Film Review: The Girl With All the Gifts


I read the novel The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey about two years ago now and it’s definitely a book that has stuck with me. Excellent writing, lots of tension, great characters, and a unique twist on the zombie genre. If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know I love all things zombie, so to find such a well-written addition to the genre was great.

Understandably, I had high expectations for the film adaptation, especially after seeing some glowing reviews from the likes of Empire.  Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed!

I dragged my boyfriend along to see the film and, strangely, we had an entire screen to ourselves. This was good in the sense that no one would be talking or texting, but bad in the sense that when Mark left to go to the loo, I was sat in a big screen watching a zombie movie all by myself with surround sound. Needless to say, it was creepy.

Anyway, onto the film itself:


The film itself is very, very true to the book. A couple of scenes were dropped, along with the concept of the “Junkers”, but the vast majority of the major plot points are pretty much identical, which was amazing.

For those of you who don’t know, The Girl With All the Gifts tells the story of Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a young girl kept in an army base along with other children. Each day, she is strapped into a wheelchair by guards who treat her like she’s dangerous and taken to a classroom for lessons from the kind Miss Justineau (Gemma Arteton). That’s when we discover that, outside the army base, the world has been ravaged by a zombie virus, specifically a fungal virus that turns people into “Hungries”. Melanie and her fellow kids in the classroom are Hungries, but they’re different. They aren’t mindless and feral, but instead act like any other average human child. I won’t say why, but be prepared for a very unique zombie story.

And then, one day, it all goes wrong and the army base must be evacuated. Only a handful escape, including Melanie, Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine), Dr Caldwell (Glenn Close) and a couple of soldiers. Will they make it to safety? Can the calculating Dr Caldwell develop a cure? You’ll have to wait and see.


The heart of the story is Melanie. A kind and courageous girl, you can’t help but become deeply attached to her whilst almost slightly fearing her, and I thought Sennia Nanua did an excellent job of portraying the complexities of Melanie on the big screen. Interestingly, in the novel Melanie is white and Miss Justineau is black, but it’s been reversed in the film. I think it’s great that a young black girl has been given such a big part as the main protagonist here, and she was definitely the best actress to play Melanie.

Aside from that one change, I thought all the characters were very true to the book in terms of personality. Helen Justineau’s kindness and protectiveness, Sergeant Parks’ bravado hiding a softer interior, Dr Caldwell’s determination, Private Gallagher’s innocence. It really is a very true adaptation, keeping the core values of the book and much of the plot.

However, whilst this is a film about zombies, it is truly a film about humanity. Some of the best zombie films and books are the ones that look at humanity, not just the blood and gore. I can’t explain too much without revealing the ending, but there are some huge moral dilemmas in The Girl With All the Gifts. Me and Mark had a long conversation about it all afterwards, with differing opinions on morality. It’s definitely a bittersweet story.

The film has also clearly taken inspiration from Danny Boyle’s amazing 28 Days Later so, if you enjoyed that, you should enjoy this. I don’t think it’s as scary as 28 Days Later (Cillian Murphy in the church? The infected at the window? Terrifying), or even as scary as the novel, but it’s not trying to terrify you with jump scares; it’s about so much more than that. It’s about terrifying you with the prospect of the end of humanity.


In addition, I have to give a special shout out to the score for this film. It’s amazing. So creepy and tense and eerie, it was one of the best scores I’ve heard in a long while for a horror film. EDIT: (See link at the bottom to listen to the main theme).

However, there were a few slight negatives to the adaptation. One was that I think the ending was a little rushed. It needed more explanation. This was where me and Mark argued a little as the climax missed out some key aspects from the book and I had to explain it fully to him to make him understand the reasoning behind some of the actions in the finale. There were also a few scenes from the novel I would have liked to have seen included, but there was probably issues with running time. Lastly, whilst most of the big scenes did make it to the screen, some had been changed, and I would have liked them to be the same as the book because I think it would have had more of an impact. But hey, that’s just me being a picky reader.

