Not Every Gift Is A Blessing
407 pages. Acknowledgements and author info.
As the novel begins, Melanie is a 10-year-old girl who has always lived in a prison-like school (in the United Kingdom, not far from London). With her are other classmates, teachers, and armed guards. She is extremely bright, and has deduced from things overheard that in the outside world, there are monsters known as hungries.
Why are the children in this place? What makes them special? Who is in charge of them? What will become of them?
In the opening chapters, the author slowly lets the reader know more about what's going on. Then comes a crisis, and Melanie finds herself and four adults in a desperate struggle for survival.
The author has worked hard to provide a medical basis for the type of zombies in our near-future: humans infected with a fungus which redirects and destroys their brain functions, leaving them as shells existing only to perpetuate the fungus. Which they do by consuming protein, especially fresh meat. They are statue-like when inactive, but rapid on the chase.
Note that there is a movie based on this novel. I haven't seen it yet, but from what I can tell, the plot differs slightly from the novel, and two major characters have switched race.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I raced through it. I liked that the author tried to stick to the science throughout, as well as to make the reader think.
The author has attempted to create fleshed-out characters with back stories, but some of the major characters still come off as two-dimensional.
Since the main character is a 10-year-old girl, you might wonder if this novel is suitable for children. First, it's a zombie story, so expect violence and blood and lots of death. There's some bad language, and some references to sex and porn.
The novel's title is a reference to the Greek legend of Pandora.
I liked the book a lot. It maintained suspense to the end, and had some nice twists along the way. The ending is both 'happy' and horrific.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .