Book Review: “The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey

“The horror of the unknown is more frightening than any horror you can understand.”

Hardcover edition; Orbit, 2014. 416 pages.

Hardcover edition; Orbit, 2014.
416 pages.

One thing you should know about me that I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog yet is that I’m fairly squeamish. For the most part, I’d rather watch any other type of movie besides a horror movie. I cannot stand the sight of someone vomiting whether on film or in person. I can’t even watch certain scenes of shows like Grey’s Anatomy if they’re particularly bloody. So why was I desperate to read this book, which was confirmed to be extremely terrifying and gory? Well… I can’t tell you without giving anything away, but I knew from reading a couple of reviews (some of them a bit spoilery) that I was going to love this. There are specific niches within the horror genre that I will always go for, but I don’t want to say what type without revealing more, and for this book it’s best to approach it with a blank slate. But you should check out the description from Goodreads, which is what initially drew me in:

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 Parks 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.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

By looking at a horrific situation through the lens of a brilliant, gifted (you will see very early on exactly how gifted) child, M.R. Carey makes it possible for readers to feel such a huge range of emotions despite being totally grossed out by many of the scenes herein. I CRIED at the end of this book. In addition to the obvious gore that comes with a horror novel, there are truths in The Girl With All the Gifts about love, friendship, and family. None of the violence is gratuitous; the science behind what unfolds is incredibly believable; the characters are so well-developed for this type of book that the focus is perfectly balanced between them and the plot. Carey is an amazing writer and gives away exactly enough information at the right time to maintain the intrigue and build up to each next horrifying scene. I’m deliberately being vague about everything that goes on because it will be SO much better if you go in blind. This was undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read in “my” sub-genre of horror that I enjoy and I gave it an enthusiastic 5 stars.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey

  1. Loved this book and I agree. Best to approach it knowing nothing! I thought it was like an Ender’s Game type plot but was so pleasantly surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just started reading this because I found out Goodreads has a sample of it. I’m only a couple chapters in and it’s really intriguing! Once I get to the end of the sample I’m probably going to have to go out and buy the book so I can finish it!

    Liked by 1 person

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