Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan ***spoilers***

I am so on the fence with this one. Zombie books rate pretty low for me; I prefer a good shifter or vampire story instead. Parts of this book made me anxious and on the edge of my seat, other parts made me think "REALLY?!?" and then shake my head.

This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the Unconsecrated (zombies) have totally run amok. Mary lives in an isolated village that is surrounded by heavy-duty fencing that keeps out the undead. Remember the movie The Village? That's what it looked like in my head. Mary's village focuses on two things: the Sisters and their Scripture who live in the Cathedral and the Guardians, the protectors who maintain and patrol the fence and deal with the Unconsecrated. Mary's father has recently become undead and her mother is obsessed with finding him amongst the mob that continually try to find their way in. Her brother is a Guardian and has a pregnant wife. At the beginning, Mary's biggest worries  beyond dealing with her own grief are her mother's obsession with finding her undead husband (because they sometimes put the infected out into the forest once they Return instead of killing them) and dealing with Harry. Harry is in love with Mary who is love with Travis, Harry's brother, who is supposedly in love with Cassandra, Mary's BFF. Then everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

Zombies are a pain. Anyone who has watched Shaun of the Dead or Dawn of the Dead knows this. They are relentless and disgusting. If it wasn't for the fact that I knew there is a sequel to this book I may have wondered if they all were going to die at the end - I thought it unlikely as this is YA but still. And there was more that I didn't like than I did. Zombies make for a good plot device; zombies are a force that pushes a story along. Writers don't need to worry about developing their character, they have none. They just keep coming and while it amps up the tension and anticipation, it can get boring and predictable. Did I mention disgusting? When I read the part with the zombie baby I thought  "She just had to go there, didn't she?" I lost a little respect for the writer then. Mary was uber annoying too. She's getting some slack because her parents are dead and her brother put her out. Channeling all her grief and rage into her fascination of Travis got old. Fast. Do we find out what happens to Mary and Harry and Cass in the next book? The Dead Tossed Waves just came out this Tuesday.

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