Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Posted September 8, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 4 Comments

The Girl with All the Gifts

by M.R. Carey

The Girl with All the Gifts

Expected Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Length:460 pages
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion.
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the story morning glory


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 is a very special girl.

Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.


I knew virtually nothing when I requested The Girl with All the Gifts, and then reviews started coming in and mentioning zombies. If I had known that, I would have never requested The Girl with All the Gifts, because I consider zombies the most boring, bland, and gross(but not in an interesting way) supernatural creatures. I’ve managed to finish ONE zombie book before this, and that was only because the zombies were pretty much in the background. So the fact I finished The Girl with All the Gifts is a compliment in and of itself. Ultimately, while I kept going with the story and thought it decent, it didn’t utterly hook me or leave me reeling.

The girl in question in The Girl with All the Gifts is Melanie. Like the other children who live in the same compound she does, she’s wheeled in and out of a cell each morning, completely strapped down, into a classroom. The world-building is set up quickly and is greatly detailed, but it becomes clear that not all is as it seems in Melanie’s world. I’m hesitant to talk too much about the plot with The Girl with All the Gifts because it’s a spoiler minefield, so I’ll try to review it in more abstract terms than I normally would.

The Girl with All the Gifts becomes about a journey–both physical and philosophical– not just for Melanie, but for four other characters as well, including a scientist, a teacher, a military leader, and a new military recruit. I refer to them by their position and not their name mostly because I found them fairly forgettable as characters, since they played into those stock roles quite often. Some become more developed than others, but I was left feeling vaguely frustrated with overall characterization. There were some characters–like Melanie and the military leader–that were really well-written. Their characters just kept deepening over the course of the novel. And then others, like the scientist, never got the same treatment.

I learned that the Girl with All the Gifts was realized by a comic writer/screenwriter, and I think it totally shows, because the visual writing, descriptions, and pacing were the strengths of the book. Even when I wasn’t fully invested emotionally in the plot, The Girl with All the Gifts kept me engaged, and raised some pretty interesting questions. While it didn’t manage to convert me into a zombie fan, I liked the new approach.


I didn’t love The Girl with All the Gifts, but even as a zombie-hater, I have to give it credit for keeping me reading and managing to do something new with a creature I consider some of the most boring. I would have liked deeper characterization for some of the characters, but I understand why it’s been a loved book so far this year. 3/5 cupcakes.




3 Stars

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4 responses to “Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

  1. Stormy

    I think if I liked this book, people who are more prone to zombies will DEFINITELY enjoy it. It’s very detailed and intelligent, which I appreciated.

  2. I think I have a higher tolerance for zombie books than you do (although some of them are beyond dumb!), so I’ve actually been looking forward to this book. Good to know that even a zombie-hater thought it was pretty good. 🙂 Great review!

  3. I have this on hold at the library. I LOVE zombie books, so I’m really looking forward to this book. But, I think zombies are one of those things that you’ll either love or absolutely hate 😛

    • Stormy

      I think so too–most people I know love zombie stories! And when this book was first being talked about, the zombie detail was pretty much under wraps(that’s out now, though. And they don’t ever call them zombies from what I remember, but that’s definitely the type of creature).

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