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?
Carrie Ryan lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can visit Carrie at www.carrieryan.com.
©2009 Carrie Ryan; (P)2009 Listening Library
"Mary's observant, careful narration pulls readers into a bleak but gripping story of survival and the endless capacity of humanity to persevere . . .Fresh and riveting." (Publishers Weekly)
"The suspense that Ryan has created from the very first page on entices and tempts readers so that putting the book down is not an option." (School Library Journal)
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I agree that the narrator is not the best choice for this book. It feels like she emphasizes absolutley everything. It seems to be the heighth of her range. The story itself is not terrible, I was really hoping for this zombie world to unfold but it never did. But the worst part was that by halfway through the book I found myself wishing the heroine would die. She was so indecisive and selfish that she got those around her hurt or killed, and after so much of that I couldnt help it, I was ready to see her go. The narrators emotional outburst reading of it made her even more detestable. I usually save my audio books, but I deleted this one entirely after listening to it once. I couldnt stomach it again.
"Interesting Idea, Blah Execution"
This novel started well. I liked the premise and looked forward to learning more about the village and its people and history. But that never came. In fact, we meet maybe a dozen of the village's inhabitants and learn little about them. And then, halfway through, I became bored of Mary, the unconvincing and bland heroine. The toneless narration did nothing to help.
"Good story not done justice by the narration"
This is actually a very compelling story. It falls into the category of exploring the human side of a zombie apocolypse. It uses the zombie scenario to explore human nature, the human condition, how we respond to such dire adversity. The main character is very well explored, and fleshed out and compelling. The plot moves along fairly well.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with other reviewers here. The narration was less than ideal. The narrator is very awkward at times and has an unusual accent that I am not sure was meant as part of the character. The odd pronunciations would have been all right, but for the overall awkwardness of the reading. It is as though the narrator is not entirely comfortable as a reader or performer. It is inconsistent. It is stronger at some points than others and feels like a struggle for the narrator at times. Very distracting. There are some very, very awkward pauses that seem to have no purpose, except as a mistake, or a hesitation on the part of the narrator. But also, it just seemed to lack energy at times, and seemed flat and occassionally monotonous and even sometimes just dull and lifeless. Perhaps this narrator would work better in a different kind of story - I am not sure. But in this case, it really didn't work for me.
Though I finished with the whole narration eventually, I did break down and buy the kindle version so I could read the last third on my own. That was a better experience.
I do wonder if my reaction to the story might have been more positive with a different narrator or if I had chosen to read the print edition of this one. It is interesting... When assessing an audible book, unlike a printed version, it is the whole that makes up the experience - both the writing and the particular performance and production and presentation, as we don't bring to it our own narrator in our minds and are interacting with more than just the written word. Therefore, a poorly chosen narrator or a poor production can really impact the experience.
Overall, it is not a bad story by any means, and has a lot going for it. Perhaps the narrator won't be as troubling for some as it was for me. The next book in the series is done by a narrator I have heard before and who seems a much better choice for this type of story, so I look forward to that.
"Quick, compelling listen although poor narration"
I really enjoyed this story, it moved quickly and kept my interest the whole time. It's one of those post-apocolyptic tales, in the line of Hunger Games and others. Although it's geared towards young adults, it's appropriate for anyone. Unfortunately it's very poorly narrated, the inflections are in all the wrong places and she can't seem to capture any other accents or characters other than her own. In the hands of a skilled narrator, this story would be one of my favorites.
"I gambled and I lost!!! I give it 3 stars...."
I read the mixture of reviews for this book prior to download and despite some horrible reviews, decided to take a gamble on this one. If I were 13 I suppose I might be blown away by this book. However, as an adult reader I have read enough books to know the difference between a good read and a cheap thrill. This book had such promise...
As a fan of the post-apocalyptic/zombie genre I was excited to dive into a female author's perspective on zombies (unconsecrated) and was looking forward to a different take on romantic/sexual tension among characters. I know this book is intended for the young adult reader but I could not help but feel as if I were back in 6th grade.
1) Why was our heroine so gravely pathetic? Either about to sob, sobbing, fantasizing, longing, shaking, burning or gasping for air and unable to speak. We've all met Bella from Twilight (also a pity whore) and we've all seen the polar opposite heroine (badass), but I'm telling you it was VERY, VERY hard to like Mary and she is our only window into Ryan's world.
2) Narration wasn't bad at all...until she attempted male voices. Mono-toned and ultra feminine. To me there were no men in this book.