Overall though, this was an excellent adaptation of the book and I was thoroughly impressed. Excellent acting, very true to the novel and a great score, I couldn’t have asked for much more. I definitely recommend both the book and the film.


Have you read The Girl With All the Gifts? Or seen the film? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

EDIT: I just managed to find the main theme from the composer on Soundcloud, so check it out here.



Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

25322449Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Genre: Contemporary / Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2016

My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


My Review

Let me start this review by saying that I’m not a huge fan of Contemporary. A Contemporary novel has to be amazing for me to really like it. I’m talking things like Jenny Downham’s novels, which are so gripping and so real, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is one of my all-time favourite novels.

So, when I heard everyone raving about Radio Silence, I thought I would give it a go and see if it could be one of those few Contemporary’s that manages to capture me. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations, so I’m a bit disappointed.

What let this book down for me was the plot, the pacing and the characters. That sounds like a lot, to be fair. Let me clarify that this certainly wasn’t a bad book, I just don’t think it was for me. The plot and the characters never really got me hooked and I didn’t care much about them. I felt that the story plodded along a bit and I never got invested in it. I wasn’t interested in the podcast of Universe City, although it did sound cool at first, and, crucially, I wasn’t interested in the main characters of Frances and Aled. I definitely connected with some of Frances’ social anxiety, which struck a chord with me at the beginning, but I don’t know what it was that kept me from fully connecting with these two protagonists. There just wasn’t anything about them that I really loved, which was a real shame. In fact, my favourite character was most probably one of the side characters, a girl called Raine.

So because I didn’t entirely care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plot either. Like I said, it just seemed to plod along at too slow a pace for me. Whilst the potential for something really dramatic to happen involving Carys did keep me going, I found it to be an anti-climax. This meant that the climactic scene also didn’t excite me. I felt like it was trying a little too hard to instill some drama into the plot all of a sudden and, as a result, was a bit unbelievable and fell flat. The character of Carol was meant as a kind of antagonist and, although she was a total psycho, I just wasn’t that scared of her and I feel bad for saying that. She did some horrible things but I felt like there needed to be more of a build-up, more hints dropped, as to her true nature. Maybe because I wasn’t too invested in the characters it meant I also wasn’t repulsed enough by the antagonist.

However, on the upside, I did think the writing was great. The first-person POV had a distinct and interesting voice and I enjoyed the style. Also, this book is very diverse in terms of race and sexuality which was a definite plus point, and there’s a clear message in this book to just be yourself.

It’s a shame that I didn’t entirely enjoy it overall, yet I just think this book wasn’t for me. If you like Contemporary novels then I think you will most probably enjoy this book, but if you’re more into Sci-Fi and Horror and Fantasy like me, then maybe this won’t be for you either. I think I’ll look out for more of Alice Oseman’s work in the future because the writing really was good, but I’ll try and read some more reviews first to get a feel for the story and see if it’s my cup of tea.


Have you read Radio Silence? Or Alice Oseman’s first novel Solitaire? What did you think? Do you agree with my review? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!


ARC Review: Goldenhand (Old Kingdom #5) by Garth Nix

23302838Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult

Publisher: Hot Key

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. When Lirael saves Nicholas Sayre after he is attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she finds he is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Lirael must seek help for him at the Clayr’s Glacier – her childhood home.

But even as she returns to the Clayr, clouds are gathering. A messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and it must be forestalled not only in the living world, but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

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My Review

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinion of the book in any way.

This review will contain no spoilers for Goldenhand and only contains very minor spoilers from the previous books, so if you’re new to the series, read on if you want to!

As I have said so many times on this blog, the Old Kingdom series is my absolute favourite. I was extremely lucky to get an ARC of Goldenhand, seemingly turning up at the right time and place at YALC to get my hands on a copy. So, after all the excitement, I had high hopes of this novel. And, of course, I wasn’t disappointed.

