By Linus Chunn
In the dystopian genre works are often full of unrealistic, cliché moments, and unoriginal content. Michael James Carey’s “The Girl With All The Gift” is a logical, realistic and heartbreaking novel.
However, Carey’s “The Girl With All The Gifts” manages to stand out and create its own combination of dystopian, horror, and survival transforming a genre from being predictable and bland into a dark, gritty, and brutal tale regarding the ethics of scientific advancements, the meaning of innocence, and the strength of trust. The story provides heart wrenching twists and unpredictable turns leaving readers in moments of dread, empathy, and awe.
The story is based in a dystopian future where a spore named Ophiocordyceps unilateralis infects and kills off the majority of society by turning those infected into flesh-hungry mindless monsters, Hungries.
One of the few remaining bases, Hotel Echo, is a high security base located in the outskirts of London where the Hungry children are either dissected or educated to be more humanlike.
Before long, the base is attacked by Junkers, one of the few factions of non-infected humans. Together, a group of four uninfected humans escapes the fallen base with Melanie, one of the Hungries, hoping to survive the journey of traveling to base Beacon.
While on the way the group faces multiple obstacles, deadly situations, and encounters with many horrific monsters.
The book has the suspense, mystery, emotions, and real science that most other works of the dystopian genre would lack.Other books keep the story quick paced, disregarding plot and character development, relying only on action. “The Girl With All The Gifts” takes the time to develop the plot and character while building upon the dread and intensity using logic and science to diminish hope until hopelessness feels hopeful.
Within the story, Carey also draws comparison between Melanie and the humans, posing the moral question of whether treating her as an animal is correct when she is only a child and whether killing the hungries is justified.With Melanie as the main character, the author does not exploit this and make it into another generic book about a girl in distress. Instead, the au-
thor uses Melanie’s condition to give her the aggression of a monster but he also makes her part human, which makes the reader think about the factors that make humans civil.
“Crossover horror at its best,” Torie Bosch, of Slate an online magazine stated, “it’s a welcome shift from the focus of many zombie stories […] ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ turns eating brains from the usual empty-calorie snack into a full, complex, palate-challenging meal.”
I can only hope that the 2016 film adaptation of the novel lives up to the book’s greatness.