The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

This is a zombie novel. I do love a post-apocalyptic futuristic story but I am usually fairly indifferent to zombies. I would say that this is different because the writer goes some way to explaining what has caused the zombification of the world’s population, and, towards the end of the book, making a prediction on the state of the planet going forwards.

I read it because I heard about the film adaptation being made of the novel, with a similar but somehow kind of missing the point name, She Who Brings Gifts. The protagonist in this novel is interested in Greek myths, and Pandora was a girl with all the gifts, even though they may not have turned out to be the kind of gifts you might want. Our young hero and protagonist, Melanie, also has many (some dubious) gifts.

So, in a not-too-distant futuristic England, humanity has been infected by a fungus that turns us into zombies. They are the running kind, not the slow, trudging not-very-scary kind that we usually see on TV. There are a few humans left, in secure military bases, and some children that appear to be part zombie (or “hungry” as they are called in the book) and part human, because they can communicate, reason and learn. But they can’t be trusted not to bite a human if one gets too close. The humans are doing what we often think is quite reasonable to do to other species; keeping them in cages and doing tests on them.

It would be a spoiler to go any further in any great detail. As with all good stories, there is conflict, a few zombie chases, lots of killings, close calls, exciting scenes, blood, guts, gore and quite a lot of fungus. And lots of science bits for those who like them. I highly recommend the novel and I cannot wait to see the film (not least because part of it is filmed in my hometown).

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