The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

The Boy on the Bridge

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....

Title:The Boy on the Bridge
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0316300330
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:392 pages

The Boy on the Bridge Reviews

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    May 06, 2017

    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Well, the question of whether M.R. Carey could catch lightning in a bottle twice has been answered. Not that I had doubted it much, but while The Girl with All the Gifts was met with much acclaim, I’d made sure to temper my expectations for its follow-up companion novel in the months up to its release. Given the infuriatingly vague publisher description, and with the newness of the whole idea, there were just way too man

    4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Well, the question of whether M.R. Carey could catch lightning in a bottle twice has been answered. Not that I had doubted it much, but while The Girl with All the Gifts was met with much acclaim, I’d made sure to temper my expectations for its follow-up companion novel in the months up to its release. Given the infuriatingly vague publisher description, and with the newness of the whole idea, there were just way too many unknowns.

    Thankfully, The Boy on the Bridge came through with flying colors. It might not have been quite as fresh as the original, simply because we know so much more about the world now, but the book still had plenty of surprises in store. Here’s what I can tell you: The Boy on the Bridge is something of a prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts but it can be read as a standalone (though I still highly recommend reading the books in their publication order). The world has been ravaged by the Cordyceps plague, turning much of its population into “Hungries” — effectively just another term for the walking dead. And yet, humanity still has hope that it will find a cure, sending scientists and other brilliant minds into the wild to see if they can bring back any helpful information.

    The story follows one such expedition, made up of the scientists and soldiers of the Rosalind Franklin. Affectionately nicknamed Rosie, the armored tank/motor home/mobile laboratory is specifically built for many months of travel through the Hungries-infested wasteland that Britain has become. The key characters include Dr. Samrina Khan, the team epidemiologist, as well as an autistic boy named Stephen Greaves who is ostensibly accompanying her as her assistant. Though Stephen’s presence is unorthodox to say the least, none of the other scientists are about to question Dr. Khan’s insistence that the young man is special or that he can bring invaluable insights to their mission. Six soldiers are also along for the ride, charged with protecting the Rosie and her precious cargo of civilians, scientific equipment, and biological samples.

    However, just a few weeks after their departure, Dr. Khan receives some life-changing news. But it’s too late to turn back now; she and her colleagues have a job to do, and the future of everyone—including the next generation—rests upon any useful data they can bring back.

    If you were like me and found yourself completely in awe of the world in The Girl with All the Gifts, then you’re in for a treat. This prequel explores many aspects that were only lightly touched upon in the original book, and with the Breakdown still fresh enough on people’s minds, there’s a noticeable difference in the overall attitudes of the characters. While it would be a stretch to call this a happier book, the prevailing mood at the beginning is arguably still one of hope and measured optimism, and that despite the horrors the world has seen, humanity believes it can save itself and make everything right again. After all, this is what the Rosie was meant for, and in a strange way, the armored vehicle almost becomes a character in its own right, symbolizing that conviction.

    Gradually though, the hope fades, followed by a stifling sense of desperation. Confine a group of scientists and a group of military personnel into the same claustrophobic small space for months on end, and you’re guaranteed to get some kind of friction. Throw in the pressures of their mission and the threat of Hungries and junkers, it’s a wonder that the team has survived together this long at all. While Dr. Samrina Khan and Stephen Greaves may have gotten the most attention simply based on amount of page-time, the ten other characters on board the Rosie also have their own personal background stories and fleshed-out personalities, leading to a lot of interesting dynamics. This aspect sets The Boy on the Bridge apart, enhancing the story with side-plots dealing with complicated friendships and enmities and details of secret alliances and betrayals.

