Book Reviews

The Boy On The Bridge by M. R. Carey Book Review

boy on bridge review

  • The Boy On The Bridge.
  • M. R.Carey.
  • 392 pages.
  • Horror / Fiction / Zombie / Post-Apocalyptic.
  • My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.


Book Blurb:

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.

Book Review:

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Boy on the Bridge is the set in the same world as The Girl With All The Gifts. I haven’t actually read the previous book, or even seen the film that is based upon it. As such, apart from knowing that it would contain zombies, I went into reading The Boy on the Bridge completely blind.

Well, after finishing, and in my opinion, I can say that The Boy on the Bridge acts perfectly well as a standalone, Carey explains all that you need to know, and the fact that I hadn’t read The Girl With All The Gifts didn’t lessen my pleasure at all. If you’re like me and haven’t yet read The Girl With All The Gifts, don’t worry about it, you can easily find lots to enjoy in this book.

Following the trail left by a previous expedition a year ago in the Charles Darwin, the Rosalind Franklin and her crew, deemed the last hope for humanity are sent out from Beacon (on the south coast of England) to journey towards the Scottish Highlands, searching for answers to the Cordyceps virus, continuing to research the plague that turns humans into hungries (Carey’s version of zombies) by collecting the caches of specimen cultures left in various locations, each specimen was left to grow in organic material from that specific location, and could hold the clue to unravelling and stopping the Cordyceps virus. All the while oblivious to the political machinations and scheming going on back at Beacon.

It seems appropriate that emotions should have recoil in the same way guns do, because after all they’re just as dangerous. 

Suffice to say, along their route to the Scottish Highlands, things don’t go according to plan for the group. You know by now that I stay away from spoilers, and due to that, I won’t go into further detail or elaborate, the story told by Carey is best experienced along with the crew of the Rosie as you undertake the journey with them, through the hard lessons to be learned and some even harder choices to be made.

The two ruling bodies of Beacon, the Main Table (civilian council) and the Muster (military) chose a team that consists of twelve people in total, two separate groups of six. The science team led by the civilian commander Dr Alan Fournier, who is responsible for the overall success of the mission and includes, Samrina Khan, Lucien Akimwe, John Sealey, Elaine Penny and Stephen Greaves. While the military escort is led by Colonel Isaac Carlisle and includes Lt Daniel McQueen, Lance-Bombardier Kat Foss, Private Brendan Lutes, Private Paula Sixsmith and finally Private Gary Phillips. Together they make for an interesting and varied group, especially with the dynamic and the differences between them. Take for example the two leaders, Fournier is a self-serving cowardly bastard, he hides behind his title of ‘civilian commander‘ to issue orders and stay inside Rosie out of harms way, looking out for himself and the eventual plaudits he’ll receive when/if Rosie returns to Beacon. While Colonel Isaac Carlisle is a stickler for doing things the right way, by the book, they are two sides of a coin that you just know will sooner or later come to blows.

A decade after the Cordyceps virus turned the world to ruin (for those unfamiliar, Cordyceps is the pathogen/virus that infects humans near instantaneously after exposure). We find the world to be a bleak and desolate landscape, and the threat of danger in the form of hungries is ever present. It is a struggle to get by, to endure in the grim world that Carey has created.

The Boy on the Bridge features Feral children, second generation hungries, or as McQueen eloquently puts it during the book ‘goblins‘. They are tenacious, vicious little horrors who certainly ramp up the terror and dread. These children unlike the first generation adult hungries who are just mindless eating machines, show awareness and process of thought, they aren’t just unthinking husks of former humans, and could hold a major breakthrough in finding a cure for the Cordyceps virus.

Predominantly confined to the small space of Rosie, apart from the various excursions to obtain the samples (which hardly ever go well) over months and miles, and on an arduous journey. The relationships amidst the characters start to deteriorate, to fragment and erode. Not just between the civilian and military factions, but also amongst each other, and you watch, as in the melting pot of Rosie, due to the aftermath of events, tensions begin to fray, the strain takes hold, secrets and prejudice are revealed, building to the inevitable self destruction and implosion of the group.

The book is told from multiple perspectives. Undoubtedly for me, Stephen Greaves is the best character, offering a unique and interesting perspective due to his autism. He is very clever, also having an eidetic memory (eidetic memory is the ability to recall detailed images from memory that are vivid with extreme clarity and accuracy).

He had already learned to read, but now he learned the pleasure of stories which is like no other pleasure – the experience of slipping sideways into another world and living there for as long as you want to.

The Boy on the Bridge is both story and character driven, both propel the story forward, and it’s down to both of these aspects together that make the book such an engrossing read. The pacing is good throughout, Carey knows how to write a quality story and draw you in.

Pain has no agenda at all. It teaches us nothing, except what hurts. And if you can’t avoid the things that hurt then what use is the lesson?