Let me just start by saying that to get the most out of this book, you need to have read both The Creature in the Case from the Across the Wall anthology and Clariel. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it does overlap with The Creature in the Case, so read that first if you don’t want Goldenhand to spoil the events of that novella. As for Clariel, Goldenhand doesn’t really spoil any plot points from Clariel, but it well better your understanding and enjoyment of Goldenhand if you’ve read Clariel first. And, of course, you will need to have read Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. 

So, what did I love about Goldenhand? Everything! Garth Nix once again weaves a dark, lyrical tale of magic and intrigue. The novel centres mostly around Lirael and Nicholas Sayre, but old favourites Sabriel and Touchstone appear, as well as Sam and Ellimere, and a few more… It was great to be back with these characters again after a few years away from them. I found myself easily slipping back into the world, only needing to refresh my memory a little around the events of Abhorsen.

The story is gritty and very fast-paced, but is injected with a good amount of humour that made me laugh out loud at some points. I laughed, I cried, I worried, but I loved it all. This book will definitely please old fans, like me, but is also something for new fans to look forward to; they can rest assured that the series doesn’t falter after Abhorsen.

Goldenhand also introduces us to parts of the Old Kingdom we have previously never explored. We travel to the lands north of the Clayr’s Glacier – the steppe where the horse-nomads roam, and the Great Rift beyond. From these nomad clans comes a young girl named Ferin, desperate to deliver a message to Lirael from her dead mother, Arielle. I really loved Ferin and her journey. We got to learn so much more about the northern reaches of the Old Kingdom and the people who inhabit it. There is also clearly a lot more still to be discovered so I hope Garth Nix will take us to these places and people in future novels.

This mix of new with old was excellent. We get chapters centred around previously unexplored lands, and then chapters filled with well-loved places, like the Clayr’s Glacier and The Wall. And don’t worry, there are plenty of battles with the Dead and Free Magic creatures. Also, the plot is original in terms of the series; it doesn’t feel like Nix has just regurgitated the plot from Sabriel or one of the others.

What’s more, there’s just so much scope in these novels and it’s all written so convincingly. The pacing is fast, the prose is tight, the characters are complex and likeable; I hope to be reading these books for years to come! It’s a very unique Fantasy series and I can’t compare it to any others. It doesn’t have to borrow heavily from other Fantasy novels or rework old tropes, instead each installment, as well as the world and characters themselves, feels fresh and original.

So, I don’t really want to mention much more as I’ve tried not to reveal too much about the previous novels, in case any people who are new to the series read this, or to give too much away about the plot of Goldenhand. However, it is a deeply satisfying read and I promise it won’t disappoint.

Goldenhand will be released 4th October in the UK.

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Have you read the Old Kingdom series? Did you enjoy it? Are you excited for Goldenhand? Let me know in the comments below!


The Sunday Post #16


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.


So this week I haven’t posted a lot because I’m visiting my boyfriend. But I’m back home next Tuesday and have some posts planned for when I’m free so I’ll be more active next week!

This week’s posts:


I’m still reading Radio Silence by Alice Oseman but I’ve almost finished it. I was enjoying it at the start, and I think the writing style is really good, but I’m actually a little bored. The plot isn’t really capturing me and neither are the characters. I like them, but I’m not fully invested in them, which is a shame because I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about this book! However, it is pretty diverse, which is great.

Afterwards, I think I’m either going to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab or Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Or Six of Crows, or An Ember In the Ashes. I’m not really sure; I have too many good books in my TBR pile!


Nothing new on my music radar again this week, but I am waiting on the new Kings of Leon album which I’m pretty excited about. So, this week, have some alt-J:


Diversity Spotlight Thursday #1


This is my first time participating in Diversity Spotlight Thursday, a meme created by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks, and I think it’s a great idea. Each week you come up with a book for these three categories:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not yet read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

So this week, my books are:


1. A diverse book I have read and enjoyed: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

This was the very first novel I studied at university and it definitely got things off to a good start. It’s an amazing book, beautifully written, with twists and turns, truths and ambiguity, and an excellent protagonist.

