The story is about a little girl called Melanie who lives as a prisoner inside a military compound somewhere in the UK together with a handful of other children. The outside world has gone the way of the dodo after a zombie-like outbreak has taken place and there are only a handful of holdouts of human society as we know it left. Melanie and the other children are special as they are infected by whatever caused people to go zombie yet still able to think and act like normal children unless they smell humans. Then they pretty much become feral beasts and try to bite everything in their path. To prevent this, they are usually strapped down in wheelchairs when outside their cells and everyone else at the base is wearing a special gel that cloaks their body-smell.
At the compound the children are taught by a handful of teachers to find out on a psychological level why they are different. From time to time, though, one of them is taken away to never come back. Then other means are applied to learn their secret. Every day is pretty much the same for those not being led away until one day everything changes…
While the book is written not unlike a children’s book with most of the story being told from Melanie’s point of view, the theme is far darker than it seemed at first. The whole world has become a dark place and M. R. Carey did a phenomenal job filling it with back story but also leave enough mystery in it to not make it look like your ordinary zombie-apocalypse.
I, honestly, cannot find a single aspect of the book I didn’t like. If you haven’t read it yet, do so!
As for the audio book: “The Girl with all the Gifts” was the perfect choice as a first-audiobook for me. Finty Williams did an excellent job with her narration and it made me totally forget my experience with The Dispatcher. Now I cannot wait to listen to the second book in that series: The Boy on the Bridge!