The Boy on the Bridge has a serious and sombre tone, this is a thinking person’s zombie book, comprised of harsh and heartbreaking moments, it’s a gripping, deep and thoughtful read.


Pre-Order The Boy On The Bridge (released May 2nd US & May 4th UK).

Amazon UK  /  Amazon US  /  The Book Depository


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43 thoughts on “The Boy On The Bridge by M. R. Carey Book Review

  1. What a coincidence! I just finished reading it yesterday 🙂 and agree with you that it can be read as a standalone: the author does indeed flesh out this world enough that a new reader has no problem finding his/her way in here. Nonetheless I believe the ending requires knowledge of the previous book to be enjoyed fully…
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t disagree with you, the title doesn’t sound awesome, I think that’s one of the reasons I never bothered with The Girl With All The Gifts, it just never appealed and the title didn’t grab me, if I hadn’t been sent this I wouldn’t have read it, but I was, decided to give it a go and really enjoyed it. Nice that it was deeper than a lot of zombie books.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I will eventually get to these……the most famous reader last words ever!😂

      I really enjoyed it, deep for a zombie book, and to say the first never appealed to me, can’t say I’d have picked this up or read it if it hadn’t been sent unsolicited, but it was, and I did, happy days.😀

      Side note, I’ve just been through and thanked people for sharing the review on Twitter, noticed you hadn’t, or for the tag the other day, I got tired with blogging, hence that long rambling post I wrote about it, and thanking on social media was one of the things, as people were moaning about it clogging up the feed, etc, can’t please everyone, but I’m still getting over the whole ‘not feeling’ blogging, somedays it’s all good, others more boo, blogging, but I realised it could be seen as rude to not tag people and say ‘thanks for sharing’ which was something I always did before.

      Anyhow, point is, if I’ve ever wrote anything that offended you, it wasn’t intentional, sarcasm is always just fun and banter, and I guess, I just want you to know that the shares were always appreciated even though I’d stopped thanking you and others for a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do appreciate that Drew! But to be honest any missed shares have been unintentional as I am still recovering from the pneumonia and trying to get back in the swing of work. Still not breathing my best and exhausted. Needless to say, my head is not it that well at the moment. Not sure which tag I missed, but will be happy to share this review now in case it was the one missed 🙂 You do not have to personally thank me though. That is ok 🙂 I share to share and for nothing more. I know it can be impossible to thank everybody.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The tag was the blogger stats tag, Liz did the same one yesterday, I posted it on Sunday. The only reason I noticed was that since I updated the android system on my phone it notifys me for everything, everything, sigh (I’ve been too lazy to change it yet), and when I was replying to comments a notification popped up that books, tea and vertigo had liked the post, guess I just thought it was strange that then there was no comment as we normally always comment on each others posts, and I was questioning myself whether I’d wrote some sarcastic comment that was meant as a joke and had offended you, guess I just wanted to apologise for my own piece of mind.😀 Damn it, is apologising nice? We’d better keep that to ourselves I have my reputation to uphold.😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t wait to read this one now! You really need to read Girl with all the Gifts since you enjoyed this one. I recommend the movie as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Girl with all the Gifts is absolutely fantastic. I’m well out of my zombie obsession and still loved it. I wasn’t sure if this book would be a direct sequel or not, so I’ve been passing over it at the bookshop, but I think I’ll go ahead and pick it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and it’s not odd, we all like different things, zombie books aren’t something that I usually read or enjoy, I’ve read a trilogy and a single book in the genre, both were great as they had decent characters and were deeper than normal for the genre, this one is added to the list too now, not much action with deep characterisation and a deeper than normal story. I actually prefer zombie TV shows, The Walking Dead and Z-Nation to books, so I was pleased I enjoyed this, been a few years since I read a zombie book, but they usually just involve a group of people running around trying to stay alive.😂


    1. No I didn’t post about it, didn’t see the need as I only changed the graphics and not the theme (well, it’s the new version of the same theme, name and picture are swapped around that’s all the difference). A while ago, I did it when I was feeling fed up with blogging and just thought it was different, I think the jury is out on people liking it or not but I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, pretty cool that it can be read as a stand-alone. I’ve been meaning to read the first one since the hype around it first rose from the dead. Since I don’t have both books, I guess I’d be better off starting with the one that intrigued me first huh? 😀 While you do say that this one can be read as a stand-alone, do you think that having read the first book, however, would make it even better? Even a little?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh if you haven’t got either I’d definitely suggest reading the first one first, it’s the sensible thing to do, alas, we are male and aren’t always sensible!😂

      Yeah, having read the first one would definitely improve it, there’s a bit in the book with a character from the first book, I picked it up and was like ‘ah, that’d be someone from the first book) but it was just that, if you’d read the first book you’d get the emotional pull of seeing that character again.

      Liked by 1 person

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