It depicts the life of Changez, a Pakistani man who moves to America to study, hoping to make a better life for himself. Then 9/11 happens and, suddenly, the place Changez has always associated with freedom and riches shuns him. People no longer see a successful young man, but a potential terrorist.

It’s a really brilliant book and was also made into a film starring the excellent Riz Ahmed. He’s also been in some other great things centred around racism, such as the amazingly witty and sharp Four Lions, and is currently the star of US drama The Night Of. Definitely check the two films and the TV series out, they’re great.

2. A diverse book that has already been released but I haven’t yet read: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This one is sitting in my TBR pile and I’m so excited to read it. From what I’ve heard, it deals with many diverse aspects, including race and disability. I’m not sure if it deals with any topics around sexuality so, if someone wants to enlighten me, please do! Just no spoilers!

3. A diverse book that has not yet been released: The Last Beginning by Lauren James

This is the sequel to The Next Together which I reviewed here. The sequel features a lesbian romance and I think different races too, but don’t quote me on that one. The first book wasn’t without a few faults, but it was still really enjoyable so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.


Have you read any of these books, or hoping to read them? Let me know in the comments below!


Waiting On Wednesday: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine where you showcase which books you’re looking forward to being released.


I haven’t done a Waiting on Wednesday in a while so I thought I’d try and get back into it!

This week I’m waiting on Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and I am so excited for its release:


UK Release Date: 20th October 2016

I absolutely adored Illuminae. I was hesitant about it at first because of its unique format, but I found that it only enhanced the novel and my enjoyment. The book made me laugh and cry in equal measure, and it was a mashup of so many different genres; your typical Sci-Fi set in space, Horror, Action, Thriller, Drama. It had everything you could possibly want in a book and more. I’m still in awe of it.

I could not be more excited for the release of Gemina as a result. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next and meeting new characters. Hopefully it’s just as good as its predecessor and, if you haven’t read Illuminae yet, do it now! I can’t recommend it enough.

Synopsis for Gemina:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.


Have you read Illuminae? Did you enjoy it? Are you excited for Gemina? Let me know in the comments below!



The Sunday Post #15


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which book bloggers recap their week and look at what’s to come.


Another pretty uneventful week, but next week I’m visiting my boyfriend so that should shake up my boring life a bit!

I’m still working on my novel and I’m almost halfway through writing it which is very exciting. I’ve been writing since I was a child and this is the first proper novel I’m determined to finish. So, fingers crossed!

Anyway, the posts this week:


I’ve just finished the final book in The Passage series by Justin Cronin, which was such an amazing book (and series). I’m pretty sad now and I have no idea what I’m going to read next. I’m thinking Nevernight, but I honestly don’t know, there are too many good books in my TBR like Six of Crows, An Ember in the Ashes, A Darker Shade of Magic and Radio Silence to name but a few.

However, seeing as I just finished a Science Fantasy novel, I’m thinking I should try and read something other than Fantasy next. I might just sit and stare at my TBR for a bit.


I haven’t listened to anything new this week, so have some London Grammar:


Review: The City of Mirrors (Passage #3) by Justin Cronin

510kmqjtbslThe City of Mirrors (Passage #3) by Justin Cronin

Genre: Science Fantasy / Post-Apocalyptic / Horror

Publisher: Orion, 2016

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: The plague that almost ended humanity is finally over. For a new generation, the once-feared virals have begun to seem almost like imaginary monsters, creatures from a fairy tale they no longer believe in.

For Alicia, however, the bad dreams can never be forgotten. And the voice in those dreams is leading her towards one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York.

Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and most terrible product of the viral experiment. And Alicia knows that the nightmare can never truly be over until he is destroyed.

But what she finds is not what she’s expecting.

An opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined, who takes her on a terrifying journey into the past to learn how it all began.

And to find out how it must end.


