The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

Parts of it made me choke up in public, and that's just not something I do.


A while ago, I concluded that I didn't like zombie books.
I hereby recant, as long as they are written by M R Carey.


I can't review this book yet--it's a Netgalley arc and I can't release a review for a few more weeks--but if you want some idea, I think this song ("London," James Newton Howard, Blood Diamondcaptures some of the essence.


As I said, this isn't a review--probably a good thing, because I'm running about three reviews behind-- but I need a place to collect quotes. Since I failed to maintain a book progress page, it's going to be here.  I think I'll leave all quotes behind a spoiler-tag.  I think it's impossible not to spoil this book.  Wooo, it's going to be interesting to try to review.



"She has skin like a princess in a fairy tale; skin as white as snow. So she knows that when she grows up she'll be beautiful, with princes falling over themselves to climb her tower and rescue her.

Assuming, of course, that she has a tower.

In the meantime, she has the cell, the corridor, the classroom, and the shower room."


"That's Pandora," Miss Justineau said. "She really was an amazing woman. All the gods had blessed her and given her gifts.  That's what her name means--'the girl with all the gifts.'"


"Knowing the date is reassuring in some way she can't quite figure out. It's like it gives her a secret power-- like she's in control of a little piece of the world.

It's not until then that she realises that she's never had that feeling before."


"You can't save people from the world. There's nowhere else to take them."


"It's just the outermost point on an arc. She's risen as far as she can, and now she's falling again, no longer in control (if she ever was to start with) of her own movements."


"She's lived in Plato's cave, staring at the shadows on the wall. Now she's been turned around to face the fire."


"The truth is the truth, the only prize worth having. If you deny it, you're only showing that you're unworthy of it."


"And the dead kids drag at every living soul. A weight of guilt you haul around with you like the moon hauls the ocean, too massive to lift and too much a part of you to ever let it go."


"The pictures are cheerful and simple. The boat and the digger have smiling faces at their front ends, which Melanie is almost certain is unrealistic."


"This man came to Wainwright House with something trivial like bursitis and -- as many people do -- experienced complications while he was being treated. In this case, the complications were that the hungries feasted on his flesh and made him one of them."


"'But I secured my children's souls,' Caldwell croons. 'So pray, my children, for me.'"

--Singing "The Woman Who Rode Double"


"Survivalists who've forgotten how to do anything else besides survive. Parasites and scavengers almost as inhuman in their own way as Ophiocordyceps. They don't build, or preserve. They just stay alive. And their ruthlessly patriarchal structures reduce women to pack animals or breeding stock.

If that's humanity's last, best hope, then despair might actually be preferable."


"Yesterday she thought that the hungries were like houses that people used to live in. Now she thinks that every one of those houses is haunted. She's not just surrounded by the hungries.  She's surrounded by the ghosts of the men and women they used to be."


"And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what's inside is good or bad. Because it's both. Everything is always both.

But you have to open it to find out."


"She also knows that not all the evils that struck this land had the same cause and origin. The infection was bad. So were the things that the important-decision people did to control the infection. And so is catching little children and cutting them to pieces, even if you're doing it to try to make medicine that stops people from being hungries.

It's not just Pandora who had that inescapable flaw. It seems like everyone has been built in a way that sometimes makes them do wrong and stupid things."


"When your dreams come true, your true has moved. You've already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago."


"It's like before the Breakdown people used to spend their whole lives making cocoons for themselves out of furniture and ornaments and books and toys and pictures and any kind of shit they could find. As though they hoped they'd be born out of the cocoon into something else. Which some of them were, of course, but not in the way they hoped."


"She might have grown up into something like that, if you'd left her where you found her.  Something wild that didn't know itself and just did whatever it needed to do. But you dropped a net over her and brought her home. And now she's yours. You interfered. You took on a debt."


"As far as the kid is concerned, the world never ended. They taught her all these ld, old things, filled her head with all this unserviceable shit, and they thought it didn't matter because she was never going to leave her cell except to be dismantled and smeared on microscope slides.

His stomach lurches. He has a sense, or the first time in his soldiering career, of what a war crime might look like from the inside. And it's not him who's the criminal, or even Caldwell. It's Justineau. And Mailer. And that drunken bastard Whitaker, and all the rest of them. Caldwell, she's just a butcher. She's Sweeney Todd, with a barber's chair and a straight razor. She didn't spend years twisting kids' brains into pretzels."


"Her hypothesis is so huge in its implications that to shrink from murder would be a crime against humanity."


"It's like the part of her that just wants to eat and eat and eat is locked up in a little box, and she doesn't have to open the box if she doesn't want to."


"You can't be a child forever, even if you want to be."


"If the road to knowledge was paved with dead children--which at some times and some places it has been -- she'd still walk it and absolve herself afterwards. What other choice would she have? Everything she values is at the end of that road."


I can't believe that happened, and I see logistical difficulties, as well as a hypocritical willingness to commit the very crimes she accuses others of.  Plus, obnoxious question--can they even breed, or are they it?

She's destroyed the whole world. Even if Beacon is gone--and the text certainly suggests it is--what about the rest of the world? An airborne contaminant? She has condemned them all. Why is that any better than the deaths of a few children? The fate she predicts wouldn't have occurred unless all were wiped out, and they wouldn't have been.


"This whole forest grew from the ruined dead. This is where the hungries end up after all their faithful service to the infection that made them what they are."


"They'll be the next people. The ones who make everything okay again."

(show spoiler)