Book Review: The Boy on the Bridge.

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey, The Girl with all the Gifts #2. 

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

You should know M.R. Carey by now from his stellar The Girl with all the Gifts from back in 2014, which is by the by translated into a major movie production. If not I urge you to start reading his books. The Boy on the Bridge is the second book in the universe of The Girl with all the Gift, so there was a whole lot to live up to... 

The Breakdown has ravaged the lands of Britain leaving it empty of human life and full of the hungries. Hungries in case you missed it from the first are the interpretation of zombies in this series. Its not due to a virus outbreak or such but by a much more interesting pathogen, but there has to be a cure somewhere. And there you are thrown in the story following the expedition of the Rosalind Franklin, or short Rosie. Aboard this vehicle are several scientists and several soldiers, that are crossing the land in search for a cure for the hungries. They left the safehaven of Beacon to fight for humanity. The expedition that went out before them left samples to grow at specific points to be collected after a time frame. The collecting might sound like an easy task and in essence it is, but with looming hungries you need to be on top of it. When you are placed in a small confinement with 12 people, things that normally wouldn't bother you will start to bother you. This is precisely the route that it is following. Given that and the backdrop of hungries running about well, you dont want to be locked out... 

Melanie was a truly remarkable character character in the first book. In The Boy on the Bridge the focus is on multiple characters but mainly Samrina Khan and Stephen Greaves. They are remarkable in their own way. Samrina discovers something that will make her trip even more difficult. The fallout in the beginning with the leader of the troupe really puts things in perspective in this bleak world... Eye opening. Stephen Greaves is a great character to read about. 15 years old and autistic. But he has a power of his own that is the only thing most likely to help finding a cure. 

I praised The Girl with all the Gifts for the inventiveness of M.R. Carey for the pathogen Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis or in short cordyceps. A fungi that in our real world takes over certain insects by infecting their brain. There is even a difference between the adult hungries and the children hungries. Those that are infected as adults turn into the blood thristy kinds, those as children grow and evolve learning to communicate and to think. Posing perhaps an even more dangerous threat or a possible cure? 

If you think about zombie novels, people often think about an action packed gun blazing killing gore filled story. This series so far focuses much more on the humane aspect of it all. The relationship among the several characters, even how they grow into it with the hungries. 

As I said it with The Girl with all the Gifts, the story is a dark and grim at times but the characters produce that ray of sun that pierces the prospect. M.R. Carey knows how to produce a emotional and beautiful story. Definitely a winner for me. 


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