Plot: Mary has lived her entire life in the village, surrounded by the forest of Hands and Teeth. All she has ever seen of the outside world are the forest and the hordes of Unconsecrated who wait outside the fences to feast on the living. The Sisterhood who guards the village says that there is nothing else. And yet her mother tells her tales of a time before the Return devastated the planet, tales of cities and oceans. She dreams of seeing these things but has resigned herself to marriage and children within the fence. That is until the fence is breached and her entire world is changed.
This is the zombie book I was dreaming of when I picked up Zombie Blondes. It is what M. Night Shamalan’s The Village could have been but unfortunately wasn’t, with a real threat instead of an invented one.
This is horror as I love it. I’m not really one for gore, especially in books. I have too good an imagination. A good horror book, in my opinion, is about a suspense and the constant feeling of threat. Ryan delivers on both counts. Like Mary, we are curious about the causes of the zombie apocalypse and we want to know what lies beyond the fence. Ryan gives us answers in snatches and every revelation comes at a price. No matter what is learned and how far our heroes get from the village, the zombies are never far behind. And it becomes clear early on that no one, except perhaps Mary, is safe.
My one complaint, if I had one, would be the romance. We are told characters are in love but we don’t really see it develop, don’t really feel it. Besides which the book seems to suffer from “everyone loves the main character… for some reason” syndrome. But that’s okay as one of the main points of the book is that Mary’s dreams are more important to her than love. This novel isn’t about love but about getting out of the forest and finding out if there is more to the world, no matter what the cost.
Mary’s story continues in The Dead-Tossed Waves.
The trailer perfectly captures the eerie feeling of the book: