While checking the list of zombie books I have read over the years, I was shocked to learn that this list was much smaller that I realizes. So, I did what any sane person would do in the situation and read more zombie books. And that is how I ended up reading The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl With All the Gifts Summary
Humanity is on the brink of extinction because of a zombie outbreak. This zombie outbreak which took place twenty years ago, wiped out most of civilization and has led to a breakdown in society. All the cities have collapsed and humans are mostly living in bases, hiding behind fences.
A military base houses children that are zombies but different. They can think and act normal until a person comes near them. One of these zombie children is Melissa. She, along with other zombie children are bound and wheel-chaired to classroom where they are tied to the desk and taught about the world.
Their teacher Helen Justineau treats them more like people then zombies and thus she wins over their affection. Sergeant Eddie Park is in charge of the military base and of everyone’s safety. Head scientist Dr. Caroline Caldwell researches the fungus that is responsible for the zombie outbreak. She is also experiments on the children, killing them in the process.
One day, Melissa is chosen to be Caldwell’s next test subject. But before the doctor can experiment on her, the military base is invaded. A bunch of junkies (humans in the wild) lead the zombies to the base, which leads to the base being overrun by zombies.
A fight ensues and Justineau, Parks, Melissa, an injured Caldwell, and private Kieran Gallagher escape together in a truck. Melissa is bound because she is a half zombie and smelling people awakens her zombie urges.
As the group makes their way through the desert, they form a bond (not all of them) and come to trust each other enough to survive. But two big discoveries force the group to face an enemy that they cannot conquer easily.
Reading this novel and seeing a new take on zombies was refreshing. It is not an ideal zombie novel nor does it try to be. What we do have are various monsters and seeing what really defines a monster.
No matter where you stand on the zombie morality, you will be angry and sad when reading this book. It also determines what the outcome is and why it has to be that way. The characters in this novel were interesting and while they could be a little more detailed, it wasn’t something that I would complain much about.
I am still going to read a few more zombie novels before I make my list. Maybe even rank them in another piece. With that said, I would recommend this novel and its take on a common trope.