Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Read: "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" by Carrie Ryan

Read: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, 2009, 9780385736817.

This was plugged in a Sunday issue of Unshelved. Most of the plugs in those Sunday strips are YA or SciFi and I could not give a rat's ass about them. Forest is both YA and SciFi. But, it has ZOMBIES!

Mary's village may be the sole human refuge against a world filled with the undead. The village has survived for several generations due to an equally old fence that surrounds and protects it from the zombies. Seen from the highest point in town the forest is endless; and the forest is filled with human eating zombies. There are two fence enclosed paths leading away from the village but both are abandoned and forbidden to villagers. Mary dreams of a life beyond the forest and is driven by her mother's stories of the ocean and cities full of skyscrapers.

Mary lost her father to the zombies a few years before and then her mother is bitten by zombies and turns. Mary's older brother blames Mary for their mother's choice to go into the forest as a zombie rather than be killed. Mary's brother kicks her out of the house and she has to join the Sisters since no one offers to marry her. The Sisters are the town's nuns and also their political and religious leaders and medical authorities. Mary chafes under their control and one day discovers that a girl, Gabrielle, has entered the village through one of the abandoned paths. The Sisters have hidden Gabrielle into their cloister. Meanwhile Mary has fallen in love with her best friend's betrothed, Travis.

Travis' brother Harry offers to marry Mary. Mary is creeped out, upset, and wishing escape. Gabrielle disappears. Gabrielle reappears as a super-fast zombie. Mary wants Travis but is stuck with Harry. A fence breach lets the zombies in. Mary, her brother, a boy, Travis, Harry and a couple others escape to the fenced path. They follow the path for days until arriving at an unknown village. Village is well stocked and barricaded but still zombified. Mary and others stay until fire burns village up. Travis dies. Mary and others escape to another fenced path. End of path is gate into forest. Mary goes into forest. Mary's brother follows along but disappears after falling into a torrential river. Mary goes in river and wakes up on an ocean beach.

1-Teen angst with zombies. Mary is looking for escape and freedom from her village. She has no idea what lies beyond the forest - the forest may be unending and filled with the undead - but she believes her mom's stories and wants to find out for herself. After generations alone in the village their are no books or photos to corroborate her mom's stories and and everyone feels that the stories are just that, stories.

2-Mary is in love with Travis but her village's customs require marriage and children through a formal courtship and marriage. Love does not enter the equation, the purpose of marriage is survival of the village.

3-Mary and the others are all about 16 or 18 or so. They are dealing with an immediate and violent adjustment from teen life to adult decisions over life and death.

4- Good book but Mary got on my nerves a bit. She is a head in the clouds kind of gal. Her desire for escape and growth is admirable but she does not clue in to reality very well.

5- Not nearly enough zombie killing. This is about the humans and not about zombies or zombie battles.

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