At the center of all this is Gabry, a sheltered, timid teen who is thrust into the fray after heeding the call of her raging hormones. After one perfect moment of freedom and bliss with her childhood crush Catcher at the forbidden amusement park outside their beach front settlement of Vista, everything goes wrong in Gabry’s world. Some of her friends are infected and turned, some are captured, and some, like Catcher, have disappeared. And after an act of desperation (and stupidity), Gabry is forced to go on the run (basically a near identical plot structure to book 1, only in reverse, and without as much tension).
All of the characters in this installment have ISSUES. There’s Mary (all grown up after her outing in book one THE FORESTS OF HANDS AND TEETH) who still regrets leaving her friends behind. There’s Elias, a mystery teen who hangs out with Soulers (a cult that thinks turning zombie gives you immortality – an interesting thematic aside that could have been expanded) and hides a dark secret. Then there are some other characters with major angst too – but to mention them by name would be too spoilery.
Gabry’s got mommy issues, but they and everything else are overshadowed by her OMG!! love triangle with Elias and Catcher. Gabry internal monologues can be grating as she constantly flips back and forth between bemoaning her new, dangerous existence and exclaiming that nothing matters more than the AMAZING KISS!! moment she just experienced. Exhibit A:
“Is this all there is?” I ask him. I’m so tired of this struggle, of trying to survive when it seems like there’s no point to it. When everyone I love dies or changes and I’m left alone. “Is this what life is about? Waiting for death? Looking for it? Inviting it in?”
“No,” he says, his voice barely a whisper against my cheek. “That’s not what life is.”
“Then what is it?” I need him to give me a reason to keep fighting. To keep pushing forward even though it’s so hard. Even though I’m not sure I still can.
“This,” he says, and he presses his lips to mine.
“…..” (Reviewer’s Note – this is an OMG kissing scene you’ll just have to read for yourself)
For the first time I’m content with who I am; where I am. I don’t want to go back in time. I don’t want to erase everything that’s happened because I don’t want to erase this moment. (p 320-321)
I know both Catcher and Elias have their own special, specific reasons for SO DEEPLY LOVING Gabry, but if you take Gabry at face value, she’s no one that objectively should inspire so much devotion. It’s not like I ever rooted for the zombies to go ahead and rip her apart or anything, but I didn’t end the book as a big fan of hers, honestly.
But despite a bit of eye-rolling over the overwrought love triangle, I thought there were enough moments of brilliance here to give it 3 Zombie Chickens: Well-worth reading (especially for those who are looking for closure about certain events in THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH).
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH (read my review)
THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES
THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES (coming March 2011)
Find out more about the series at the author's website.
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore