I love post apocalypse fiction. Give me a breakdown of society and roving bands of raiders and I am a happy girl. There are certain standouts in the genre though: The Stand, World War Z (the book, not that godawful movie) and now, The Girl With All the Gifts. Zombie apocalypse fiction has flooded what used to be a niche market in recent years with the popularity of The Walking Dead. M.R. Carey manages to contribute a unique offering to a style that can easily become reliant on gore and stale tropes.
The story focuses mainly on the relationship between a gifted young girl named Melanie and her teacher, Miss Justineau. I’m reluctant to say much beyond that for fear of spoilers but I think most readers will figure out what the score is pretty quickly. Melanie and Mrs. Justineau live at a military which has been turned into a research facility. Things go pear shaped as they often do and again, I’m hesitant to say much more about what happens next. And while there are certainly some familiar characters e.g. the hardened military man and the cold scientist, none of them are one-note stereotypes. And the end while not presented in Usual Suspects-style fwisty fashion, was not one that I saw coming.
If you like zombie fiction, smart horror, strong female characters or just a damn good story, you should definitely pick up The Girl With All The Gifts for your Halloween reading.