New Treasures: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
I like knowing the premise of a book before I start reading it. I think that’s fairly normal. But what happens when knowing the premise is a spoiler, and the publisher won’t tell you?
That seems to be the case with the trade paperback reprint of M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts, which I found on the New Releases table at Barnes and Noble last Saturday. The front and back cover reveal almost nothing about the book, beyond calling it “The Most Original Thriller You Will Read This Year,” and this cryptic text on the back:
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.
Instead of a plot synopsis, the book is plastered with blurbs… lots and lots of them. Joss Whedon says “So surprising, so warm and yet so chilling… as fresh as it is terrifying.” Vogue calls it “Haunting, heart-breaking,” Marie Claire says it’s “Tense and fast-paced with a heartwarming tenderness,” and Reader’s Guide gushes with “Propulsive, imaginative.”
Wait a minute. Vogue? Marie Claire? Last time I picked up something Marie Claire called “heartwarming,” I ended up reading Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t want that to happen again.
A little investigation (I have sources) reveals that The Girl With All the Gifts is, in fact, a genre novel. It’s (mild spoiler!) some kind of future dystopia. Revealing more than that would be telling, but suffice to say that I’m very intrigued indeed.
This is M.R. Carey’s first novel. The Girl With All the Gifts was published by Orbit Books on April 28. It is 435 pages, priced at $15 in trade paperback.
I fell like the “future dystopia” genre is drastically over used nowadays. I really like your description of it, but after further reviewing the book it seems like the same generic tropes we have been seeing in the YA world lately, with some minor twist that make it seem ‘just different enough’. I have seen mostly positive reviews for the novel, but nothing that really convinces me that it’s different from what the genre is, in my opinion, already overcrowded with.
*Feel, not fell. I apologize for my typo. Not sure how to edit comments if it’s possible to do so.
It is his first novel under this pseudonym, but he’s written 10 novels that I know of, and many, many comics. M.R. Carey is Mike Carey, and he is one of my fave comics writers.
Have you read Lucifer? That is his. Ditto for Unwritten.
Can also recommend his Felix Castor novels very highly.
> I [feel] like the “future dystopia” genre is drastically over used nowadays.
Yeah, I suspect that’s partly why the book has been marketed this way. There’s a big segment of the market that feels much the same way you do.
Still, the “YA dystopian” genre remains one of the hottest things on the market. And if you’ve been wanting to try one, this looks like a great place to start.
> M.R. Carey is Mike Carey, and he is one of my fave comics writers.
Ah, I should have figured it out! It seemed very (very) odd for a debut novel from an unknown author to get this kind of attention. I was quite surprised to find this was his only title.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Mike Carey — and I know his Felix Castor, Exorcist-for-hire books have a big fan base. And I like UNWRITTEN quite a bit.
This ratchets up my interest another notch. I may have to bump a few other books off my TBR pile to make room for this one near the top.
I found this one a bit weak, but I am not fond of this particular sub genre. (I read the UK edition,)
Although it felt to me to be more of an inheritor to Wyndham. Felt very much at home in the cozy catastrophe vein.
> Although it felt to me to be more of an inheritor to Wyndham.
There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. I should probably spend a few words on John Wyndham in a Vintage Treasures piece one of these days.
Yes, doing a series of vintage treasures articles on the cozy catastrophe writers would be good! Wyndham, John Christooher,heck, even early Susan Cooper (Mandrake.)
Well hell, I liked this a lot. I wish the post had been a review. I recommend it.
I received an advance copy when the hardcover came out last year, and enjoyed it. At the beginning it seems to be a fairly standard post-apocalyptic YA novel, but has a good twist that turns it into something else completely. It’s definitely NOT a Hunger Games clone, as so many YA novels these days seem to be. It’s not a “buy it”, but it’d be a good book to borrow or check out from the library.
[…] End, Gary McMahon (NewCon Press) The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit) The Last Plague, Rich Hawkins (Crowded Quarantine Publications) No One Gets Out […]