Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

Maybe it's just me, but the whole zombie thing is really wearing me out. I'm still reading (not watching) The Walking Dead, but the idea if the World War Z movie or another zombie book or comic is frankly tiring. Thus, when it became evident early that The Girl With All The Gifts was in the same universe as so much zombie fiction right now, I probably would have thrown my hands up in frustration if the book wasn't so good.

The basic setting is not the most original thing in the world, with the United Kingdom in a post-apocalyptic state after the "hungries" have effectively taken over. Yes, they're zombies, I just don't think the word is ever used. The story starts out in a holding area of some sort, however, with a bunch of children in a school. They're constantly restrained because they want to bite and lash out, but still capable of learning and thought and such, and they even have future plans, all of which really upsets one of their teachers. The real secret comes later, and it upends both everyone's understanding of the crisis and raises some overall questions about humanity as well.

The book comes with a very simple premise, and the first quarter of the book ends up being some of the best I've read recently. The reveals are spaced out perfectly, the setting is not too detailed without feeling like anything is left out, and the overall trajectory of the story is great. It's extremely well-written with very few flaws, except for maybe the shift in overall plot if you were expecting the beginning to be like the end. I have no complaints.

What's also interesting is that the author is a pen name for comics author Mike Carey, best known as of late for the amazing Unwritten. While Unwritten (along with some of his Fantastic Four efforts) comes across as convoluted at times, this book is rock solid in terms of where it's going and what it's doing. A great read.

The Girl With All The Gifts comes out next week. Definitely worth your time.

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