The Boy on the Bridge Audiobook
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The Boy on the Bridge audiobook free
A crew of military and civilian workers traverses the post-apocalyptic world to take samples from the hungries and try to discover something groundbreaking to create a cure. They operate and travel in Rosie, an armored cross between a tank and an RV with small living quarters, weapons, and a lab. Its crew is plagued with lies, secrets, politics, and resentments becoming more toxic by the day. Pregnant Samrina Khan feels very protective of Stephen Greaves, an exceptional boy largely dismissed by the rest of the crew. He goes on unsanctioned journeys with untested inventions and eventually discovers something lifechanging, but the crew would never believe him. He keeps the information to himself until he has something concrete, but doesn’t think about how this could effect the others around him.
The Boy on the Bridge is a prequel and slight sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts. Melanie and her crew stumble onto Rosie in the latter book and it’s nice to fill in what happened and then tie the two stories together. This book is just as addictive as the first with just as varied characters. Stephen had an extremely traumatic chidhood where his parents were killed by hungries and their corpses protected him from discovery. As an older child, he has odd behaviors such as avoiding eye contact and physical contact with other people. He views things analytically and keeps his emotions separate. With his brilliance, photographic memory, and scientific curiosity, Stephen developed the e-blocker that masks human scent from hungries. Stephen seems to be somewhere on the autism sprectrum, but it’s never explicitly stated. I felt for him because of how easily the rest of the crew dismisses him. However, he made some pretty terrible decisions that put everyone at risk.
The rest of the crew is a hodgepodge of people who don’t get along. Colonel Carlisle is in command and makes confident decisions with little input from anyone else. His past is full of mistakes like firebombing civilians at the beginning of the outbreak and everyone at least internally calls his command into question. Lieutenant McQueen is a hot headed soldier who follows orders only to the letter with a big dose of disdain if he thinks he knows better. The civilian leader Dr. Fournier undermines the entire operation with secret communication to Beacon, their base, and orders to delay so a coup won’t be interrupted. He’s completely willing to even sacrifice lives to garner a little bit of favor from a general. Of course he doesn’t get along with any of the military as they exclude him in any decision making and in general. These tensions explode (mostly because of big egos) during the course of the story and make situations even worse.
There are two types of hungries here. The first is the mindless type that go into stasis with no stimuli. Sound, smell, movement, and body heat make them return to consciousness and attack whatever caught their attention. As heliotropes, they face the sun in their stasis and move with it. At night, movement and smell of nocturnal animals keep them active. Extreme temperatures have little effect on them and only destroying the brain will kill them. Two theories seem to be plausible about the people they used to be; either they are trapped inside the mind without the ability to control their body or they simply lose all sense of self. These types of hungries almost seem alien after the more intelligent type seen in both this novel and its predecessor. The second iteration of them can communicate, use tools, reason, and organize in groups. Physically, their bodies are the same as the normal ones and their brains are completely different as shown with Stephen’s experiments. The fungus was introduced to their bodies before they are developed, thus retaining about half of the brain chemicals and function. These being between hungry and human are fascinating and it seems that they are still a mystery even though more is explained about their state.
The Boy on the Bridge isn’t quite as good as The Girl with All the Gifts, but it’s close. The latter has a much bigger scope because its events affected all of humanity. This former is on a smaller scale, but gave a better look at the past. The characters were pretty frustrating all around and I didn’t connect to them as well. The writing is wonderful as usual and I was engaged for the entire story. The interesting mix of human drama, zombies, and science drew me in. I would love another book to come out as a full sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts.
The Boy on the Bridge audiobook Series The Girl with All the Gifts
The Girl with all the Gifts turned out to be an unexpectedly brilliant read and while I had high hopes for sequel/prequel The Boy on the Bridge I will confess I also had some doubts. Did we really need another book, could it ever be as good? The answers to both of those questions is a very definite YES!!!
This has all of the elements that made The Girl with all the Gifts so wonderful (and is fairly similar in terms of plot) but, if like me the first book left you with a lot of questions, this is the story with the answers… well some of them.
It’s very much a character driven story as it follows a team of scientists and their military escort as they set out on an expedition in an armored lab on wheels (with a very familiar name) to try and find something that will help them fight the infection that has destroyed the world. This is a long trip with not a lot of personal space for the crew so as you may expect tensions rise. Add to that the split between the civilian scientists and the military, different beliefs and a mixture of personalities and there is almost more conflict amongst themselves than with the hungries.
