Author: M.R Carey.
Published: June 19th 2014 by Orbit.
Sort: Stand-alone, post-apocalyptic.
NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSINGEvery 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.Melanie is a very special girl. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
This book starts with Melanie. She is locked in her room and every day she gets strapped to a wheelchair before she is wheeled into her classroom, together with her other wheelchair-bound classmates. At first you have no idea what is going on, but with pieces of information it’s not hard to puzzle together what is wrong with the children. When the base is attacked Melanie escapes with an interesting mix of people: Helen Justineau, the teacher she adores, Sergeant Parks, doctor Caldwell and soldier Kieran Gallagher. Together they must find their way back to another base, but the road is long and they are not alone..
It was such an intense story. The world is torn apart after a pandemic that influences every infected person. The mysterious thing is that some people are able to overcome this infection and they are capable of functioning like a healthy person. I loved the moral questions in this book and how provoking it was. How far can you go to save humanity? The fact that you see the situation through different eyes (in third POV) is interesting and I could understand doctor Caldwell's obsession with finding a cure. I’m not saying she was right, but I could see where she was coming from. But when you shift to Helen and her relationship with Melanie, the story messes with your feelings again. It was heart-warming to see them together and their somewhat strange bond.
I must say that it was fun to see my name in this book and I’m not ashamed; Melanie is a wonderful character. She is loyal to the woman she loves as a mother (Helen), she is brave and intelligent. I liked her perspective on matters and I think Mike did a good job on her voice. She has a voice that fits a girl of her age. I also liked how everyone had their distinctive voices and specific role in this story. It worked really well together.
The explanation for the outbreak was simply amazing. Coming from someone who is going to work in the field of microbiology, I was happy to see this explored. It’s very clear that Mike spend a lot of time on researching this matter. I thought it was well-explained and terrifying, because things like this could happen.
Some parts might have been a little slow, but I was swept away in their journey to safety. They come across some scary and bloody situations. If you look for a book with a realistic portrayal of human feelings, moral questions, thrilling scenes and medical backgrounds, this is the book you want to pick up. Also, the ending was spot-on. I highly recommend this book.