    Keeping in mind that all the events in The Girl with All the Gifts are still in the future, there’s also a lot the world doesn’t know yet, so the fears of the Rosie crew are understandable. If you’ve read the first book, this is where the mystery loses a bit of its grip, but it’s still easy to see how the stresses caused by the strange happenings can start to take their toll, once you put yourself in the characters’ shoes. The real shockers are all left for the end, because even though we already know that the Rosie will bring home no cure to save the world, it’s the whys and the hows of it that will ultimately be the most revealing. In fact, in some ways this makes the ending feel even darker and more unsettling, especially once the realization hits that everything we know about this world had rested on the outcome of this novel.

    Whether you’re picking up The Boy on the Bridge as a newcomer or because you’re a fan of The Girl with All the Gifts, this one will be a fascinating tale guaranteed to pull you in. Highly recommended.

  • karen
    Mar 25, 2017

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!!

    the bleak philosophy of the post-apocalyptic world:

    i’m sure this is something i knew and just forgot in the period between when i first heard about this book and when i got m

    NOW AVAILABLE!!!!

    the bleak philosophy of the post-apocalyptic world:

    i’m sure this is something i knew and just forgot in the period between when i first heard about this book and when i got my hands on an arc, but this book is a prequel to

    . got that?? a PREQUEL. so don’t be like me, spending the first 2/3 of the book in a state of panic, fretting that you’ve forgotten characters’ relationships to each other during the three/four years' worth of books you've read since then, struggling to even remember what happened in

    beyond the very memorable stuff, because for the most part, none of that matters. there’s an exciting little blip of an event at the end that ties the two books together, and no doubt there are smaller connections that will be noticed by readers who have read these closer together, but i can personally reassure you that they are seasoning only, and forgetting details from the first book will not hinder your appreciation of this one.

    phew.

    all the stuff that made the first book so much fun is back - the nom nom of the zombies, or ‘hungries,’ and the specific traits and mode-of-contagion that make them stand out from other literary nom noms. however, like all the best books in this particular genre, the zombies aren’t the main focus here. they’re certainly present, as obstacles to maneuver around, as threats that will infect or eat you, as constant reminders of “this is what happens to our dead now,” but they are far from the only threat in a world where humans have been thrust into survival mode, caught in the transition between the social codes that worked back when the world was more civilized and the newly brutal necessities of surviving.

    the scope is small - it focuses upon the passengers of the rosalind franklin, a tricked-out, armored motor home known affectionately as “rosie.” in her claustrophobic quarters, five scientists, six military personnel, and a fifteen-year-old boy named stephen are in the middle of a fifteen-month mission, departing from the english town of beacon (nod to gwatg) into scotland, collecting data left in caches by previous expeditions along the way, and gathering fresh specimens of their own in order to understand the phenomenon and hopefully find a cure. stephen is a young genius with severe social anxiety, the inventor of e-blocker gel; the goop that prevents zombies from smelling tasty human prey, but he is still seen as a liability by the soldiers on board the rosie, as he has a tendency to wander off, single-mindedly pursuing his own research, keeping his findings to himself. he’s a part of the science team while being completely independent, his only viable relationship is with dr. samrina khan; the woman who rescued him after both his parents died, and the only one allowed to touch him, if only with the tip of her finger. she loves stephen and feels responsible for him, but she’s somewhat distracted by an unexpected pregnancy, unsure what will happen when her baby comes, and the state of the world she is bringing new life into.

    well-armed and -trained men and women, brilliant scientists, and a teenage savant heading out into the wastes to save the world. seems pretty promising. however, people are people, and even with one goal to unite them, there’s plenty to divide them - the strain of close quarters, sexual dalliances, power plays, resentment, questionable reputations, the threat of aggressive bands of junkers, the choice between following orders vs. making informed decisions, the pressure of saving the human race from inevitable destruction, and one person in secret communication with beacon, being issued orders that might not have the team’s best interests in mind.

    and then the game changes.

    in carey’s imagining, the undead are mindless, static until they sense a warm meal.

    on one of stephen’s unsanctioned journeys, he discovers a band of feral children who display the inhuman speed and predatory characteristics of the hungries, but the communication, strategy and mental acuity of humans. which discovery he, naturally, keeps to himself for his own investigations.

    and that’s when things get really messy.

    i’m pretty sure this would be satisfying as a standalone, but it would be doing yourself a disservice to miss out on gwatg, since that one is SO MUCH FUN, and more action-y overall. this one takes its time to get going; developing characters, supplying backstory, setting the scene, which for me was slow going because half my brain was preoccupied with "am i supposed to remember these people? because i so don't remember these people!" but there's plenty of payoff, and i am hoping there's still more to come!

