Two Audiobooks: “The Girl with All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey & “The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien

My reading experience with these audiobooks were vastly different. As I mentioned in my recent Weekend Reads post, I loved one but hated the other; however, both were a struggle to read since it’s hard to keep a rein on my mind to prevent it from wandering while listening to the story.

I guess my ratings of these books are questionable. I rate books based on how much I enjoyed them and what they made me feel, not necessarily if they are composed well, though I do consider that but not as highly as the enjoyment factor. With audiobooks, I also consider the narrator’s contribution to the work, and my rating reflects that, which is seen in my rating of The Two Towers. If I’d read the physical/e- book, I’d have given it a half star more.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, narr. by Finty Williams


Horror; sci-fi: dystopian

Goodreads summary:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

The Girl With All the Gifts

My thoughts:

I loved this story! 🙂

I didn’t expect to because I attempted to read the physical copy before but didn’t make much progress in it. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for the story at the time. However, I was immediately pulled into the story this time by Finty Williams’s narration. I love her voice and the voices she uses for the characters, and how she pronounces “fucking” when Ms. Justineau is speaking, which I know is weird but it sticks in my mind because Williams places a lot of emphasis on the “ck” part of the word which makes it sound so…juicy that I’d spend parts of my day including “fucking” in everything I say to see if I can get the pronunciation. (Yes, totally weird. I know.)

The slow buildup is what turned me off from the physical book and probably would have done the same with the audio version if not for Williams. But once I moved past the first couple pages (maybe it was the first chapter), I was immediately sucked in. The pace kicked up a bit as the plot gets moving when a breach occurs at the military base.

I like how the characters are thrown together and how the personalities play off each other as well. I couldn’t help myself: As the story progressed, I placed each of the main characters in Hogwarts houses (Melanie in Ravenclaw, Ms. Justineau in Gryffindor, Caldwell in Slytherin (though I guess she could be Ravenclaw), Sergeant Parks in Hufflepuff, and Private Gallagher in… I couldn’t place him). With that in mind, I was shocked that a Slytherin became my favorite character in the book. I know Caldwell is the antagonist and “bad guy” (well, gal), but I loved her character. I like how dedicated she is to her research and that she’s not swayed by Justineau’s bullying.

And I was just as shocked that Justineau was my least liked character. I just didn’t like her at all, probably because I saw her as a bully rather than as the nurturing and caring teacher Melanie believes she is. I guess because I’m aware of Justineau’s backstory, I see her care for Melanie as guilt-driven rather than as true consideration for Melanie’s wellbeing, though it’s possible that it develops into true consideration later on. Anyway, the way I reacted to the characters was odd and is probably the only or one of few times where I prefer the “bad guy” over the good one.

The end was also unexpected. I’m so used to things ending on a positive note that I assumed it would be same with this story. But I guess it’s all a matter of perspective because there is some hope in the end too.

Overall: ★★★★★

I enjoyed it. I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook. And now I want to watch the movie.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I think it’s worth the purchase. I Borrowed the audiobook from the library, but I Bought a physical copy, which I plan to read.

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, narr. by an ensemble of actors



Goodreads summary:

The original American full dramatization as broadcast on National Public Radio.

The Fellowship is broken; the quest to destroy the Ring seems already shrouded in disaster. But as the evil lord Sauron readies his armies for war, Frodo and Sam continue their lonely journey toward Mordor, guided only by Gollum-a deceitful and tortured creature, helplessly in thrall to the Ring’s dark power.

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Book 2)(Original Full American Dramatization)

My thoughts:

I didn’t like this. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the story or the narration that’s at fault here. It’s been so hard to find a decent audio version of the Lord of the Rings books. I’ve tried The Hobbit narr. by Rob Inglis and the U.K. dramatization of the same book, but I didn’t like either of them. This dramatization of The Two Towers is a U.S. version, which I didn’t mind for The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, but that’s probably because I was already familiar with those stories and could easily follow along.

Since this is the first time I’m listening/reading The Two Towers, it was easy to get lost and confused in the dramatization effects and voices used in this audiobook. The different voices were helpful in identifying characters, but sometimes those voices were overdone and it was difficult to understand what’s being said. The voice used for Gollum just didn’t work for me.

Also because it’s dramatized, there are sound effects for certain action scenes. The weird sound used for Gandalf’s magic sounded so wack that I giggled every time I heard it. But for other action scenes, it was sometimes hard to tell what’s happening. I’d hear grunts and moans from the characters to indicate they’re fighting or falling (who knows), such as when Sam and Frodo are in a cave fighting a weird spider lady, but I didn’t know what exactly was happening at the time.

