Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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?

                                     

I finally got around to reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  This book is the first in the ‘Forest of Hands and Teeth’ series, with The Dead Tossed Waves, and The Dark and Hollow Places following. Zombies aren’t usually my thing, but months ago I read Rot & Ruin and really enjoyed it. When comparing both novels, one definitely comes out the clear winner—Rot & Ruin. There were too many things that bothered me with this book.

😦

-Mary and her community are constantly under threat of being attacked by zombies. Knowing this information, I would expect them to be more prepared (secure locations, food, etc.). Rather, they remain ‘protected’ by a simple fence.

-Too many questions were left unanswered. Where did the zombies come from in the first place? Why was Gabrielle the ‘fast one’?

-The character of Mary. She was the beyond selfish female lead, willing to sacrifice her community, family and friends, all in her quest to find the ocean. I understand that the ocean refers to the bigger picture of hope and fighting for your dreams, but she continually placed herself first.

-The love between Travis and Mary. This romance was never developed or explained and I didn’t understand why Mary was so in love with Travis in the first place.

 

🙂

-Cool title. Grabs the reader’s attention immediately.

-Descriptions of the zombies. I was scared reading this book at night! I kept picturing the groaning zombies with rotten teeth and bony fingers.

 

Extras:

I found the book trailer on Youtube and it scared the heck out of me!

Review- Divergent by Veronica Roth

Exciting news–The Indigo 2011 Top Teen Summer Read is Divergent by Veronica Roth! I couldn’t be happier- it’s one of my favourite YA reads in a long time! I actually wrote a review on Divergent a while ago, but just found the time to post this weekend. I’ve been super busy this summer with the summer reading club, grant proposals, and preparing for Fall programmes.   Anyway, without further ado, here is my review:

First off, I can’t believe Divergent is a debut novel by talented writer Veronica Roth.  On top of that, she wrote the majority of the book in college at age 22!  I’m extremely jealous of her creative writing ability.  Thank goodness the story will continue in Roth’s follow up called Insurgent due out May 2012.

Divergent is all about choices and making decisions. Beatrice “Tris” Prior has turned sixteen, the age in which teenagers living in Roth’s dystopian Chicago must make a decision whether to stay with their families or have the courage to choose the virtue (and faction) they most believe in.  The factions are divided into: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (daring), Erudite (knowledgable) and Amity (peaceful).  Roth explains, “It has been this way since the beginning of the great peace, when the factions were formed. I think the system persists because we’re afraid of what might happen if it didn’t: war (p.33).” This explanation confused me.  Dividing individuals up based on differences is completely illogical and just asking for war to break out. Looking back at our own history is proof— if this story takes place in the unknown future, shouldn’t they have learned by now? I really hope Roth gives more information about how and why the factions came into existence in the next book. 

Critiques:

  • The majority of the book is dedicated to Beatrice’s initiation into her faction and undergoing intense emotional/physical trauma. I thought it dragged on, and I started wondering when the story was really going to pick up (in the last 100 pages).  In terms of the number of pages (487 pages), it is formatted so there is a large amount of white space, so it isn’t quite as long as it appears.

Positives:

  • I loved the main character, Tris.  We are able to watch Tris develop gradually throughout the novel by overcoming her fears and learning to maintain balance between her old and new life.  She’s one tough gal.
  • As a reader, it’s really fun trying to figure out what faction you would belong to. I imagine all readers do this! Personally, I couldn’t decide, but I took the Divergent Faction Quiz available on Facebook to determine where they would place me. I was deemed as ‘Erudite- The Intelligent’. Those that have read the book would understand why I’m not sure how I feel about this…
  • Divergent is a gripping, intense, original book.  I know I will be recommending Divergent to those that are looking for something to fill their Hunger Games void.  Like Hunger Games, I think it would also appeal to both male and female readers.
  • I enjoy when romance isn’t the focus of the storyline, and this proved true in Divergent.  I won’t give too much away, but it’s a very sweet and surprising romance.
  • While I did pick up on Four’s big plot twist the first time I read Divergent, I know I missed some things and am currently re-reading it. I rarely re-read books because I have tons of my ‘to-read’ list, so this in itself says a lot about the book.

WANT MORE DIVERGENT?

Watch the Divergent Book Trailer

or

Read the first 100 pages available free!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Love it or hate it. For most reviewers of The Maze Runner, their choice is clear. However, I stand somewhere in the middle, a nice solid LIKE.

When I picked up Maze Runner, I was looking for the next Hunger Games.  However, Maze Runner is nowhere near as well written as The Hunger Games trilogy. Actually, I’m not sure if any dystopian book could ever be better than The Hunger Games.

The summary is provided from Amazon:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Bet you want to read it now, right?

What I enjoyed:

– figuring out the secrets of the Glade right along with the main characters.

-usually I’m not one for tons of description, but I think in this book it was really needed in order for the reader to visualize the Maze, Glade and Homestead

-After the reader gets through the detail, the plot gets more interesting and surprising as the story evolves.

The Maze Runner has a little something for everyone. Action, adventure, sci-fi, mystery and even a little bit of romance.

Improvements:

-I didn’t enjoy the amount of made-up curse words throughout the book. For example, the boys call each other “Shuck-face” in most of their conversations. They also use the term ‘klunk’ because it describes the sound of poop when it hits the water.  It was a definite overkill.

-I didn’t like that when I had finished The Maze Runner, I had more questions than answers.  I’m still confused. Readers are left hanging, and the epilogue clearly indicates that the Maze Runner is meant to be a series. In order to find out what really happens to Thomas and the rest of the Gladers, one must continue on reading the series.
Have a minute? Check out this neat book trailer made by University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

FYI- The Maze Runner is in development to become a major motion picture.

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