Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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’d heard about this book at a few review sites, and I heard a lot of good things about it but I didn’t think that it sounded like something I would like. But when I saw it at the library this weekend I decided it was worth a shot. And so I spent the next two days consuming the entire book, forgoing sleep to find out what was going to happen yet.
This makes it sound like I really loved it, right? Well, if you checked out the rating, you’ve probably figured out that I’m not in love with this book. I think it is a really great book, though – the writing is well-paced, and like I said I couldn’t stop myself from turning the page to find out what was going to happen next. I found myself feeling a connection with the main characters, feeling pain when they were sad and cheering them on when I felt they needed it. And yet I couldn’t find myself falling in love with this book.
Mary was a really interesting protagonist, not too whiny, and yet I found myself getting really annoyed with her a lot. She was fascinated by the ocean and I just couldn’t find myself connecting with that. She became obsessed with the ocean, something she had never seen. I knew that it probably signified all of the freedoms that she didn’t have, all the world she didn’t know. She had a boy who loved her enough to marry her, and she had a boy who she was in love with and loved her back completely, but nothing was good enough for her. I wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up and see what she has, see just how lucky she is. And yet I couldn’t hate her, and I still felt grief when she felt it, too, and I couldn’t keep myself from getting wrapped up in her world, in her story.
I became so attached to these characters in such a short span of time. Even as the amount of pages dwindled, I wasn’t too sad because I knew there was a sequel, and I figured I would be able to continue their story. When I finished reading the last page, I felt like it was a good ending for now, and I could pick up the sad tale once I got my hands on the next book. So, when I read the synopsis for the next book, my mouth fell open in shock: the next book isn’t even about Mary! I was in shock for a few minutes as I realized that I wouldn’t be able to continue reading about this characters that I had become so attached to, and then my opinion of the book lowered slightly. The story itself was still the same but I felt like it didn’t have such a satisfying ending if we were never going to return to these characters. I know that the world isn’t full of happy endings and besides, it’d be too cheesy and annoying if the story ended with Mary and her gang running off into the sunset, but I feel like it still could have had an ending that wraps things up better. I want to feel like the story is wrapped up fairly well, and that they all have a pleasant ending, if not the happy-ever-after.
So, overall I feel like this book would be a lot better if it had been the first in, say, a trilogy or another longer series. Maybe if I had come into the book knowing that it was a single story, I would have been less annoyed, but I just feel like it doesn’t work as a single story, which is strange since most times people think that stories that have satisfactory endings are given sequels just to drag out a success, not to tell more story. But my feelings don’t take away from how well-written it is, and how much it made me involved – after all, one of the reasons I disliked the ending so much was because I had become so attached to the characters and I wasn’t’ ready to say good bye to them, at least until I felt sure that they were going to be alright.
I’m not sure if I’m going to give the sequel a chance since it’s sorely lacking in the beloved characters of this book, plus I haven’t really heard good things about it. Maybe I will when I have nothing to read, but for now I have plenty of things to read that hopefully won’t leave me feeling like there should be more to read.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars