How excited was I for this book?
I read Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts last year and thought it was one of the best thrillers I’d read for a long time. I rarely read horror, especially zombie novels, but it was one of my favourite books of 2016. Needless to say, when I heard Carey was writing another book in that universe, I preordered it immediately.
(I preordered the ebook, which some people might think is a bit stupid, but I bloody love ebooks.)
The Boy on the Bridge was described not as a sequel but as taking place in the same world as that of The Girl With All the Gifts. Having read it, I would definitely say it counts as a prequel. It follows the story of the crew of Rosie – remember Rosie, that portable laboratory thing that Caldwell was so excited to find? – and the initial discovery of Melanie’s particular brand of Hungries.
Sadly, I have to admit I was disappointed. Carey’s original story was so fast-paced and exciting. It was exactly the kind of book people mean when they say ‘a real page-turner’. The Boy on the Bridge didn’t have that same urgency. I found it too wordy in places and found myself skipping entire paragraphs because I felt they were just unnecessary to the plot.
It was slow to start: within the first half of the book, I was actually pretty bored. The only parts I really enjoyed were when a particular member of the crew was out hiding among the Hungries, to study them – those moments were much more tense and they reminded me of scenes from The Girl With All the Gifts that got my heart racing. However, these moments were few and far between.
I was hoping it would pick up soon but it wasn’t until I was over halfway through that I started to be genuinely interested in what was happening. I wanted to know more about what was going on in Beacon, and the ending was definitely thrilling. However, I still didn’t have that strong urge to keep turning the pages like I did with the original.
It wasn’t a bad book – there were times when I gasped and widened my eyes and was worried for the characters. It’s just that I was just expecting so much more. I definitely didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as The Girl With All the Gifts and for a while, I really didn’t like it and was having to force myself to keep picking it up. However, by the time I’d finished, I was really enjoying it and was really intrigued by the epilogue and the questions it raised. I’m glad I stuck with it to the end – but it definitely felt like I was stuck at times!