by Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Mary lives in an isolated village in the middle of the Forest of Hands and Teeth, surrounded every day by the Unconsecrated, who are kept at bay by the fences. After losing both of her parents to the Unconsecrated, all Mary has left are the stories her mother told her of life beyond the Forest before the Return... and of the ocean in particular. But in the village, there are few options for young women, and Mary finds herself on the cusp of marriage to a man she does not really love... until a breach in the fence changes everything.
This is the first zombie novel I've read. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the genre. This book, especially, was a little too dark for my taste. (I've still got Pride and Prejudice and Zombies sitting in my TBR pile, but I have a feeling that it's got an entirely different flavour!)
I did enjoy most of this book. When I wasn't reading it, I was looking forward to picking it up again so I could find out what happened next. What I didn't really enjoy, though, were all the unanswered questions. Why, for example, was a village run by a bunch of women still so patriarchal in many ways? Where did the Sisterhood come from? How long ago did the Return happen? Where exactly is the Forest of Hands and Teeth? And the ending, for me, was far too abrupt. In fact, after I finished this book, I went to sleep and dreamed that I wanted to start reading another book, but I wouldn't let myself because I hadn't finished this one yet! I still have this nagging feeling that my copy was missing the final chapter or something (but I'm sure it wasn't). I didn't enjoy this book so much that I want to rush out and get the sequel... and that's pretty much what such an abrupt ending forces you to do.
Anyway, the writing was okay and the characters were fairly enjoyable (even if I couldn't really tell the guys apart... they seemed so similar in nature, especially the two brothers). The pace was a little slow in places, but it made up for that in other places where the action raced along. So, all in all, I'd probably recommend this to fans of zombie novels or post-apocalyptic fiction. I just don't think it was my cup of tea.
Overall: 3.2 out of 5