As for the story itself, there’s not much I can say because I either didn’t hear some things because the voice used was hard to understand or I missed things because I was daydreaming or I was just plain lost. I was bored while reading, so I tuned out sometimes. I didn’t care about the adventures and only paid attention when the Ents were mentioned because they’re interesting creatures.

Oh! One thing that kept my interest was the interaction between Legolas and Gimli as they grow closer as friends. There’s a bromance there, but I think there’s potential for that relationship to go deeper and blossom into romance. 🙂

Overall: ★★☆☆☆ 1/2

This audio version of the story didn’t work for me and since the books bore me to death, I’ll just stick to the movies. I liked those.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Watch the movie.


19 thoughts on “Two Audiobooks: “The Girl with All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey & “The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. That’s really good to know about the audiobook for the girl with all the gifts- I couldn’t get into the physical version either (though I also put it down to not being in the mood for it). hehe I really want to know what Gandalf’s magic sounds like now 😉 Awesome reviews!


    1. It’s was partly that too for me n Girl with All the Gifts. Wasn’t in the mood n it had a slow build up.
      Lol ugh! It’s so wack lol. I think it’s the same sound used in the old Carrie movie from the ’80s.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved The Girl with All the Gifts — maybe I should give it a listen as well. I ended up watching the movie right before read The Boy on the Bridge, as a way to refresh myself on the details of the story. It’s quite good, a few plot differences, but really a great adaptation. I’ve read the LOTR books, but I can imagine that they’d be difficult to follow on audio, especially once there are so many battle scenes. In general, full-cast adaptations are really irritating to me — of the few that I’ve tried, I’ve abandoned almost all. I’d rather just hear one narrator read me a good story, no sound effects needed!


    1. Oh yes! Def try the audiobook. Finty Williams did a great job. I’m looking forward to watching the movie soon. I don’t think I’m gonna like the changes they made for it, but I’ll see when I get to it.
      And I leaning toward not liking full casts for audiobooks too, or rather not liking the dramatized versions with extra noise added for the different things characters are doing.


  3. Interesting combo review! I am quite glad you enjoy The Girl With All the Gifts though. It definitely sounds promising and is something I need to pick up ASAP. At least now you can check out The Boy on the Bridge! 😀 As for TLotR, damn. I did hear that the trilogy is a classic, but it isn’t easy to read either with all the descriptions though. Can’t tell you if you’ll ever land on a good narrator for it, but hopefully the next one will be far more impressive. 🙂


    1. I think for now I’m done with the Lord of the Rings books, unfortunately. I’ll just read and enjoy the many other fantasy books it has inspired. 🙂
      Oh yea, I’m looking forward to Boy on the Bridge and also watching the Girl With All the Gifts movie because I heard the race of the lead characters were changed and I have lots of thoughts about that. LOTS!! But I need to justify them by actually watching the movie first.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t listened to the audiobook of The Girl With All the Gifts, but I did read it and I loved that book. I think it was one of those books that connected with me on an emotional level.


    1. It was really good. I think we get more out of physical copies, or at least I do when I read rather than listen, which is why I want to reread this using the physical book.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve not heard the audiobooks, but I really enjoyed ‘The Girls with All the Gifts’. I think that Tolkein is of its time, so it suffers somewhat as tastes change, but when I first read it in the 1970s, it blew me away as I hadn’t read anything like it at that time…


    1. I think that totally right, regarding Tolkien. He was new to me too when I tried his books, but I’m just not a fan of the writing in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, however I totally enjoyed the Hobbit.


  6. I kinda think the same on both books. I read the physical copies but liked ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’ and was NOT into any of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books. I just couldn’t get the writing and thought it was super boring and where were the ladies? 😀

    Btw, I am listening to the audio version of ‘Malice’ by John Gwynne at the moment and the narrator gives some of the characters horrible Scottish accents. I really don’t know how I feel about it 😀 I give it another chance, but if it annoys me too much I might get the book instead. Because I do like the story so far.


    1. Ugh, yes! Major boredom those Lord of the Rings books (except the Hobbit).

      Oh no, that sucks. Better luck with the physical copy then, hopefully. That reminds me of listening to the Wheel of Time audio books. A guy narrates the male perspective parts and a woman narrates for the females. I didn’t like the guy narrator. His voice bored me, which sounds horrible to say, but it really did.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved The Girl With all the Gifts as well, although I read the physical book. You should also check out The Boy on the Bridge, it’s a different cast of characters (sort of) but set in the same world. It was amazing!


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