I confess that I would not have made it past page ten or so of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS had it not been written by a friend of mine. It’s not that it wasn’t well written: it was. It’s that it’s a zombie novel, and I’m not much of a horror fan. (Re: at all.) But I’ve known MR Carey for years now and he’s a wonderful human being, so I was inclined to try working my way past the subject material and going for broke.
I’m glad I did, because it’s a good book. Narration by the several POV characters in present tense made for a dandy sense of revealing the action as it happened, which I sit in admiration of: I’ve read plenty of present-tense stories that don’t feel nearly as much like I’m finding out the story at the same time the characters are. Really nicely done. Strong voices, characters ranging from sympathetic to (appallingly) comprehensible, and an ending that I’d half guessed at but which could have gone any one of several ways so wasn’t disappointing because so many of the various potential endings would have been satisfying.
Around chapter twelve I paused to comment on Twitter that I could see why it had been optioned for a film (which is even now in production; SHE WHO BEARS GIFTS, is, I think, the title, and I almost certainly won’t be seeing it, because I’m pretty sure it’d scare the pants off me), because it seems an especially good story for film-making.
I stopped eating a couple of times while I was reading, because it wasn’t quite gross, but it wasn’t quite “yes, let’s chow down while reading this!” either. I figure a zombie book that makes you reluctant to eat while reading it is doing its job. :)