…
But the best part of the entire novel? Ladies and gentlemen, hold your hats for the twist ending, which will completely kick you in the ribs and laugh at you while you writhe on the floor. I will definitely not spoil it, but it’s one of the best endings I’ve read in the past few years, and it really made the novel.