The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R Carey

MRCarey-Girl with all the GiftsA phenomenal entry into the zombie apocalypse genre, M.R Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts is a book for the ages. Carey brings to life a world which is so believable yet foreign; a fact which works wonderfully against the backdrop of the United Kingdom. The story line is masterfully intriguing and puzzling, making the reader stay at the edge of their seats.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant 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 is a very special girl.

Carey’s storytelling ability is one of the best I have seen in a while. Each feeling that the characters experience is infused into the narrative, making the reader also feel it. This is best exemplified in the opening chapters which give a trapped yet curious feeling. Like the characters, we have a certain amount of sympathy and denial over what they have to face. Carey employs perspective switch well, putting us into the thoughts of the full ensemble. This only increases the knowledge of who each character is and how they feel.

The story wouldn’t be the same without the ensemble cast of five. At the core is Melanie, a young girl who is as precocious and smart as any other. Melanie is so interesting because her circumstances are so unusual. We learn quickly that while she goes to class every day, she does so after being strapped to a wheelchair by a soldier. She doesn’t get a lunch in the cafeteria but instead has a weekly meal of grubs given to her. The great thing about this is that we have an inkling why but like Melanie herself, we want to judge on her actions rather than her circumstances. The other characters are no less interesting and we get to learn how they were before and after the apocalypse. There’s the scientist who is dedicated to finding a cure, the rookie soldier who ran away from a pregnant girlfriend, the sergeant in charge of the military side, and Melanie’s teacher. Carey makes some great plot decisions and evolves each of the characters amidst chaos.

To give away anymore of the plot would rob you of the amazing reading experience that is The Girl With All the Gifts. As someone who loves the zombie apocalypse subgenre, this novel has quickly become one of my favorites. I can imagine even newcomers to the subgenre enjoying it as long as they’re not afraid of zombies. With great storytelling, interesting characters, and plot which pushes and pulls towards an unforgettable ending, this book is a must read.

About Natassia 143 Articles
I am a performer by trade and have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My bookshelves are full of many genres but I have a love of fantasy, SciFi and steampunk which have only spurred my performing dreams to help one of these fabulous worlds come to life. I tend to read books with a lot of edge and grit; if it's got zombies, space battles or fantastical steam inventions, I'm in. When I'm not reading or off making my own adventures, I can be caught watching movies of every era, gaming, and being scandalously political like any good steampunk heroine.


  1. I’ve heard this book can turn around even those who don’t typically like zombie stuff.

    Me, I wanted to read it. Then I found out if had zombies and my zombie phobia kicked and I decided that no way, definitely not for me. Then after reading a really detailed review, I started to wonder if reading this might not actually be somewhat therapeutic for me, forcing me to confront my phobia in a way that actually pertains to some of the issues I’ve been struggling with. I do, once again, want to read it, but I’m thinking that I’ll wait until I’m not living alone to do so, just in case the phobia gets the better of me.

    • I think it is a great book to turn those who are afraid of zombies but I will point out two things. If zombies are a big fear, I’d suggest not reading it alone. In addition, children are a huge factor in this book. It may make you look at them twice too.

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