“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.”
The Girl with all the gifts focuses on the story of Melanie a thoughtful, intelligent and ballsy little girl and the unbalanced adults who influence her world. She lives in an underground, clinical army base set in the well worn and endlessly imagined post-zombie apocalypse world. The world she knows nothing about. each day she is retrained and lives in a cell with nothing but her own wonderful thoughts to keep her entertained for most of the time.
When I started reading it, I was convinced that I would be absorbing yet another clichéd shoot them in the head or they’ll eat your brain future. I was wrong.
The girl with all the gifts is not a survival guide, it’s not about the outbreak or how it happened nor is it about the world as it is now. Of course, all these ideas feature when necessary but this is a story ultimately about friendship, trust, and love. Don’t get me wrong there are copious amounts of gore and hostility, heart-stopping chases and ethical conundrums throughout, but it’s the intense and potentially heartbreaking relationships between the characters which allow the story to keep you firmly in its grip.
The ending as ever will probably divide the readers. I saw it as a hopeful triumph but it’s one of those ambiguous endings which leave you wishing the was just one more chapter, in which the characters wander into a more definitively rosy sunset. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the girl with all the gifts, it made me uncomfortable, it made me laugh and at one point it almost made me cry.
If you want a super gory, zombie gun fest you may be disappointed. If you are looking for an emotionally fuelled thriller then you won’t.