My Review

WARNING: This review will contain minor spoilers for the first two books in the series. No major plot points will be revealed, nor information on who lives and who dies. Read on at your own risk. However, this review is spoiler-free in terms of the plot of The City of Mirrors.

I’m so sad to have finished this series. I started reading it back in 2010 when The Passage was first released. I was hooked from the start. At the time I was only 15. Now I’m 21 and this trilogy has remained with me, as well as remaining one of my favourite series of all time.

So, after the events of The Twelve, peace seems to have finally returned to North America. Or so it seems.

Make no mistake, this final book isn’t just a long, drawn-out conclusion tying up a bunch of pointless loose ends. No way. It’s just as poignant, hopeful and exciting as the first two installments, with an abundance of drama and tension.

The Passage was a rip-roaring read, most probably my favourite book in the series. The Twelve was excellent, however I felt it dragged a little in some places. Not enough for me to lose interest, of course, but still slightly slower in comparison. Thankfully though, it was by no means that dreaded filler book that the second novel in a trilogy quite often is; like The Passage, it had its own clear arc and revelations. As such, I like to think of this series as a vampiric The Lord of the Rings. Like The Fellowship of the Ring, The Passage gets the action started. We learn who the main players are and the identity of the main antagonist (Zero here, Sauron in LOTR), but we’re nowhere near close to defeating him yet. Instead, the antagonist of this first book is a lesser player, Babcock in The Passage and the Balrog of Morgoth in Fellowship. Subsequently, the group splits and moves on to the next antagonist, the main villain’s second-in-command. In The Twelve, it’s, well, The Twelve (or rather, the Eleven); the main virals, Zero’s henchmen. In The Two Towers, it’s Saruman, Sauron’s right-hand man. Now that they’ve been defeated, we’re onto the big one, the main villain, the final adversary who has been pulling the strings behind the scenes all along. Zero here is our Sauron, and The City of Mirrors is our The Return of the King.

Now, that’s where the similarities end, of course. No orcs or hobbits, but the The Passage series is no less epic in its own way. Thankfully, the final installment didn’t disappoint. I finished this book with tears in my eyes, barely able to see the last page. It’s a bittersweet book, a culmination of blood, sweat and tears from the characters (and from the author, I suspect). For years, the characters have struggled against the wasteland they inhabit – where the virals roam and Zero watches on – desperate to finally live in peace. The characters’ arcs reached their conclusion in this book, all in a satisfying way. There is an air of destiny in this trilogy and all the characters fulfilled theirs, whether it be good or bad, but I couldn’t argue that it all felt right. Everything about this book seems deliberate. Nothing is rushed or a coincidence. Everything is clearly mapped from the start, all the fates intertwined, and that’s what makes it a joy to read.

However, this series is all about a girl who saves the world, Amy Harper Bellafonte. Does Amy save it? I won’t say, but Cronin has written a remarkable set of characters, with Amy at the centre. This is a series with a huge cast and here we continue with the lives of Peter, Alicia, Sara, Hollis, Michael and Carter, among many other new characters. And we also finally get to know who Zero, aka Dr Timothy Fanning, really is. Somehow, Cronin has managed to create a villain you feel sorry for. Fanning has done terrible things, but in this book you’ll learn why. I could see the logic behind his actions and I pitied him, yet it didn’t excuse what he’d done; it was time for Fanning to give up his hold on the land.

What I’ve always loved about this story is its mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Like I said, there’s a real sense of destiny in these books, a mysticism in its words, coupled with a raw humanity that I loved, and of course the origin of the vampiric, zombie-like virus isn’t wholly within the realm of science. This is a series of death and destruction, love and hate, joy and sorrow, with no punches pulled, but at its core is hope.

The plot of this book is faster-paced than The Twelve, I would say, and still as exciting as both its predecessors. All loose ends are tied up neatly, including the ending. I thought the ending was really well done. There’s nothing worse than getting attached to a series, only for the finale to be anti-climactic and just plain wrong. Thankfully, this trilogy doesn’t fall into that hole. As I said, I finished this with tears blurring my vision, and that was the case for much of the book.

