“The Boy on the Bridge” by M.R. Carey (2017) Review

Ten years into a post-apocalyptic disaster that left the world scattered with infected humans coming back from the dead, a small science team has been tasked with researching and studying the lost human souls (or ‘hungries’ as they’re known in the book) in hopes of finding a cure. Things start to change though when one of the team members discovers a new type of infected in the form of a child.

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey is the second book set in the same universe but isn’t necessarily a sequel and rather a standalone story. Although I had seen the first film based on the first book The Girl with All the Gifts, I never felt as though I had to have read the first book for any prior knowledge etc.

Carey’s world-building and descriptive third person narrative was something I immediately relaxed into and loved. I have always struggled to find the right adult science fiction novel, away from my comfortable zone of young adult reading. Most adult novels I’ve come across can drag on with pages of information I personally would prefer to move on from. Carey’s writing style has given me hope as a reader that adult books can take things to the next step whether that be through style, structure or content, but not frustrate me every time I turn the page. I particularly enjoyed Carey’s narrative ‘voice’ as an author as expressed on the pages. He’s a clever writer and clearly loves to experiment with words and language. One of my favourite moments was when the character Greaves observed the behaviour of the ‘hungries’. The ‘zombie’ genre tends to become repetitive or lacklustre in the eyes of many, but Carey proves that there’s still so much more to explore in the genre.

Like The Girl with All the Gifts, The Boy on the Bridge is a word-of-mouth novel. I must admit, I had no idea what that meant initially in literature and storytelling. After a quick Google search, I discovered it meant that somebody tells another (in this case the reader) about an event or something of fiction. In The Boy on the Bridge, this ‘voice’ became another character. You might never know who they are but you still get to know them through their thoughts, comments, opinions and/or language. It was a fascinating narrative perspective that I’d never experienced before in storytelling or fiction and soon became enchanted by.

The Boy on the Bridge should be on everyone’s to be read list this year. Even if you tend to stay away from science fiction or post-apocalyptic tales, it’s exploration into what it means to be human is intense, emotional and real, keeping you engaged throughout the entire book.

4/5

Book supplied by Hachette NZ – (RRP: $34.99). Click here for details.

An extra little note… The cover photo was created by me with the images sourced online. I don’t claim ownership of the images, I just love to edit.