Publication Date: 28 April 2015
Format: Paperback, 448 pgs
I've seen this book around when it was first released and the title has definitely piqued my curiosity. Most of the reviews I've read then gave this book a good rating, which further intrigued me but since their thoughts on the storyline are vague, I've no idea what it is all about except the notion that I should read it.
So here I am, with the finished book in hand and my mind is filled with thoughts I didn't know how to say it with eloquence except that "this is a book I wouldn't have picked up in the first place but glad that I did" kind of phrase. If you are a regular reader to my blog, you'd know that science fiction and zombies aren't my thing. I do watch movies of these themes though, but they are not really my kind of reading materials. It is a good thing I didn't know anything about this when I started reading this, otherwise I'd have missed out a good thriller.
Set in post-apocalypse England, the nation is plagued by a mutant strain of a killing fungus, and scientists are working on a cure by experimenting on a group of zombified children. Unlike their peers outside the laboratory base, these groups of "children" actually retain emotions and they even behave human-like, with intelligence and all.
Now what set this theme from the others is the well-constructed characters, in particularly to Melanie as well as the bonds she has had with her "teacher", Miss Helen Justineau. While there are actions and all the horrifying stuff when it comes to such theme, what makes this different and a compelling read is how emotionally touching it is. It is not a story that will warm your heart, no doubt, but yet the humanity behind it says everything about all. Melanie, the lead character of this story, is one extraordinary girl despite who she is.
Miss Justineau is another character who shines in this story. She has clearly demonstrates the true meaning of compassion and benevolence, thus she makes a great heroine in my opinion. I loved reading the bond she has with Melanie; it being so simple and pure. Other characters such as Sergeant Parks, Dr Caldwell and Private Gallagher also play a significant role in this mayhem, thus making this a character-driven story as well.
I've more to say about this book but I think it'd be better if you read it and find out yourself. And oh... there's a film adaptation of this novel starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close, and to be directed by Colm McCarthy (best known for his work on Sherlock, Peaky Blinders and Doctor Who.) It's due to shoot in the UK in May 2015 according to the publisher's site. I know I'd be waiting in line when the film releases.