THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE
M R CAREY
The Boy on the Bridge is a prequel to The Girl with all the Gifts, following the story of the research crew on board the Rosalind Franklin, an armoured truck sent out to the wastelands of the Hungry-plague ridden world to collect samples and find a resistance or cure to the upcoming extinction of the human race. Tensions run high as the mixture of 12 soldiers and scientists are enclosed in a small space as the apocalypse rages around them – can they fulfill their mission?
It has been a while since I read The Girl with all the Gifts but I thought it was a great book and was really excited to get an ARC of this one. I must admit I did a quick plot synopsis refresh of The Girl on Wikipedia and I’m really glad I did so as The Boy on the Bridge is very much the second book in the series, even though it’s a prequel. Up until it’s epilogue I thought it might work as a stand-alone story, albeit one with a little less information about the Hungry Plague itself and without the added tension of knowing the fate of those onboard Rosie already. The epilogue I thought was particularly odd as not only did it stop the book from becoming a stand-alone, it also seemed to tie up loose ends and stop the need for another book in the series – before reading it I was excited for the next one, possibly set in Beacon. I’m not quite sure where the author will go next or if there will be another book after this one.
The plot is well written with a good mix of slow-moving tension inside Rosie and big dramatic scenes outside. The hungry are well portrayed and as the first one, there are some truly chilling moments. One of the problems is that there is quite a broad range of characters caught in a small space which is great in terms of plot and building tension but it’s quite hard as a reader to keep them all in your head and remember who is who. The young autistic boy, Stephen Greaves and scientist Samrina Khan are well-developed and interesting characters but a lot of the others fade into the background. Soldiers McQueen and Carlisle are both supposed to be main characters and enemies but in truth I found their characters to be very similar, and I got them mixed up a lot.
As a reader I found myself racing through this book in parts and also screaming (in my head, honest) at certain characters to just stop keeping secrets and tell other crew members important information that they needed to know. However, this never felt out of character or for no reason other than advance the plot; you understood their motivations and reasons behind keeping quiet even if you didn’t necessarily agree with them.
Overall I enjoyed The Boy on the Bridge just as much as Girl with all the Gifts - it’s a great take on the zombie-apocalypse genre and a tension filled, action packed read. I highly recommend it and thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown Book Group for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.