From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world.
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.
The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Publication Date: May 2, 2017 by Orbit Books
Okay, first this book warrants some clarification to avoid disappointing masses of future readers. The Boy on the Bridge is neither a prequel nor a sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts. While The Boy on the Bridge deals with the same subject matter (i.e. zombies versus scientists!), one does not need to read The Girl with All the Gifts in order to understand this newest novel (or vice versa).
Keeping that disclaimer in mind, I will say I was disappointed with M.R. Carey’s newest novel. I went into it expecting some sort of connection with The Girl with All the Gifts and like many others have stated in their reviews, I became a bit panicked thinking that I had forgotten about characters when really, this book is a complete stand alone novel and has nothing to do with the plot or characters in The Girl with All the Gifts.
The Boy on the Bridge moves MUCH more slowly than its predecessor and I found it hard to continue reading at times since I felt like the plot came to a stand still towards the middle of the book. While I don’t always need nor anticipate a lot of action in my novels, I do expect a bit more from a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic Britain overrun by hungries and no known cure. While things started to pick up for the second half, I was a bit let down by the awkward pacing of the storyline as a whole and the ending only slightly made up for my earlier frustrations.
While the characters in the novel do slowly begin to show their individual personalities in the second half of the book, I never felt fully connected to any of them. The book begins with Dr. Khan, but awkwardly transitions into narrations by Stephen Greaves, a teenaged boy who exhibits clear signs of severe autism. I found myself confused by this switch and it never felt like Dr. Khan’s character fully developed after that. The other cast of characters were more one-dimensional and I had a hard time initially figuring out one person from another. While the reader does slowly come to learn a bit more about individuals and their back stories and personalities, no one ever felt as fully developed and well-rounded as the characters in The Girl with All the Gifts.
I do think this book could have potentially been more enjoyable if I hadn’t read The Girl with All the Gifts prior and if I also hadn’t begun my reading thinking the two novels were connected in any way. While the second half did make up a bit for the messiness of the first part of the story, I’m still feeling conflicted about the book as a whole. I’d definitely recommend The Girl with All the Gifts over The Boy on the Bridge for those looking for a “smarter” zombie storyline, but perhaps my judgement is just overshadowed by the order in which I read these two.
Thank you, Netgalley and Orbit for allowing me the opportunity to read The Boy on the Bridge before its publication date in exchange for an honest review!