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The Girl with All the Gifts - Full Discussion

The Girl with All the Gifts
Full Discussion

The Girl with All the Gifts

Full Discussion

Ideas for discussion:
1) How did you like the book overall? What rating would you give it out of 5?

2) How would you compare this book to other zombie stories that you may have read?

3) What did you think of Doctor Caldwell's theory about Melanie and the other children being born hungry, as opposed to turned?

4) What is your opinion of Melanie's actions at the end of the novel? Do you have any theories about the future of Melanie's world?

5) What do you think will happen to Miss Justineau?

6) Anything else you'd like to say about the book?

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All You Need Is Kill
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1) I liked it a lot and gave it a 4/5. I really wanted it to be longer. I wanted to know more!

2) I thought this had a really interesting take on zombies. I remember reading about that fungus and the ants a while ago (maybe about a year ago?) and it doesn't surprise me that someone used it as a basis for a zombie story. It was cool to see the world from the POV of a zombie as well, though I wish I had started reading the book without knowing what Melanie was. I had read a review that spoiled the reveal for me :(

3) I thought that was interesting though I'm very curious about how that would have happened. I mean, she kind of goes over it but I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. I mean, are zombies having sex? Because that seems awkward. Or are these babies that were in utero when the mother was infected, but the mother carried them to term and gave birth to them? At first I didn't realize that they grow, but the hungry children must have grown from babies... I'm still surprised I guess that no one managed to either see a pregnant zombie or saw baby zombies... but this does explain why none of the hungry children were ever described as having wounds on their bodies.

4) Well I guess it was inevitable that humanity was doomed anyway but it still made me irrationally mad. Like this whole time they are bringing with them an instrument of their doom and then she goes and does something arguably worse than just biting one of the group. Maybe it's worse because she does it on purpose with the complete understanding that she is killing people, rather than this happening on their own.

5) I imagine if it were up to Melanie she would keep Miss Justineau alive for as long as possible to continue teaching the children, and would try to protect her. I'm not sure I can imagine Miss Justineau being totally ok with this though. She has nowhere to go and life is pretty hopeless for her. I'm not even sure how long she can expect to be able to have food for. Things look pretty bleak. I'd imagine she would have some serious depression and hopelessness warring with her love for Melanie after being left the only living human.


Sooo also I guess Mr. Redshirt was a redshirt after all! When he started running away I was just rolling my eyes like crazy. Poor guy wasn't so bright.

I am assuming that Beacon was already done for but I felt disappointed we never found out one way or the other. I mean, I guess it was hosed no matter what after Melanie did what she did.
Caldwell did say something about hungries having sex before she died, and I think it's the only thing that makes sense for the timeline and the varying ages of the hungry children... but it's really creepy to think about.
Hmm you are right with all the different ages. I can't imagine there are too many pregnant women running around in the dangerous wilderness to get infected with the hungry pathogen years after the outbreak started.
yeah I wish the book would have shown a pregnant zombie, if this was really how it was all supposed to go down. It kind of feels like a plot hole without that.

I really hope for a sequel, cause there are so many unanswered questions! Especially agree with you on what this all means for Miss Justineau and I'd love to see how it plays out.
1) I gave the book a 4/5, because it kept me engaged and along for the ride the whole way. My jaw dropped open at the ending, and I've been thinking about it since I finished the book, so it's something that's stayed with me.

2) I think the only thing I have to compare it to was Feed, and the only thing they really have in common is being science-based zombie stories. I did really enjoy getting the POV of a zombie, and Melanie was a very likable protagonist.

3) I thought it was a little weird. At first I thought their mothers were turned while pregnant but I don't think that makes sense with the timeline. I think they said the infection started 20 years ago, which means Melanie & co should have been around that age. It would also mean there should be no variance in the ages of the hungry children, but we saw with the wild children that there were ones as young as 5. She was implying that the hungries who kept a little more of themselves, like the one with the baby carriage and the one who was looking at his pictures in the hospital, might have kept having sex out of habit? Which seems really strange to me. I guess that also means that the hungries are technically alive since they can reproduce, rather than dead bodies animated by a fungus, despite what everyone seemed to think in the novel.

4) My jaw dropped open when I read the ending. Seriously. I was not expecting that at all. So basically Melanie has decided since there's no way to stop the infection, instead she's hurrying the infection of the rest of the world, so that her generation of hungries can become the new humanity. We see from the wild hungry children that, left to their own devices, the children are more like animals than people. Melanie will have her work cut out for her if she wants to 'civilize' the rest of the second generation hungries.

