Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA post-apocalyptic
Pages: Oversize paperback, 308
Opening Lines: "My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing toward you and then away."
"In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
"The Sisterhood always knows best.
"The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
"And you must always mind the fences that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
"But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. and, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
"Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?"
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: I have been picking this book up since it was published. I still am unsure why it never ended up in my bag of books I purchased from the book store. However, after seeing it popping up all over the book blogging community, I decided to check out our local library. As I'm sure it is the same for all of you, nearing Christmas cash is a little tight, so no more book book purchases for a bit . . . :'(
Anyways . . . Reading the back, I never suspected that the Unconsecrated referred to zombies. The book struck me as a something akin to The Village. Boy was I wrong! Instead of escaping from society and forming a pseudo-utopia, the people in this book are just a little community of people left after the zombie apocalypse (what the book calls the Return). Even though the isolation is similar to The Village, that is where the similarities end. From what I gathered, the Sisterhood knows that it is possible for other communities to exist; however, they are unsure. And all Mary knows is that a fenced-off path that leads into the Forest is forbidden, which she never really questioned until she sees footprints . . .
The story follows this group of young people coming of age in this small community. After her mother dies, Mary is thrown into a life in the Sisterhood. However, after the fence is breached, the young people are forced to find a safe haven along the forbidden path. The book really questions our desires and drive, and what we consider to be enough.
While zombies are a devise to move the plot forward, I felt they offered a good antagonist without making any one character "bad." Further, the scenery in the story is well described and allows the reader to picture it for themselves without getting bogged down in details. Even though Mary is the central character, through Mary the reader is given a good picture of the supporting characters. However, in some ways I cannot understand the full 180 change in Cass. I wonder whether it was meant that way. Since it is a first person narrative from Mary's perspective, the author might want the reader in the dark and learn along with Mary.
My favorite part of the book was in the three-story house. Finding the chests full of clothing and pictures was exquisitely written.
However, because I pointed it out in the previous book I reviewed, there was an inconsistency I noticed. While Travis is confessing to Mary in the tree, he kneels in front of her and takes her hands in his. However, the next comment about him is that he flexes his hands on the windowsill. Hmm . . . What was he doing during his monologue? When did her drop her hands?
This book was hard to put down. I found myself wanting to read all night; however, my eyes refused to stay open! It is a fast paced novel, but doesn't lack in plot or substance. Rather, the pacing is a reflection of the urgency and anxiety the characters are feeling. So far, this my favorite YA zombie book! Needless to say, I just placed the next two books on hold at the library *squee*
Currently: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
Current Pages: 25178