I will admit that zombies are probably my least favourite of the undead. (Sorry Dan!) I’ve watched a handful of movies that were OK, but I’d take angels, vampires or werewolves over zombies any day. And so, I’ve never read much in the way of zombie lit. But these books caught my eye, and I have to say, I much prefer reading about zombies to watching zombies.
The world as it exists in Carrie Ryan’s novels would be a terrifying place. Civilization has pretty much fallen and in it’s place is an expansive forest with a small villages sprinkled inside. There is a fence to separate the forest from the people because in the forest there are zombies. All day, every day, zombies all around. The author does a good job of reminding you that they are there, relentlessly moaning, grabbing, and biting, trying to infect more people.
Against that backdrop, both The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-tossed Waves are really coming-of-age-and-falling-in-love-stories. These are incredibly brave, yet naive characters whose transition into adulthood is punctuated with death and violence in the form of zombie hordes. And it works very well. All the drama and tension of young love, plus terrifying zombie attacks!
What I liked best about these books were the main characters. Mary and Gabry are both intelligent and independent without being pretentious. They make mistakes and they learn from them. They are often terrified, yet they press on and fight when they need to to save the people they love most in the world – sometimes they win, and sometimes, they lose someone to the zombies. They are dealing with some pretty heavy stuff in these books! (Oh man, there is an escape sequence from a tree-house village in the first book that is intense. Ditto for the ending of Dead-tossed Waves – intense!)
I’m really hoping for at least a third book – there is definitely more to this story!