5) For all we know, she might run out of food pretty quickly, since... well, isn't everything outside of the mobile lab now going to be contaminated, including any wild animals and water supplies? For water, they could probably rig up a filter, and I guess plants and anything without a central nervous system would probably be immune to the fungus, but would it be safe for her to eat? Would cooked meat be safe? Even if she doesn't run out of food, the knowledge of being the last living 'old' human, what will that do to her? We know Melanie will protect her, and the hungries can't smell her as long as she keeps the suit on, but I still suspect she might start losing her sanity if she lives long enough.

6) One thing I loved was the theme of Greek mythology, particularly the myth of Pandora. At first, it's just something that Melanie likes: she sees a little bit of herself in the myth of Pandora. And then at the end of the story, she does the equivalent of opening Pandora's box, releasing all the evils onto the world, plus one small light - hope. Hope that she and her fellow hungry children can forge a new future for their world, that with the teaching of the one person who changed her world, they can become more.
I read a review that said the book was like Pandora's Box as well. It opens very slowly, and you learn little bits as you go.. and then the end it blasts open and you're like WTFFFFF :P
1. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5. :) I was kind of disappointed by the alternating POVs at first (I really just wanted to hear from Melanie, forever XD), but by the end of the book I didn't feel that way as much. I also thought the pace kind of slowed down after they left the base, but that definitely didn't last, and I had a hard time putting it down and it was running through my mind while I was at work!

2. I thought it was cool, pretty refreshingly different from a lot of other zombie books/worlds. Having fungus cause the zombie infection was pretty interesting, and I liked what Carey did with it.

3. I kinda guessed it because I figured that you would be able to see the bite marks or something where the kids had originally been infected if they hadn't been born that way, and it was never mentioned across the tons of kids like Melanie that they come across over the course of the book. I didn't really guess all of it, but I figured it was something along those lines, at least.

4. I was kind of horrified at first, but it seems like it really is the only way for the world to eventually repair itself, even if it's going to take a long time.

5. I kind of got the impression that Miss Justineau felt that this was her punishment for killing that child before the Breakdown. I don't know that that feeling will persist for a long time, though. I'm guessing that her long-term future does not look good.

6. I really liked that the Pandora's Box thing came full circle. xD I wanted to know what actually happened to Beacon. There was the walkie talkie stuff, so I guess it was the wall blocking communications and they were actually okay despite having lost contact with the base? I don't know, but yeah. I wanted to know more. xD
yeah I couldn't tell if the giant wall o' fungus would be disrupting communications or if it was because the city was deadles!

Late, but since this genre is still going, I'll answer

1) I'll give the book a 3.5 because I was able to stop a bit past the middle and didn't really pick it back up until a few hours ago. Before that, I was on track for a 4, I guess.

2) Most of the other zombie stories I've read have been much lighter and actually all of them were narrated by zombies, but this one was definitely darker/bleaker and was certainly different since Melanie didn't know what she really was for a long time.

3) It makes sense, but it did feel like a rushed ending and a bit infodumpy. But considering that this book only scratched the surface of the second "human" race, I guess I shouldn't expect Caldwell to know much more than what she figured out/hypothesized from her findings. I will say that the whole 1st generation pregnancy thing brings up some questions of how future generations will exist. If Melanie got pregnant, would she survive? Would a child wait to be physically born like a human?

4) In a way, it seemed pretty cold, but I can understand why Melanie thought it was the only option to insure her safety and the safety of the other children. But as I rambled in #3, I don't know how many generations the new infected humans will be able to continue. If pregnancy is fatal, there might end up being a shortage of women eventually if the gender split doesn't stay fairly equal, I assume. That and the rate of hungries "flowering" might lead to fairly short life spans. Also, Melanie can't educate everyone, although I'm amusing myself thinking of her going on a world education tour. XD

5) I honestly don't see Miss Justineau living terribly long, tbh. Even if she doesn't go crazy, I don't see how she can stay uninfected for very long with the food situation. If Rosie was fully stocked with food, I might give her a little longer to live.

6) Poor Kieran. His redshirt light shone too bright, although I guess almost everyone in this story bit the dust, so I can't rag on him too much.
And FYI for those that wanted to read more, the short story that preceded this book, "Iphigenia in Aulis," is in the anthology An Apple for the Creature.


From this review, it sounds like it is fairly similar to the beginning of the novel and is probably set on the base, so it sounds like it would not provide any extra details about the ending.

Carey did say on Goodreads that he is writing another novel under the M.R. Carey name (Who By Fire) that he was anticipating releasing in 2015, but he didn't mention if it was related to this one.

January 2015


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