Author: Carrie Ryan
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.
At first, I was a little dissappointed about this book. I really wanted to learn more about Mary and the Forest and what not...but then as I got to know Gabry a little better, I kind of decided I liked her better than Mary anyway (plus we still get to see what happened to all the loose ends from the last book). Also...I'm not sure what more Mary could have told us. I like seeing her a few decades down the road so that she is a more developed character. Also, with Gabry's perspective, you get the mindset of a teenager who never REALLY had to fear the Mudo/Unconsecrated. She lives in a time where the infection (at least in her village) is at such a low, that the kids actually resent the walls that keep them in the village. Instead of appreciating that they are safe, they disobey their parent's rules and rebel by sneaking outside of the walls. What a contrast to the sisters and guardians on the last book!
All that aside, wow...Carrie Ryan has done it again. She is like the Taylor Swift of zombie authors. It's like her books are the soundtrack of my life...if my life were to be overrun by a horde of undead flesh eaters...The main character, Gabry has problems coping with the same things I do, and makes me recognize truths and issues about my own life that I didn't even know I had. If you think about it, it's completely ridiculous that one of the books that I identify the most with involves death and dying and zombieism. The imagery made the book come to life fantastically. I really love reading Ryan's writing style and pretty much all of her work because her insights into life and the world that we live in are so dead-on accurate that it's like she is giving a voice to every fear, hope, and insecurity that I've ever been scared of sharing with others. The best part about her books is that I don't even realize I've read something profound until I stop and think about it for a little bit and the all of the sudden I am floored by how awesome a certain part was.
Okay. So obviously I love Ryan's writing style...but I am SO frustrated because even though she makes me feel for her characters like they are my own flesh and blood...she also seems to have this perverse impulse to keep them miserable. There are moments of such joy, such happiness, and then almost immediately, Ryan makes something happen so that the moment that just made you so happy is a twisted and disturbing irony. For example, in the first book, you spend almost the entire time falling in love with Mary and Travis...only to have Travis bitten and killed at the very end of the book. In this book, Gabry FINALLY seems to decide between the two boys that she "loves" and they are acting cute together, when literally five seconds later tragedy strikes and Gabry is forced to flee with the boy she just basically rejected, and leave the boy she loves in danger. Can you stay star-crossed lovers??? Ryan just seems to toy with our emotions, sending you from blissful giggling happiness to gut wrenching crying pain within ONE PAGE. It's traumatically awesome. I get so torn up about everything, but I definitely love reading the books. It's strage, but at the end of the book you feel emotionally drained...almost like you have to take a nap and re-charge before tackling anything else.You're an emotional wreck, but it's so fantastic that you can just get over it.
You get a lot more information about the new world that has been created after the zombie apocalypse. There was the re-introduction of pirates to the world, and the centralization of civilization around "The Dark City". Whenever the city or it's guardians, the Protectorate, are mentioned I kind of have this ominous feeling, so I'm really anxious to see more about them in the next book. You also learn why there are fast zombies like Gabrielle in the first book. They are called breakers and they emerge when the zombie count is too low, so that they can spread the disease better. Everything about the breakers, and immunity, and all that were really scientific. I appreciated the logical and precise nature of all the happenings, because it made them all the more real for me. If you can explain something logically with science, then it just seems more believeable and takes away from the burden of suspending your beliefs.
My Favorite Quote:
"It's never been a perfect world. It's never going to be. It's going to be hard and scary and, if you're lucky, wonderful and awe inspiring. But you have to push through the bad parts to get to the good."