The story is told from the point of view of the various members of the team giving different perspectives on the same events but also giving a real insight into the reasons for their actions. In the beginning I did struggle to remember who was who (my feeble brain struggles with lots of names even with the handily provided list) but I soon came to recognize each of the individual voices.
Some characters and personalities do feel a little familiar but the youngest member of the team Stephen Greaves is truly unique and absolutely fascinating to read. His brain doesn’t work the way everyone else’s does making him a bit of an outcast from the others and the one who’s either going to save everyone or get them all killed. He could be a genius or he could just be a very troubled and traumatized child and he’s ostracized by almost all of the crew who view him as the latter.
Unsurprisingly given the mission of the team and the number of scientists there is a lot more science in this story. It’s incredibly detailed and well thought out, explaining how the infection began and it’s effects on the host but I have to confess it became a little too heavy for me at times and lost me. It is interesting to learn more about the hungries and their behavior, and I’m sure those more knowledgeable about biology and chemistry will find it fascinating, but it was a little too much for me and I may have skimmed a little.
Even with this focus on the science and the characters, there is enough action to keep the story moving forward and the reader on their toes. There are moments of extreme violence (some which made me squirm), they’re generally sudden, unexpected and over quickly but have a lot of impact. There are all of the best zombie story tropes and it raises those intriguing ethical dilemmas around sacrificing for the greater good and following orders which will leave you pondering whether the characters actions are right or wrong and just what you would do in that situation.
I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a fast paced story, it’s a little slow in places but there is a gradual build in tension throughout and the ending when it comes is absolutely jaw dropping. Those characters who I wasn’t too fussed about had somehow snuck their way in and I was truly invested in what happened to them and without spoilers, it was horrifying, heartbreaking and absolutely wonderful. And, I kinda want more….
Overall, this is an incredibly well written and intelligent story with a focus very much on the characters. It’s a little heavier on the science than I would like but the ending more than makes up for any quibbles I may have had along the way. If you read and enjoyed The Girl with all the Gifts I’d really recommend you read this.
Audiobook The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
anticipation – and I wasn’t disappointed. A companion novel rather than a sequel, this is the story of the crew of the Rosalind Franklin and their epic mission to gather samples of the infected from around the country in hope of finding a cure to the hungry plague. This doesn’t go as planned, and their tense journey is riven from the outset by personal and political differences that may prove, in the end, as fatal as the plague itself.
I have a huge soft spot for motley crews in untenable situations, especially when they have deep divisions to overcome. While Boy won’t win awards for original characters (they’re all well-worn archetypes, including the eponymous boy), Carey imbues them with a respectable sort of humanity – even when I didn’t like them, I believed in them – and could be surprised by them. As they trundle around the UK in search of a cure, the novel is often tense, sometimes harrowing and arguably entirely by the numbers – but as with Girl it transcends its tropes and stereotypes to work on its own terms.
Audio The Boy on the Bridge narrated by Finty Williams
If you’re going to write a book that jetisons character development and composition in pursuit of a fast paced rollicking plot then you’ better have a fast passed rollicking plot. Unfortunately this plods a little. There is a thin line between creating tension and frustration. There is a thin line between building suspense and tedium. Too often this sequel falls over the line. The book is populated by a crew of star trek red shirts that you care little about, infact it’s a relief when they start to be bumped off and you can start to differentiate between them. Too many plot lines are progressed through convenient coincidence or implausible decisions or implausible science and after a while it grates. I read it quickly though, only partly because I wanted to get on to something else, it did keep me engaged, it is part of TGWATG universe, interesting but not as engrossing. The epilogue was lovely though and I’d definitely read the book that expanded on that chapter.
Free audio The Boy on the Bridge – in the audio player below
I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts (and the film, which I thought was well done) so was hoping this would be equally good. I still can’t decide whether or not it measures up.
As with the gifts book, this is well written with believable characters and setting. I like seeing the story develop through the voices of the different characters. It just seemed to take a while to get going, if that makes sense? Nothing much seemed to happen for a good third of the book at least. Yes there were the hungries, there were the inevitable tensions amongst the crew and the split between the military and the scientists, which all kept the plot flowing. Plus the secrets people were keeping. But I didn’t really feel invested in the book until as I say about a third in. From there I was much more hooked, and really enjoyed the rest of the novel. I always feel that words like ‘liked’ or ‘enjoyed’ don’t really do a book justice, sorry!
I think this is going to go on the ‘to read again’ pile and I will edit this review as needed.
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