Welcome to our third weekly feature of “What I read this week”, and aren’t we all impressed that we’re keeping it up? So far…

This week I read quite a few books (see: unemployed) so it was difficult to choose just one for the review. However, after ruminating and cogitating I decided to opt for a short natter on “The Girl with all the Gifts” (henceforth known as TGWATG) and reserve the others for when I can’t be arsed with reading/find gainful employment – a sort of spec-fic wank-bank if you will.

TGWATG is an action-packed, fast-paced horror/thriller. Written by Mike Carey (famed for Hellblazer, X-Men…etc, etc, a biographical comic of Ozzy Osbourne and a comic book Pantera fantasy (?!)…) the story revolves around four central characters; Melanie, a young and gifted girl living in an underground military bunker, her teacher Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and Caroline Caldwell, a scientist obsessed with finding a cure to the disease that has destroyed much of England.

Melanie is presented as a sweet girl living in bleak circumstances who looks up to, and loves, the character Miss Justineau because of the kindness and humanity she shows her. As the novel progresses, Carey slowly reveals aspects of Melanie’s, and the other characters, pasts leading to a great unmasking. This twist is what makes the novel a great read as it provides a way for Carey to add some originality to an otherwise “done to death” genre.

According to the afterword, the idea behind the novel originally came from a film “pitch”. This is something that becomes fairly obvious, particularly in the second half, and did occasionally lead to a slight level of Hollywood-esque predictability. However, the characters and plot-twist are engaging and well-formed enough to carry it off without it slumping into a well trodden path.

I would recommend this to fans of apocalyptic fiction, horror or thrillers but be warned! One of the best things about this novel is the massive plot-twist so steer clear of any reviews containing spoilers, the publishers did a great job of hiding the novel’s true genre and it seems a shame to wantonly ruin that lovey WTF moment we all know and love so well.

Check out the trailer below and as ever, let us know what you thought of the book!

What I read this week… “The Girl with all the Gifts” by M. R. Carey

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