M.R. Carey’s The Girl with all the Gifts was one of last year’s stand out books – the follow up, while not as original, is just as good.
In The Boy on the Bridge, M.R. Carey hasn’t ventured too far from the Girl with all the Gifts – it’s still a zombie road trip, with a weird maternal relationship between the two main characters, and a breed of super zombie kids who can still think for themselves. This time around we’re following the crew of the Rosalind Franklin, a massive half-tank-half-lorry that is travelling around the UK in search of a cure to the zombie virus that ended life as we know it.
On board we meet Samrina Khan and Steven Greaves – a pregnant scientist and an awkward teenage genius she helped rescue when the zombie apocalypse hit – along with Dr Fournier, the mission commander who doesn’t understand what commanding is. There’s also a military escort for this mission: Colonel Carlisle, an old school officer who has a slavish sense of duty and a stiff upper lip; and rebellious sniper Lieutenant McQueen who can’t stand the thought of a commander who won’t think for himself.
The mission is running smoothly (if not successfully), until Steven finds a new breed of zombie super kids who may hold the key to a cure… and then all hell breaks loose.
The relationship between the crew and the genius savant is what sets the Boy on the Bridge apart from most other zombie apocalypse thrillers. They’re a tight knit bunch, but it’s the end of the world we’re dealing with here, so bad things have to be done and sacrifices made for the common good, and our genius savant just doesn’t understand people in the way he understands science – much in the same way that the strength of the Girl with all the Gifts was the relationship between Melanie and Miss Justineau, the strength of this books is how everyone acts and reacts to Steven. I’m not sure every writer could make you like for characters like these – they’re all flawed, carrying their own agendas, and making decisions that put everyone else at risk. But as he did in the Girl with all the Gifts, M.R. Carey pulls it off with ease.
Yep, I recommend this one. One of the best of the new books I’ve read recently. If I was in the business of giving out stars it’d be 4 out 5 – I’ve docked it a star because the plot is pretty much the same as the first.
So what do you think? Have you read it? Did you like it? Would you recommend it? Is it as good as the first?
Let me know in the comments!
In case you want to check it out, here’s my review of the first one – probably a bit better than this one: