Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recommended Zombie Reading -- Carrie Ryan

A lot of zombie genre fans have yet to hear of Carrie Ryan. The reason for this is most likely because her stand out first novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, is a young adult novel. I heard about it by accident, I believe on Goodreads, and purchased it as soon as I could find it. It was sold out in my local stores, but I finally found a copy after weeks of looking.

The cover is amazing!

You can read my original review here. Be warned of spoilers!

The premise of the series is very engaging. It is a hundred (or perhaps more) years into the future and humanity has been decimated by the undead plague. In a small village surrounded by chainlink fences, a teenage girl named Mary feels stifled by the iron rule of the Sisters. There are gates that lead out to paths that are lined with fences, but it is forbidden to leave the village. In fact, the villagers are told they are the only humans left in the world. The Unconsecrated (the zombies) roam the forest that surrounds the village and rattle the fences. Mary wants to escape into the greater world and find the ocean, which is considered a myth by everyone else. She finally gets her wish to be free of the village when a mysterious young woman appears and soon the fences are breached and Mary flees down the forbidden path.

I really loved the world building and lyrical beauty of many of the passages in the book, but loathed Mary. I had hoped to like her by the end of the book, but alas, this didn't happen. She's so horribly selfish and headstrong, it is very hard to cheer her on when her actions endanger the others around her. Yet, the story was really well-written and the plot was a lot of fun.

Though I had mixed feelings on the book as a whole, I loved the world enough to buy the second book, The Dead-Tossed Waves.

Happily, Mary is not the lead protagonist in this book and her daughter, Gabry, takes center stage. Gabry is a more sympathetic character and much more compassionate. At times her actions were questionable, but you could understand her motivations. The world that Gabry lives in is expanded upon in this book and a lot of the unanswered questions of the first book were answered in this one. Even Mary's difficult to like personality is addressed. This was a real page turner and I liked it even more than the original. Toward the end, the zombie scenes were truly epic. Loved it!

Again, I'm not sure if these books are for everyone since they are young adult and written from a teenage girl's viewpoint. If you don't have problem stepping into the mind of a teenage girl with all her emotional angst, then this is an awesome zombie book for you to read.

Highly recommend both.

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