I read The Girl with All the Gifts when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I even watched the movie version of it, which was really well done. However, I took a long time to get to this book. I finally popped by my local library and picked it up. And I’m so glad I did!
Synopsis: This story takes places years before The Girl with All the Gifts. In this novel, a group of scientists and army personnel are on a mission to understand the hungries by collecting samples left behind by other scientific explorations. Accompanying them is Stephen Greaves, a teenage boy who is considered a child genius but who doesn’t display social skills – unless it is with scientist Samrina Khan. As they make their way through this dangerous expanse of land, Stephen discovers the existence of an anomaly amongst the hungries. Stephen thinks that this discovery is exactly what is needed to find a cure – but will this belief of his become a liability to all on board?
I really didn’t want to give anything away in my summary, but I also didn’t just want to post up what Goodreads did because it’s quite sparse. But I also don’t want to give too much away.
I highly recommend that you read The Girl with All the Gifts before reading this novel. You don’t need to have read it to understand The Boy on the Bridge but it makes the story more interesting and gives you a link between the two books. As it were, this novel is perfectly good all on its own and there are only a few things that will connect the two books.
As with the first book, I loved the violence of the hungries and the action in this story. The author knows how to pack the punches and ramp up the tension. I liked the characters in the novel but none of them really drew me the way Melanie from The Girl with All the Gifts did. Even though Stephen was this child prodigy, his voice was so mature that it was hard for me to remember that he was a teenager. All of the characters got a turn in the spotlight, but it wasn’t always in equal measure; this actually didn’t work as well for me because it meant that I didn’t really make any strong connections with anyone.
But the action! It was phenomenal! When things began to slide downwards, I felt like a helpless character in the book, unable to predict the repercussions of the actions and unable to pull away from it. I loved every part of the journey and the discovery that Stephen makes. The epilogue that the author put in this book was a great shocker and it promises (or atleast I hope it does!) for another book in this series.
My overall thoughts? This is a solid 4/5 with a great story line and tons of action. The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been if there had been a better way for the reader to connect with the characters.