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?
This was my first zombie series and it didn’t disappoint! It was so freaking creepy and the plot was full of twists and turns. Ryan has no problem giving hope, a little love and a whole lot of tragedy. My husband thought I was being sweet when I snuggled close to him in bed just after completing the first book (this was after I did a full sweep of the house to make sure all the doors and windows were locked). When I revealed that I was in fact snuggled up to his back because I was scared out of my mind that the zombie apocalypse might begin that night, he asked what I was reading. I told him a little about it and he replied “finally some perks to all this late night reading” and then rolled over and went to sleep.
I went to sleep… and then began having vivid zombie dreams and really came up with some clever escape plans. Did I stop reading because I was frightened… HECK.NO. I had to know what was going to happen to Mary. But Ryan does not simply carry on from where the story ends. Each book follows another characters story- It was the same set up as Lois Lowry’s the Giver dystology, each book has its own journey but are all connected and continue to build on this post-apocalyptic world and change from one characters POV to another.
The next installment, The Dead Tossed Waves, tells the story of Gabry (who you quickly find out, is Mary’s daughter and begins about 15 years after Mary’s story ended). Of this series I have to say that this book was my favorite. I really liked Gabry and her strong innocence. For me, there was more growth for the characters in this book and I was happy, sad, continued to be freaked out and felt my heart racing as if I was running right beside Gabry.
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.
The Dark & Hallow Places tells the struggles of Annah and I won’t spoil it and tell you how she ties in but I will say it was unexpected. Annah was a real fighter and kind of acts like a caged cat. I can’t say I would act much different if I were thrust into this nightmare of a world. When I reached the end of this book I was like “noooooo that can’t be all, I need to know!” I was a little disappointed because it was the end of the series and there were still so many looming questions. But guess what Ryan doesn’t tie things up in a bow and blow kisses your way, she says BITE ME and try to survive.
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
I would recommend this series to all dystopian lovers and zombie fanatics. I can still hear the chattering of teeth and the moans that never cease.
If you find that you are needing more (like me), there is a prequel and a few short stories (not novellas) that tell the tales of others trying to survive this post-apocalyptic world. Click on the images below.
|Prequal to The Forest of Hands & Teeth|
image sources: goodreads.com