Book Review Wednesday: The Girl with All the Gifts (4 stars)

Posted: July 29, 2015 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , ,

The most common complaint I’ve heard about this book is people going into it expecting a little girl with some kind of superpowers. To be fair, the description is a little vague:

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.

Don’t think superpowers. Minor spoiler in brackets: (zombies).

It’s not that big a spoiler. The author lays on the hints thick pretty early. I twigged from the description (there is a hint in there if you look).

My favorite part of this book has to be the science. Many people have tried sciencing this condition before, but this author comes at it from an angle I haven’t seen before. Fungus. It was very interesting. Also very disturbing since the pov we get most of the science information from is a very nasty lady. Very very nasty. Do not like at all.

Our other povs are Melanie herself, her teacher Miss Justineau, a soldier Sergeant Parks who at first I hated, then he grew on me, and a younger soldier. I kind of wonder whether it would’ve been better with fewer povs. It worked as it is, but the structure seemed a bit odd. At first we have Melanie’s pov, and then a little from evil science lady, and then it’s like all the other povs just dropped in together. If they’d been spaced out better it would’ve seemed a bit less clunky.

Aside from sudden Pov overload, the story flowed well. Nice pacing which made for a thrilling read. Definitely a ‘must turn page to find out what happens next’ kind of book.

No sooner do we start to know our way around Melanie’s small world, than everything explodes. We find ourselves travelling across the desolate Britain, avoiding wild humans ‘Junkers’ and the infected ‘Hungries’ who earn their name.

The characters develop well. Melanie grows up fast in this new world. Her teacher finds her backbone and learns to stand up for what she believes. Other characters I started off hating, and ending up loving. Not evil science lady though. I hated her until the end, but by the end I understood why she believed so strongly in what she was doing. I even felt the teeny tinniest bit sorry for her.

The author remembers well that every villain is the hero in their own story. I rarely see that crafted so well into the characters. Here we have only heroes, each with their own agendas. Some of those agendas cross and make conflict. Others start off crossed and line up through the course of the story.

There’s this interesting theme of morality running through the book. Which course is the right one to take? What sacrifice is worth the goal you have in mind? It results in an ending that some people were mad about. And sure, it wasn’t the ending you might expect, but I think it fit the book well.

Good plot, great characters (with awesome development and lots of work put into motivations), edge of your seat pacing, fascinating world, good writing. Four stars. It would’ve been five, but there’s something about that pov onslaught at the beginning that unsettled me. Good book overall.

One warning. While this is a good book, it’s not a happy one. So don’t expect sunshine and rainbows.

For more reviews about this book go to:



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