The girl with all the gifts, by M. R. Carey

The girl with all the gifts Book Cover The girl with all the gifts
M. R. Carey
Horror, science fiction
Hachette Audio
First published June 6th 2014

First: I chose the audiobook copy of this, which is narrated beautifully by Finty Williams.  I'm pretty sure this voice made me find more hours in the day to listen than I would have with a less optimal narrator, so that's a huge thumbs up with admiring glances and happy noises.

And - people will tell you,  try to read as little as you can about The girl with all the gifts before you start reading.  The reason for this, of course, is that a big part of the book is to discover the terms of the world alongside our main protagonist, the titular gifted girl.  Most is revealed quite early on in the book, and you'll likely see it coming once you're reading,  but I don't want to steal it from you.

Melanie is a little girl in a school for what appears to be special children.  She loves her teacher, Miss Justineau, and likes to learn just about everything, even though not all of the teachers are as nice as Miss Justineau.  People act a little strange around these kids. In this future, apparently ten year-olds need armed military guards.

And there's so few of them.

That's all I want to say about the plot, really.  It features good characters it's easy to care for, though they might not be surprising , maybe even somewhat typical of the genre.  (A well used formula can still be used well!)   The title's reference to Pandora,  she who opened that box,  is of course meaningful.  The prose flows along without a snag; there is little or no redundant dwelling on events,  but a steady forward motion, towards a looming, inevitable end.

The ending is a relieve, because I was for a while afraid the novel was going to chicken out on itself.  It doesn't.  It goes as far as it has to go, and while it contributes to strapping the novel into the horror genre,  it's also very peaceful.  I end the book feeling oddly harmonious, given what I've just been reading.

I recommend the book in any format,  but the narrator makes the audio a very good choice for either picky listeners, or people looking for a good gateway audiobook experience.

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