First Sentence: "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."
Mary is like any normal teenager. She hangs out with her friends, she has a crush on a boy, and she never goes beyond the fence. Mary lives in a village in the Forest of Hands and Teeth where the unconsecrated live. The world as we know it is gone, an infection that turned humans into Zombies ravaged the planet leaving only Mary's village as the sole survivors. The village is controlled by the Sisterhood, who govern and protect the inhabitants. But Mary is curious and in the Sisterhoods eyes dangerous. Eventually Mary must decide between her village or her dreams, and keep her friends safe at the same time.
A fascinating debut novel. Even though the story is set in a world full of zombies, its not really about zombies at all. The story is character driven and is about Mary figuring out the world around her and her place in it. Mary is a great character, not a typical YA novel protagonist. She is a little selfish, and shallow, but at the same time brave and loyal. She is a likable character though, and realistic.
I was a little disappointed while reading the book, about the lack of elaboration on what happened with the world. At the time I read this book (middle 2009) I didn't know there was another book. However after I finished the book I thought the lack of information was appropriate. Mary and her friends only know what they have been taught about the outside world, so it would seem silly for them to tell the reader all about it. Also it would seem and obvious story filler, if they stumble on a book/room/person that could tell them exactly everything they needed to know. Life doesn't get tied up in a neat little bow so why should this story?
There are some pretty emotional scenes in this book. With out giving much away, two main scenes stand out. One with Mary and her Mother as they say goodbye, and the second was when Mary was in the tree houses with her friends. I will leave it at that.
Ryan has done a fantastic job drawing you in and making you care about the main characters. She also makes the story suitably creepy, with a touch of horror. This is where I think the lack of information really helps to build the suspense. As they don't know what expect they are shocked or discovered by discoveries. Also there is a lot of action and carnage in this book.
All in all a really solid first book. It was a great read which was hard to put down. If you like zombies this would be a great read, but even if you don't like zombies (like me) this is still a good engaging read.