Author Mike Carey is best known for his hardboiled, bestselling, noir-flavored Felix Castor series of supernatural thriller novels. Now, he’s back with something that’s such a departure from his Castor series that he’s released it under a pen name: M.R. Carey.
The Girl With All the Gifts opens in Britain about a decade after a zombie apocalypse left small numbers of humans hiding from the undead.
Military excursions into zombie-infested turf begin finding normal-looking children who can speak, learn, and think, but are nevertheless infected …Rounded up into a lockdown boarding school, the infected kids live in individual cells, leaving only for weekly shower-and-grub sessions …and for class, where they are strapped and locked into chairs. It is there that we meet Melanie, the girl with all the gifts, who excels in the classroom and who has a macabre sense of humor: When two handlers come to load her into a chair—one points a gun at her while the other secures her—she jokes, “Don’t worry, I won’t bite.” They don’t laugh, because a single whiff of human is all it takes to whip the gentle-seeming girl into a feeding frenzy that she cannot control.
The Girl With All the Gifts is crossover horror at its best: a book that can appeal to readers like me who are interested in the altered social dynamics of a collapsed society, but who are inclined to skim over lengthy descriptions of dull, gory battles.