Warning: Some minor spoilers ahead.
It’s not too often that I read horror fiction, or even, for that matter, post-apocalyptic fiction, or zombie stories. But I had heard so many good things about The Girl with all the Gifts that I decided to go for a quick read.
I’m glad I did.
The book opens up with what seems to be an ordinary scene, but the more the scenes develop, the more you realize there is something incredibly wrong.
I loved the simple prose of the story. It tells a zombie survival story from the perspective of a few characters. Some are obvious at first glance: the grizzled veteran, the scientist willing to go to any ends to solve a puzzle, a classroom teacher, and a small girl.
But what made this book a winner for me was that these characters get fleshed out beautifully through the story. No one is exactly what they seem, and every character has levels of depth to them that is brought out in ways sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic.
Horror works when we care about the characters, and that’s very true of this book. We are given time with each of them, connecting to them and learning more about them. This isn’t a slaughter-fest, at least not of the main characters. Instead, the tension builds gradually through the scenes, with a satisfying payoff in the end.
It’s not often that I give books five stars in my Goodreads account. I try not to too often, not because I don’t think books are good, but because I want to save the highest ratings for only the very best books. I would say something like 80-90 percent of my reading is rated at four stars.
The Girl with all the Gifts got five from me.