I just grabbed a ton of random books from the library one day so it was sitting around on my bookshelves and I randomly picked it up to see what it was all about.
Coincidentally, it also counts for my Fill in the Gaps YA Reading Challenge (scroll past the Debut Author Challenge).
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 fence 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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, 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 in so much death?
I was completely misinfomed about this book. For some reason, I thought this was a werewolf book. Apparently because the title has the word forest in it, my brain assumed it had to be about that. Even though, when this book first came out I read more than one review on it. Also, for some reason I was thinking that a lot of people didn't like this book. I have absolutely no idea where I get this from. Like I said, I was completely misinformed.
So I picked this book up, finally re-read the description, and despite not thinking it was going to be anything more than okay read, I decided to at least give it a try.
Well...10 pages in, I was captivated. 50 pages in, I was really getting it. 100 pages in, and I desperately wanted to know more. 200 pages in, I did not want to put it down for anything. You get the picture.
Now I have to tell you why I was so completely blown away by Carrie Ryan's cold and creepy zombie world. Take it as a list of things I fell in love with and why.
Mary is this extremely strong character. She's strong willed - all she wants in life is to see the ocean - and she's willing to risk so much to get there. But she's strong in a realistic sense. She's unsure of herself at times. She doesn't know everything right away. She's affected. And she's also very compassionate. She care's about the people, even those she's never known in such a passionate way I just wanted to reach out and grab her and tell her everything was going to be fine. And most of all she reminded me a bit of myself. Always wanting that adventure, to know there is more out there, to do something great and epic. To be known by others and to know others.
The desperation and misery
There's this tone to the whole book that just made me want to hunch over and clutch my heart and cry out WHY?!?! Ryan made me feel horrible for all those who've been infected and are now the unconsecrated. She made me feel horrible for all those left behind to see their loved ones not only die but come back to life as monsters. She made me feel. Period. It was incredibly affective. I'm always a little bit weary of zombie books because I'm always afraid the author is going to try to make them into a joke or an allegory about captilistic sheepish lifestyles. But this - this was just the perfect thing to do with them
Throughout the book there is hope. There is survival. There is always a chance - at a better life, at love, at dreams, knowledge, and friendship. Always. And it's beautiful.
In short: The perfect zombie book. Reeking of desperation and misery, holding up dreams, and championing the hope we all carry in our hearts.