Author: Carrie Ryan
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): 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?
My Summary: Decades before Mary was born, the Return happened: a virus spread across the entire world, turning people into cannibalistic zombies. The remaining survivors built fortified gates and separated themselves into tight-knit villages, learning to live with the death all around them. By the time Mary comes around, surviving with the Unconsecrated - the zombies - has become second nature; an art-form. The people in Mary's village are taught one thing from birth: they are the only surviving humans on Earth, and it is their Holy duty to marry and carry on the next generations.
But in a ruled by twisted religious views and expectations that all girls will become good little housewives, Mary has a dream: to see the ocean - the mystical place her mother told her about before she too became an Unconsecrated.
My Thoughts: After hearing so many rave reviews for the second and third novels in Carrie Ryan's series, I knew I had to take a chance, trust my Goodreads friends, and buy the first book. And am I ever glad I did!
First off, Carrie Ryan`s writing is amazing - deeply descriptive and poetic, making it easy to imagine myself in Mary`s world. Ryan was also able to make the reader feel the same emotions as Mary - the fear and the heartbreak and the isolation - which is really hard to accomplish. I loved the unsure feel of the entire thing, and I was on the edge of my seat until the very end.
What I adored about this novel (other than the amazing writing) was the fact that there was no love triangle - throughout the entire novel, Mary knew who she wanted to be with. Props to the author for that! The only thing I disliked about the novel was Mary`s selfishness: at points I wanted to grab her and yell, are you serious?! Look around you, girlie!
Final Thoughts: If you`re like me and unsure if you will like zombie books, I suggest you start out with this one. I recommend this novel to dystopian and zombie-book lovers. There is a bit of gore in the novel, so if you are the squeamish type, you may want to skip this one.