Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zombie Corner: Carrie Ryan's Impeccable Series

I have talked about this series before and wanted to give more in depth thoughts regarding the Carrie Ryan’s books. Because of the movie that is scheduled for release next year, I feel it is always best to read the books first. With Halloween approaching, I think it’s an excellent time to discuss Carrie Ryan’s work.
The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, the first book in the series is a thrilling story depicting what the possibilities would be if the entire world were taken over by zombies. How life would be affected based off the survivors influences, the survivors being the Sisterhood. This is what the lead character Mary’s fate could entail if she is not chosen as someone’s bride. She is in love with Travis but is surprised when his older brother Harry proposes to her instead. She denies Harry’s proposal and is ushered off to the sisterhood. Mary learns about the history of her village and what her role will be in protecting it. When the village is under surprise attack by the unconsecrated, Mary seeks Travis and other loved ones to escape the barriers of the village in hopes of discovering the ocean her mother spoke about with Mary as a young girl.
There is somewhat of a love triangle in this story but it doesn’t completely take over the story. The story mainly takes the group on a journey of survival, and the reality that not everything turns out, as it should. Ryan was able to give an honest portrayal of Mary a young girl who struggles to make the right choices when it comes to her family and her future with Travis. The story is laced with heart-stopping escapes and tearjerker moments that really make you think about what you, as a person would do in Mary’s situation. She is faced with incredibly hard choices and I think Carrie Ryan did a remarkable job telling her story.
Dead tossed Waves is the second book in the series and I have to admit that I almost didn’t read it. When I found out it didn’t leave off where the first book ended, instead telling the story of the daughter that Mary brings up on her own I was dead set against it. BUT, I was yanked into the first chapter full forced and already devoted to one of Ryan’s key characters screaming at my book, “No!” Ryan gave me a shocking first chapter that I can’t even tell you about without spoiling the book.
Gabry is our new lead, with Catcher and Elias forming the typical triangle, but again the triangle is not the major story here. Cira, Gabry’s best friend and the sister of Catcher has been punished by being forced to work as a recruiter, a zombie-fighting soldier, for their village Vista. Catcher and Elias devise a plan for her escape that involves Souler’s. Souler’s are a disturbing group that welcomes the change of turning into a zombie. They are seen sort of as a cult but Ryan is able to describe them with a whisper of humanity. Gabry and the others, including her mother Mary need to escape Vista and are now on the fenced trail of the unconsecrated (zombies) after rescuing Cira. Mary is faced with revisiting her past and Gabry is about to find out some major jaw dropping secrets of her own past. This book had secret after secret and never felt forced. Each character has a story to tell. Ryan gives each of her characters a purpose, and is probably one of the most talented writers that I have come across. Her style really commands emotion from the reader and you take each character with you in the end.
Book three, Dark and Hollow places is also a different story that takes you into someone else’s life. Annah is surprise, Gabry’s twin sister! She is living in the Dark City living on her own waiting to hear word from Elias who has been a childhood friend of hers. She is in the middle of a full on take-over of the Dark City. It’s what would happen as a last resort of a full on zombie infestation, the desperate lengths that humanity would have to go through in order to survive. The recruiters are the villain rather than the unconsecrated. They are a group of mostly men that are entertained by watching zombies turn humans into unconsecrated. The detail of these events leaves a haunting and barbaric taste behind. Honestly, they made me shudder, because the recruiters are ultimately the last hope for survival for anyone who has managed to survive the mass infection.
Now that the unconsecrated outnumber the humans, Annah, Gabry, Catcher, and Elias have sought refuge amongst the recruiters. The recruiters only allow this because Catcher winds up being a unique interest that will benefit the recruiter’s survival. Dark and Hollow Places is a depiction of what last hope could be for humanity in a zombie infested society. Carrie Ryan challenges the reader to think outside the box in regards to her characters. She is successful at setting up a series that narrates a different character each time, but strings them together in the end. First impressions are not always true, and life doesn’t go as planned. The four heroes of the series face unforgettable challenges to survive and have to use any resource no matter how desperate to live to see another day. Ryan as usual does an impressive job telling their story, and I would just like to state that my favorite part of the entire book is Catcher’s introduction. It was amazing, and unforgettable.
Carrie Ryan’s series has intense suspense that allows the reader to travel a flawless journey that we only hope that we never have to encounter. I recommend this series to zombie lovers and anyone who read the Hunger Games, and enjoys a good lengthy series. If you watch shows like Lost, Walking Dead, or like an end of the world dystopian themed movie you will appreciate Carrie Ryan’s three book series. The movies will be talked about and other books will be written with her influence.          

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