Book 16 in the doomed to fail challenge, also known as the #100booksin2019 challenge was Girl with all the Gifts by M.R Carey.A film based on this book came out a couple of years ago I believe and I loved it, so when I realised there was a book it got added to my amazon wish list, where it sat until a few months ago!

The film is actually surprisingly similar to the book but the book is so much more intense because, for the most part, it’s told from Melanie’s perspective. She’s just a little girl, she doesn’t know she’s infected with a virus that ended the world, so she processes their bizarre clinical surroundings like any 12 year for whom that life is all she’s ever known. She has her favourite books, her favourite teacher and the guard that’s mean to her.

As you read it, she slowly discovers what she is when the base becomes overrun and she’s exposed to things that the lab environment hid, like the way other humans smell and the urges this creates. Melanie also slowly comes to realise what was happening at the place she thinks of as home, slowly coming to terms with wrongness of it because it was done to them on the presumption that they do not really think and feel but rather, that the virus is mimicking these traits for survival; it’s how all the adults within the book assuage their guilt. All except Miss Justinuea, who becomes Melanie’s protector as soon as she realises she can no longer pretend that what the kids think and feel is anything less than humanity.

It’s such an awesome sci-fi/ fantasy book but it’s so layered. All the characters have such depth and all this is told against the backdrop of tension as they try to move to a place of safety without being eaten. (Spoilers alert!) When Melanie learns from Doctor Caldwell that there is no cure but that kids like her were bred from infected adults; she realising that there can be a new generation, well, a new species of human. Kids like her who are immune to the disease and so can help rebuild the world but first she must set off a chain reaction to force the fungus airborne and kill the rest of the remaining people.

All in all, absolutely worth a read and the paperback version of the book is really quite cheap on Amazon, so get buying!


As always here is the Goodreads plot summary

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