Review of The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl with All the GiftsThe Girl With All the Gifts
By: M.R. Carey
Release Date: June 19th 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

This book is classified as adult fiction, and for good reason.

I read TGwAtG with my good friend Pili from In Love with Handmade. It was an absolute pleasure to read along with her. I highly recommend that you read this with a friend. We chose to do 10 chapters a day and it was perfect.

My Rating:

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

My Thoughts:
As you can tell by the incredibly vague summary you are meant to go into this book not knowing what you’re in for. I knew a tiny bit before reading this myself and it didn’t negatively impact me but I would agree that if you want to read a thought provoking book that has gruesome descriptions and some amazing horror scenes then you will most likely love this book. Read no further, get yourself to the bookstore and purchase this book.

If you are a little intimidated by what you’ll be getting into then I’ll be letting you know some details that will obviously be sort of spoiler-ish.

Again–I will be letting you in to some significant plot points below. Proceed at your own risk!


Are you still with me?


The Girl With All the Gifts was an incredibly well done book that walked the line between thought provoking content and the gruesome. I loved Carey’s writing style and felt that every point of view he employed was done beautifully. This book was horrifying and the descriptions were vivid and unsettling. Be warned- there was some animal violence so those that have issues with that be warned and on the look out. I do believe this book was worth the read though you will be impacted, disgusted, horrified, stunned and saddened.

I’m sure you’re thinking- what in the world was this book about exactly? Well in essence, and stripped to its simplicity- it was a zombie book. I don’t read all that much zombie fiction but from what I’ve read this was the book I’ve always wanted. It hit all the right notes and had me at the edge of my seat. The pacing was even and somehow, Carey was able to not only drive the story with a huge level of tension but still take the time to build the characters and have me caring for each of them.

Each character stood on their own and felt unique. Melanie’s voice (the little girl in the above summary) in particular was absolutely stunning and I can’t say a negative thing about it. I loved watching the evolution of each character’s growth and reaction to the world they are living in. There were elements in this book that had me really questioning my morals and what my decision would be if I were in the (eeps) very plausible situation the characters are in.

That’s the thing about this book, it wasn’t some mystery virus that erupts and swarms over the population-there was real thought and science behind this book. I adored all the science bits and felt that they were done perfectly. Never did I feel that they were presented as an info dump, they were seamlessly tied into the story.

I think you can see that I was very impressed with this book. It took me by surprise, caused some nightmares and I’m still thinking about it. I started to rate this book 4.5 stars because I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to reread it, but in writing this review I realize that this was a solid 5 star for me. To cause such emotion and thought in a zombie book is saying something.

Now, to the elements that had me disturbed. I mentioned the animal violence- there was only one scene but boy was it vivid and detailed. It would be easy enough to skip. The other aspect was that many elements of this book concern children like Melanie. I get really disturbed when there’s a kiddo involved so that was a sore spot for me. It was done well but it made me uncomfortable and distressed at times.

Final Thoughts:
I barely touched my thoughts on The Girl With All the Gifts in this review but I don’t want to give away too much about the book. I can’t say I necessarily enjoyed my reading experience because it was depressing, gruesome, horrible, thrilling, addicting, thought provoking, etc. It was bleak yet was able to show a slight hint of hope that helped get me through some of the more disturbing scenes.


  1. says

    Yes this was definitely one of the better reads of 2014 for me so far! I really enjoyed Melane and Miss Justineau as characters, but especially Melanie. I loved the whole existential crisis she went through, it made her seem more developed as a character. Though the ending, aha, idk what to say about it.

  2. says

    I tried to read this one and I couldnt get into it so I put it aside. I didn’t hate it though I just wasn’t in the mood at the time. I do know it’s about zombies I got that far, and i loved how unique it was. It sounds like a very well done zombie story that’s both freaky as heck, dark, character driven, and realistic (esp with the zombie/outbreak details/science etc). Those are my fav – if you haven’t read the Feed series you so have to get to those!

    • says

      It is def a book you need to be in the mood for. I hope you pick it up again and let me know what you think! I really loved it (obviously). I really do need to read the Feed series. I read another by the author and enjoyed it.

  3. says

    So happy you loved this, Kristen! I would have been shocked if you hadn’t. I know we can’t talk about the ending here, but wow… I absolutely loved it. This book was incredible up to that point, and the ending just sent it over the top.

    I can’t wait to read Carey’s next book.

    • says

      Yep! I loved it Stephanie. It was so disturbing but it will never slip from my memory. I’ll always remember and think about it. I want Carey’s next book too! Any news about if there is something in the works from him?

        • says

          I’m a fan for sure…I’ll be reading his next. Do you think anyone would ever be brave enough to bring the book to film/TV? Some of those scenes would be wonderful (and terrifying) on screen. Of course, a lot of it is so gruesome I’m not sure I could watch it…

    • says

      I’ve not heard of This is Not a Test (heading to GR to look it up in a sec). I’m not a huge zombie fan either and since you loved it that speaks very highly of it. let me know if you read TGWAtG and if you like it.

  4. says

    You and my lovely Pili are totally my canaries so I can’t wait for this even thoug it just appeared on my radar. Just know I’m stalking your currently reading and reviews constantly. I love when I find peeps who have similar tastes but I also love stepping out of the box sometimes too which is how you ladies help me. You guys are still my prized twitterers. 🙂 Valerie and Stephanie’s comments made me sqee for it too!! Thanks!!

    • says

      Ah! This means so much to me! Thank you <3 I love finding people with similar tastes too. It's fairly difficult isn't it? I know you picked it up and I can't wait to hear your thoughts! keep me posted!

  5. says

    I don’t think I have seen one bad review of this book. I am still going to get it from the library, just in case. I looked on line and I am going to have to request it from satellite library, but it sounds well worth it. 🙂

    • says

      Honestly, I’m not sure it’s something you’d want to read again so library might be a good option. I have sort of flip flopped on if I’ll reread it. I guess time will tell. I will be loaning my copy out though. Let me know what you think when you read it.

  6. says

    It was fantastic reading this one with you and having someone to freak out with about “that scene” and “can you believe that happened??” moments!!
    This is an amazing book and yeah, I agree that with some warnings, this is a fantastic book that I will be pushing left right and centre!
    Fantastic review, Kristen!
    Kare and Giselle, I really recommend this book is you can deal with disgusting and disturbing scenes, but they’re all worth it and not cheap and only for the shock factor!

    *smoochies and hugs for Stephanie, La La and Brit*

    • says

      YES, this was a perfect book for us to read together. And you are such a great reading buddy. We’ll have to do another soon 🙂 Did you post your review yet? I hope I’ve not missed it by being somewhat absent from twitter this week. i’ll have to drop by and see 🙂

  7. says

    Aw, YAY 😀 Amazing review Kristen. <3 Yay for reading it with Pili 🙂 And omg, I'm so glad you loved it. That makes me very happy. And more excited to read it 🙂 I'm hoping to do that soonish. Fingers crossed I will love it too. <3 I do like awful books, lol 😀 So I think I might love it. You make it sound awesome 🙂

  8. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, despite the gruesome parts. Like you said, I was impressed by how the book was both fast-paced and yet also character-driven. It made for an amazing read, and I consider it a new favorite. Though I do admit that one scene was disturbing, and I did sympathize with the children while also disliking them at the same time. Great review!

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