  • بهنام حاجی‌زاده
    Apr 06, 2017

    As the translator of the Persian edition, it was an honor to be able to read the proof copy and I enjoyed every word of it. Well, to be honest I was disappointed that I couldn't read more about Melanie, but the cast of characters, if not as diverse as

    (though with more characters), was amazingly put.

    The main character, Stephen, an autistic but brilliant boy; a bunch of soldiers (remember poor Gallagher and Parks!); and the science team. As always, I relished the char

    As the translator of the Persian edition, it was an honor to be able to read the proof copy and I enjoyed every word of it. Well, to be honest I was disappointed that I couldn't read more about Melanie, but the cast of characters, if not as diverse as

    (though with more characters), was amazingly put.

    The main character, Stephen, an autistic but brilliant boy; a bunch of soldiers (remember poor Gallagher and Parks!); and the science team. As always, I relished the character development as much as the story itself. The way Mr. Carey justifies their behaviour (at least in their own eyes) is simply amazing, showing the author's depth of human understanding.

    As with its predecessor,

    , in this book, too, we are faced with a post-apocalyptic Britain, suffering from the Breakdown and, of course, a bunch of flesh-hungry hungeries. Story unfolds smoothly and then with a bunch of fateful decisions, it steps into a new realm of crescendo.

    has more of human-human conflict than tGwAtG, making reading it somehow more intense as the conflicts build up and explosive oppositions follow. Once again we face with a story devoid of (or at the very least with the minimum of) classic protagonists, in that regard that each character, with his/her wish for survival, is the protagonist of his/her microcosm.

    Last but not least,

    may not have that much of intense excitement unlike many other books in the bookstores (like, for example,

    . Hell! That was fervorous!), but it's a pleasant descent from all those bloody battlegrounds to a battle fought within human's consciousness.

    Oh! And by the way, the way it ends... the way it ends...!

    ***

    بعد از پایان ترجمه نظرم رو به فارسی هم خواهم نوشت.

  • Liz Barnsley
    Apr 15, 2017

    So I’ve been waiting for this one in that way that I do, really patiently and without bugging anyone at ALL about it. Just sat here patiently waiting. No seriously!

    ANYWAY The Boy on the Bridge is tagged as The Girl with all the Gifts book 2 but it is not that, it is a brilliant companion novel set in the same world, you can read this perfectly easily as a standalone book, although there are some lovely little gifts (yes I did that) for you if you have read Girl first. You should do that anyway s

    So I’ve been waiting for this one in that way that I do, really patiently and without bugging anyone at ALL about it. Just sat here patiently waiting. No seriously!

    ANYWAY The Boy on the Bridge is tagged as The Girl with all the Gifts book 2 but it is not that, it is a brilliant companion novel set in the same world, you can read this perfectly easily as a standalone book, although there are some lovely little gifts (yes I did that) for you if you have read Girl first. You should do that anyway simply because it is brilliant. I’m reading it again right now in fact…

    Is “The Boy on the Bridge” as brilliant? Yes. You’ll get no argument from me, although it is brilliant in very different ways and for a whole host of new reasons. This is where I will struggle – because much like TGWATG I don’t want to give anything away. What the rather talented Mr Carey has done here is expand the entire sense of the world he built, given it form and function, with the help of some inspired characters and a kind of post apocalyptic road trip of highly charged emotional doom. Or redemption. You decide.

