'The Girl With All The Gifts' Review: Not Just Another Zombie Apocalypse Story

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey snagged my attention because of the film, which I enjoyed, and I decided I would try Audible with it. It was interesting, bringing back recollections of being read to as a child, and the narrator — Finty Williams — has an absolute lovely voice. Audible provided the files as broken up into two downloads, with easy chapter breaks, bookmarking, and the usual playback options most of you are familiar with from podcast or audio players. Unlike sight reading, it takes a bit longer, but the change of pace is a nice break from speed reading.

The story itself isn't new: Post-Zombie Apocalypse Survival Horror. Its the perspective and detail that makes it stand out: we get the inner workings of our main characters, views from a variety of different walks of life, and perhaps most importantly, the point of view of the Melanie — a girl whose singular upbringing, intelligence, and innocence combine to give one a somewhat wondrous view of the world. It is a breath of fresh air to read a point of view that isn't sassy and jaded, where the world is still a place of possibility and awe.

My favorite part of The Girl With All the Gifts is when Melanie writes a story, and uses the term "Friggin' Abortions" — using the phrase not in a sense of understanding its meaning, but picked up as she has heard it used in her limited experience: as a soldier's angry epithet for something one doesn't like. It really fit the character, her age, and how she processes things; and her lack of understanding of the profane usage of the phrase by those she'd encountered. It's the kind of thing kids write in stories all the time, not meaning to seem obscene, that can make an adult laugh. And I did laugh. The straight-laced way Finty narrated it added to the humor, and the whole scene was very well written.

In addition to the unique perspective, the twist at the end is lovely; it's something you won't see coming (unless you were like me and saw the film first), and added depths to the characters that the film version glossed over. The combination of tale and narrator for it in the audiobook really worked for me, and I would recommend it as an engaging listen for others.

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About Jessica Wagar

Abandoned by wolves, rescued by Comic Book People. Enjoys stories of monsters & horror, and urban fantasy. Artist, Writer, Moderator.

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