The Boy on the Bridge
by M.R. Carey
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.
I absolutely loved “The Girl with All the Gifts“, it’s up there in my favourite books of all time and I would recommend it to anyone. So I was really excited when this book came out. Said to be a prequel, I was looking forward to falling in love with this world all over again.
Maybe my expectations were set too high. Maybe I’ve changed as a reader since reading the first book 2 years ago. Maybe I was too invested in Melanie and Miss Justineau to connect with anyone else. I don’t really know what happened, but I really didn’t love “The Boy on the Bridge” at all.
“The Boy on the Bridge” is set about 20 years before we meet Melanie and I think you’d need to have read the first to understand what’s happening here. The main focus is on the crew of the Rosalind Franklin, a mobile lab. Coming from a survivor camp called Beacon, they aim to investigate the hungries and search for anything that will help them understand the disease. Yes, this is a zombie book!
Unfortunately I found that I couldn’t connect with the majority of the characters and at many points in the book I was confused as to who was who, mixing up roles, genders and what they were supposed to be doing. A lot of the book is them yelling and arguing over what they should be doing while obliviously running into the danger. They were stupid and I really didn’t care too much when a few of them died (I think partly because I didn’t know who they were!).
That said, Dr Khan and her ‘adopted son’ Steven were characters that I did really feel for and the only two I really cared about. Steven is autistic and he’s amazing. Having previously invented the e-blocker gel that had already saved thousands of lives, he’s now looking for something more.
Unlike the first book, I found this to be quite slow moving and there wasn’t enough action happening to keep me fully engaged. There was very little tension building, nothing to keep me guessing and it lacked the vivid description I craved from book one. There was a lot of talking (shouting) and not much doing but, determined to like it, I kept plodding along until the end. But I’m sad to say that it didn’t improve for me. I don’t even want to talk about the ending, it made me so so angry!
Overall rating: I’m sad to say that “The Boy on the Bridge” didn’t offer much in terms of action so for me it was a little bland and slow. The characters weren’t all that likeable and many of them were forgettable. While I appreciate getting to fill in the gaps in the background to Melanie’s story, this has nothing on the first book and left me feeling really disappointed. It’s 2 stars from me.
See my other reviews of books by M.R. Carey here: