I’d heard recommendations from multiple sources for The Girl With All The Gifts along with the advice to go into it knowing nothing. I’d echo that advice. This book is one you should really read without finding out any more. I’m giving it five stars (the first fiction book to get that on this blog), so if you just want a copy, ignore the text below and scroll to the bottom of the page to grab one.
The Girl With All the Gifts gives us a view into a world unlike our own. I want to keep this review as vague as possible, so as not to spoil it. From the book description:
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”
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.
It’s the mystery that had me whipping through the pages at the start of the book. I wondered why Melanie was being confined like that. Why they were treating her as if she was dangerous. That leads into another mystery I won’t reveal here. However, those mysteries give way to a character study and exploration of a unique world later in the book.
The book is told in the present-tense from a godlike perspective, with five main characters. In other words, we can constantly see what every character thinks about something in a scene. The tense choice and perspective gave it an analytical flavour that I wasn’t a big fan of. We never get all that close to the characters because of it. However, the story itself is strong enough that it pulled me through regardless.
I found the middle was a little slow, but I persevered and the last 100 pages picked up a lot. By the end, I was racing through the pages again.
This book is very difficult to review, as everything about it is a spoiler. Since the initial mystery is so intriguing and sets up the rest of the story, I can’t really describe it all that much. So instead, I’ll tell you that it’s bleak. There aren’t a lot of laughs in the book. It’s a story that takes itself seriously and doesn’t shy away from death and destruction. It’s also a classic that I could easily see being taught in schools. It has deeper themes and thoughts than most books. Perhaps a possible comparison is Farenheit 451.
Overall, I give The Girl With All The Gifts 5/5 stars. That’s the first 5/5 rating for a fiction book on this blog. I’d highly recommend reading it, the sooner the better.
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