I don’t really know what else to say. This series is brilliant. Complex, tense, exciting, heart-breaking and hopeful, it’s everything you could ask for. These characters are ones that will stay with me for a long time, as will the story itself. However, it’s not truly over. Before even The Passage was published, the film rights for the series were bought. Ridley Scott is the director so I am extremely excited; I don’t think anyone could do a better job at making these books into films than him. So that’s something to look forward to in the future. For now, I’m going to feel sad probably for a whole week, but also happy. It’s bittersweet to finish a series you loved, especially one as good as this, and I can’t recommend it enough.


Have you read this series? Or do you want to start it? Let me know in the comments below!



Stacking the Shelves | YA Fantasy


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme from Tynga’s Reviews where you showcase the books you’ve received or purchased.

This week I finally got my hands on Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! I’ve seen everyone raving about these books for months now and I’m so excited to finally add them to my TBR.


I’m definitely having a bit of a Fantasy spree at the moment and I’m sure these two won’t disappoint. Seeing as both the sequels are out very soon though, I’m going to have to try hard to avoid any spoilers!

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Have you read Six of Crows or An Ember In the Ashes? Did you get any books this week? Let me know in the comments below!


Why Diversity Is A Good Thing

Why Diversity Is A Good Thing

Recently, there has been a lot of talk around the notion of ‘diversity’. There have been some good arguments, some bad arguments, and then some really ugly arguments, especially after that video.

I’ve managed to steer clear of any arguments because I wanted to see what everyone had to say on both sides. Now I feel it’s time I weighed in with my own opinion.

If you’re looking for some other great posts on diversity, then check out these:

Puput @ Sparkling Letters

Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

Anyway, here’s why I think diversity is a good thing.


I am a middle class, heterosexual white girl. I am everywhere. I can read any book, watch any TV programme or any film, and I will see myself reflected back at me time and time again. I don’t need to look for someone like me in books because I am everywhere. 

And I hadn’t quite realised that until this debate on diversity appeared, when suddenly it was so apparent to me that I did not read diversely until recently. I still don’t read extremely diversely, although I’m really trying to change that, but my degree in English at least opened up a wide array of books to me, and I’ll be recommending some at the end of this post.

It’s not that I go out and actively seek books with only white protagonists; I buy a book because it sounds good and, more often that not, I’ll open it and discover the character is white. This is not good. 

In my opinion, there is no excuse not to represent different races and religions within a book, because they are everywhere. Whites are not the dominant race, nor is Christianity the dominant religion. Of course, you will find more white people in certain countries, such as the USA and the majority of Europe, but white people aren’t everywhere. Africa isn’t a white continent, neither are India or Iraq or Korea or Argentina white countries. There are so many different skin colours and races. Yes, certain skin colours will be prevalent in certain countries, but in our age of globalisation races and cultures are mixing. A Muslim may be a minority in America, but they are not in Pakistan. They are not lesser because there are fewer of them in one country.

In addition, homosexuality is still just as important and deserves the same representation. Just because there might be more heterosexual people doesn’t mean that LGBTQ+ people are not as important.

I find it worrying and laughable when I see some white people complaining about how POC are trying to eradicate whites. No one is asking for that. If you suddenly got rid of white people in books, then again books would not be diverse. It works both ways.

Okay, let’s say suddenly there are no more books being published with white characters. You might see one or two, but they’re on the sidelines and they’re pretty 2D, essentially just plot points rather than people. You, as a white person, start to become confused. You wonder, where are all the people like me? Where is my race? Why are we not included? There are lots of us!

Now, that’s exactly how POC feel a lot of the time. They feel marginalised. They can’t find themselves in books even when, in reality, they are just as numerous as any other race. I have no problem connecting with a POC character. In fact, I enjoy learning about other races and cultures. At the end of the day, everyone is human; how can you not connect to another human because their skin colour is different to yours?

