Written by Carrie Ryan
Published March, 2010 by Delacorte
Genres: Dystopian, Survival, Zombies
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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.
This was a great companion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. While I personally preferred the first novel in terms of plot, suspense and characters, fans of the series will not be disappointed in the slightest.
I think the first installment, The Forest of Hands and Teeth had more going for it in terms of plot and storyline. It had one direct link, really, Mary’s desire to discover the ocean, while this one had more scattered goals such as finding Catcher in the beginning, Gabry figuring out her heritage and finally escaping Vista.
I actually preferred the characters in the first book, too. Although Mary was incredibly selfish in the first book, I liked her a lot more than I liked our narrator Gabry this time around. I also preferred Travis and Henry over Elias and Catcher. I didn’t form big opinions on the two guys this time, which was sad. There is another ‘love triangle’ that proves to be a little infuriating this time around, and confusing, but it does add to the story a lot.
I enjoyed how we discovered more of the world and the basis of the Return in this one. We weren’t caged in one singular village; this time we knew that there was such a thing as the Protectorate, that there was a place called The Dark City, and so on. I was also thankful to learn what happened to the characters from The Forest of Hands and Teeth! That was something I’d been crossing my fingers for.
This one took me a lot longer to read. That’s why I subtracted the star from a full five-star rating. The first one I devoured within hours, this one I read over the span of a few days. I don’t think the story was as ‘gripping’ as the first, though that has nothing to do with the writing. I think Carrie Ryan is a genius and so far she’s done no wrong in my eyes!
I’m definitely grabbing a copy of the third book, The Dark and Hollow Places as soon as I’m able! I fear that the end can’t be good, though… there seems no way to tackle the Mudo/Unconsecrated problem!!! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed, however. Ever the optimist!
Recommended to: Fans of the first book will enjoy it, though reading the first isn’t necessarily required as it’s a new generation with cameos from the first characters.