First things first: if it’s been a while since you’ve read The Girl With All The Gifts, you should probably re-read it or at least give it a skim. I ended up having to reference The Girl With All The Gifts a few times to be able to properly set The Boy on the Bridge within its timeline. Also, there are spoilers forÂ The Girl With All The Gifts inÂ The Boy on the Bridge and in this review. If you haven’t read it… what are you waiting for? Go! Read it!
As I’ve read before in previous reviews, I adore M. R. Carey (who also writes as Mike Carey). AndÂ The Boy on the Bridge doesn’t disappoint. It’s as richly written and engrossing as the rest of his novels, and I was so glad to be back in this bleak, post-apocalyptic world.
The Boy on the Bridge is interwoven, in a way, with the timeline ofÂ The Girl With All The Gifts, but is mostly set before the events of the first novel in the series. A team of scientists and military protection are sent out from Beacon, the last settlement in England uninfected by the cordyceps fungus that’s turned humanity into zombies, called hungries, in an armored vehicle. Their mission is to collect samples and data that will help them cure or at least innoculate the remaining humans against the fungus, but that mission isn’t going well. And in the meantime, they discover a whole new type of hungry: children who are infected but can still function somewhat as humans.
Sound familiar?Â The Boy on the Bridge is about how children like Melanie inÂ The Girl With All The Gifts are discovered.
Much like the first book in the series,Â The Boy on the Bridge is almost claustrophobically intimate, focusing on a few of the characters trapped inside their tank. Carey is a master at taking characters with vastly different motivations and thought processes and showing the reader how those characters workÂ against each other and, ultimately, together to survive and getÂ their newfound knowledge into the right hands.
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. The plot is paced perfectly, rising to a crescendo that made me need to take a couple of laps around the house to catch my breath and burn off some of the tension. The characters are richly developed, even the “bad” guys, and no one feels like a stock character, even if they play a very minor part. Even though I just finished this one, I’m already looking forward to re-reading the whole series. This is a fantastic book.
Content warnings:Â View Spoiler »There’s mention of rape, though none depicted. There is also a pregnancy, childbirth, and some potentially upsetting stuff dealing with the baby and other children. « Hide Spoiler