I work as an Editorial Project Manager at Newgen UK for the Pearson team, managing production from manuscript to final release, working with freelancers and ensuring quality. I live in the South West and when I’m not out walking at the beach or in the countryside, I am normally either gaming or reading.
I suggested the sci-fi dystopia The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey for the November NUK book club. Dystopian fiction is generally my favourite genre and as this one has been on my TBR pile for quite some time I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally pick it up.
The book centres around a young girl, Melanie, living in a post-apocalyptic Britain infested with ‘hungries’ – this book’s particular moniker for zombies. It quickly becomes clear to the reader that Melanie is not a normal child and is being kept on a research/military base with her behaviours closely monitored and controlled. The empathy of one of her teachers leads Melanie on a path that sees her leaving the base and finding out what has become of the world.
The book is quite a quick read, avoiding overly-flowery language and instead keeping a fast-paced plot that it’s easy to get caught up in. There are some pretty graphic descriptions of gore in parts, which may be uncomfortable for some readers, but as comic-book style gore is a staple of zombie fiction this helps the book feel right at home in the genre. Though this book isn’t really pushing any boundaries in terms of character roles or landscape, it’s an enjoyable dive into a classic dystopian style.
Despite not being literary or pretentious, the story still poses certain philosophical thoughts to the reader, concerning the validity of survival for the sake of survival, the importance of your own personal moral compass, and whether your own sense of right or wrong should ever overrule ‘the greater good’. Reminiscent in some ways to I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, I really enjoyed this book as, though it fits very snugly into the zombie genre, it feels fresh and engaging. I will certainly be reading the sequel.