    I was so involved all the way through this book – I felt all the feelings and clutched my hair quite a lot, growled at the actions of a few, clung onto the edge of the actions of at least one and from the moment I started it I lost my grip on this reality and lived in that one. Mr Carey has a way of writing with such totally immersive prose that you do live every moment, sinking into it and travelling along with it. By the end I was wrung out and blimey what an end I got too, first the last few cliff hanging chapters that brought everything from before to an emotive and heart wrenching finish then if that wasn’t enough there’s a beautifully placed little aftershock.

    These really are the books I read for, the ones that for whatever reason, totally subjectively, grip you to the point that you know you’ll never forget them and will return to them to recapture that emotional tug they gave you the first time. The ones that will give that over and over no matter how many times you read them.

    The Girl with all the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge are such books for me – whether they would be for you or not I cannot tell but what I can do is recommend that you at least give it a try. Really. What’s the worst that could happen?

    Just a fantastic fascinating beautifully formed reading experience. All the love for this one. Both the boy and the girl hit me right in the reading soul.

    Highly Recommended. HIGHLY.

  • Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
    Apr 17, 2017

    I. Want. This. So. Bad.

  • Karl
    Apr 28, 2017

    This is an Advance Reading Copy

  • Jennifer
    May 02, 2017

    might be marketed as the sequel to

    or the second installment in a series by the same name, but please know that if it has to be classified as anything, it should really be a prequel.

    is se

    might be marketed as the sequel to

    or the second installment in a series by the same name, but please know that if it has to be classified as anything, it should really be a prequel.

    is set ten years prior to the events and characters in

    and can absolutely be read on its own. It's an open and closed story, but fans of

    will certainly get a little extra out of it since it takes you into that same [but earlier] postapocalyptic world, you might recognize a name or two (no cameos), and the ending reveals some interesting things about its predecessor.

    Admittedly, I was thoroughly confused when I started reading this book because of all the new characters (and my lack of knowledge about the sequel versus prequel thing). But after googling some trustworthy reviewers and interviews, I got myself situated and became easily engaged. All of the characters in this one have their own unique set of circumstances or even more unique personality and it was so, so easy to find investment in each of them. I didn't love this one quite as much as the first, maybe because of my initial confusion, but I did thoroughly enjoy it and will likely re-read at which point I am hopeful my rating will match the shining 5 stars I gave Melanie. If you are familiar with this world or if you aren't, this bit of

    hungries horror is for everyone. Check it out!

  • Pouting Always
    May 23, 2017

    Set in the same world as

    , this one follows a group of soldiers and scientists traveling out from London to find anything they can that will help create a cure to the plague. The story is taking place before

    and so a lot of the information that we have on the plague hasn't been found out yet. The team is traveling on the Rosalind Franklin, Rosie for short, and tracking down cache's made by an earlier expedition to see if any of the envir

    Set in the same world as

    , this one follows a group of soldiers and scientists traveling out from London to find anything they can that will help create a cure to the plague. The story is taking place before

    and so a lot of the information that we have on the plague hasn't been found out yet. The team is traveling on the Rosalind Franklin, Rosie for short, and tracking down cache's made by an earlier expedition to see if any of the environments proved inhospitable to the cordyceps as well as collecting tissue samples from Hungries, people who have been infected and changed. The story specifically revolves around Dr. Khan and Stephen more so than the rest of the team because Dr. Khan is pregnant and Stephen is the first to observe that children are different than adults infected by the virus. I enjoyed this one slightly less than the other one but only because I think that it dragged out in some places. There were parts of the book, especially towards the end where I started getting super anxious about having to keep reading because it felt like it wouldn't end. It might just be a personal thing but I just felt that some of the scenes could've been cut for the sake of pacing. That was my only complaint though, I really loved the writing and I think it's an excellent addition to the rest of the story. I read another book a few days ago about a zombie virus outbreak and the whole time I was reading this I couldn't help but notice how this was so much better. Carey clearly put a lot of time and thought into the story line and it really pays off, it comes of as being real and I got pulled into this one completely just as I did with

    .


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