The same goes for straight people who say they just can’t connect with homosexual romances. Well, how do you think homosexual people feel reading heterosexual romances? Also, at the end of the day, a romance is about love. Love is not exclusive. Do you think it’s weird when someone says they love their dog or their cat? No. So why should it be weird if a man says he loves another man, or a woman says she loves another woman? Of course, loving an animal is very different to loving another human, but why is it okay to profess your “love” for your pet but it’s then “uncomfortable” if a man says he loves his boyfriend? Love is universal and should be open to all, no matter your gender or sexuality, and if a woman loves another woman or a man loves another man then I don’t see how that’s any of your business.


However, there are going to be some instances where books cannot have truly diverse characters. This is mainly in historical novels. For example, if you want to write about a tribe of Celts in the remote Irish wilderness, then your characters are going to be white. Yet just because a character is white doesn’t mean they have to be straight. Of course, homosexuality may not have been accepted in the community, but that doesn’t mean everyone would have been 100% heterosexual and totally not harbouring any other feelings.

The same goes for if you’re writing a book in Medieval Japan. Pretty much everyone is going to be Japanese. This is diverse in that it’s a race other than white, but it’s still only one race. However, that’s because the time period was not like ours; they didn’t have globalisation to allow this substantial mixing of races and cultures and religions. Diversity of race is a product mainly of modernity. There have always been other races, but they were unable to mix like they do today. However, diversity of sexuality is not a product of modernity. I mean, look at the Ancient Greeks!

No one is saying you need to make all of your characters diverse. As I said, the historical setting may not allow it, but that doesn’t mean you always have to write about a white country. Ye Olde England wasn’t the only place out there! However, if you’re writing a Contemporary novel, is it really an accurate portrayal of the times we live in if all your characters are white, middle-class and heterosexual? Take London as an example: it’s a hub of multiculturalism. You cannot walk down any street in London without seeing a plethora of skin colours, or without seeing hijabs or turbans, or without hearing Polish or Punjabi. If you want to set your book in London, you have to be prepared to not only do research on the city itself, but also on its inhabitants. And there are many.

Of course, don’t force it; don’t make all your characters diverse just for the sake of it or because you feel pressured. No one is asking that all your novels have to have different races and different sexualities. However, by writing a book you are attempting to capture life. Life is diverse. No one person is the same. Even in Fantasy, there is the scope for so much diversity. Fantasy is just another potential reality; it still needs to represent the diversity of life.


Now, here are some diverse books I’ve read and which you should definitely check out if you want to read about different races or religions or sexualities, or just want a book that has someone like you:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid: Depicts a Pakistani man’s struggle to adjust to his life in America post-9/11. (Also a great film).

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: A semi-autobiographical novel about a young lesbian girl growing up in a 1960s Northern England industrial town amidst a strong Christian community.

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers: The life of a young tomboyish girl, her cross-dressing male cousin and her African American maid in a Southern American town during WWII. The novel tackles the themes of sexuality, race and gender.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: The novel spans a number of different timelines and characters, from the slave trade in the South Pacific to post-apocalyptic tribes in Hawaii. The characters are all very diverse in terms of race and sexuality.

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: The memoirs of a Chinese-American growing up in 20th century USA. It depicts the struggles between Chinese culture and American culture.

The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix: Not only is this an amazing Fantasy series, but it also features a group of clairvoyant women living in a glacier who have dark skin and are generally just badass. The main protagonists are white, but that’s more to do with their deathly paleness from constantly entering the river of Death than a specific race.

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey: Features a gay protagonist struggling with his sexuality. It’s written from a very unique viewpoint as the characters are teenagers but have only just been ‘born’ from their test tube state. The protagonist is forced to understand his sexuality in a world where such things are not already clearly outlined.

Rebel of the Sands: A Fantasy series set in a Middle Eastern land and culture. It’s also strongly feminist.

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So, what’s your view on diversity? I’m happy to discuss it in the comments as long as everyone is respectful! Do you agree with me or disagree?