3) The love "quad" in this book wasn't very convincing at all because Ryan didn't develop the male characters into anything more than one dimension. What does Travis look like? Who is he? Or Harry? Do they even have personalities or are they merely in the book so Mary can lust for them and cry? I never "felt" anything for them because there was virtually nothing to them but names in a book.
4) Not entirely original...M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" echoed in this tale.
4) SERIOUSLY....What is with Authors using the same word in every paragraph? Don't they use a Thesaurus? I felt like every paragraph or every few sentences contained the word "flesh" when so many other words could have taken its place.
I can however, give credit to Ryan's atmosphere, storyline and suspense...despite my criticism I wanted to know what happened. I was entertained, to some degree.
Best Scene: Gabrielle attacking the village.
Should you spend the credit? Only if you are new to zombies/mennonites/cults/conspiracies and teenage love-quads and don't mind a heroine with LOTS of feelings!!!
"Great beginning then really annoying."
I don't think I have ever wanted to slap a protagonist or an author until this book. It had a lot of promise. I love post-apocalyptic tales and zombies. It begins with some great mysteries and then just gets really annoying. Check out the Passage by Justin Cronin instead.
"Reminds me of the movie The Village"
This book was good. It reminds me of the movie The Village by M. Shalaman Knight. The outcome was different. I am not so sure that I enjoyed it as much because of the ending. I wish we could also find out how her life changed and what happened to her.
"Decent book, lousy narrator"
This is a pretty good postapocalyptic, dystopian zombie tale, and while, granted, it can get pretty emo (the heroine weeps at the drop of a hat), I found myself intrigued by the world. Mary grows up in a village surrounded by the forest of the title, which is filled with cannibal zombies. They're just like movie zombies, former humans. Unable to fit into the Medieval style life of the village, she decides to head off into the great unknown.
Unfortunately, the publisher has chosen a narrator who doesn't appear to be a professional or to be very comfortable with the task. I can't recommend this audiobook for that reason, and wish I had bought the print version instead. I'm not sure how this happened, but publishers should realize that they ruin audiobooks by hiring amateurs instead of real actors, and that they also have to hire people who read themselves. This narrator is clearly having a hard time with the job, probably because she's not much of a reader, either.
"I Was Worried After the Reviews I Read"
Loved the book, even though it is marketed as young adult. Carrie Ryan is a great writer. When I decided I wanted the audio book, I read the reviews here of Vane's narrating and the news was not good. I decided to do it anyway.
I have to say I have heard better readers, but I got used to her about a quarter of the way through and it was no longer an issue. Really enjoyed this story in both print and audio. I would recommend it.
This book was really great. There is nothing wrong with the narration. I read the reviews before purchasing and almost decided against it because of all the poor reviews for Vane Million the narrator. However I think she did a beautiful job, and I would really have missed out. I am so glad I purchased. I am also a fan of Hunger Games, Maze Runner, The Giver, and so many other YA dystopia/post apocalyptic literature.
5 hours into the book I just cannot believe that I'm half way through and almost nothing has happened. I am not a person to leave a book after starting it even if I don't like it but I cannot bear a single word anymore.
Unending lines of stomach turning self pity with metaphors that is surprising I haven't heard something on the line of "the cold burns like fire" though it did come very close to such thing many times.
It goes like this:
▬Main character does step 1 (yay something happens though just for a few seconds).
▬>Tens of minutes< of self pity, useless introspection and ponders of lost loves all lengthened by an annoying repetition of the same concepts using different cliche metaphors.
▬Main character does step 2, again only for a few moments something actually happens and then again with the self pity thing.
I won't say too much as I don't want to spoil the book for people intending to read it, but expect nothing original and lot's of cliches to the extent of "My point in life is: I will see the Ocean" ...yes, that is actually, basically, the unspoiled main plot of the book in a nutshell.
Do you think that is enough to make you wrinkle your nose in suspicion? Well, you haven't heard anything yet, expect soap opera-like love triangles and squares and cliche revelations such as "TSSSS... CSSSHH... I am your father!" (Well... much more soap opera cliche like, but I'm not going to spoil anything just in case).
I now know that Vane Millon has an unnerving, monotone, emotionless voice. I do apologies for my harshness Miss Vane but every sentence ended with the same exact pitch, it just felt like a punishment. I still feel that it fits well in the context of a teenage girl, but a rich high-school one, surely not a post apocalyptic, wilderness self sustaining environment survivor kind. Maybe is because I have just finished hearing to Robertson Dean in "I am legend" (boy what a book, and what a narrator. Just awesome), I don't know for sure, but sure is I felt something when he was narrating and of all those emotions, frustration wasn't one of them, while with this book it was the predominant one. If it's not clear what I'm saying you can imagine every phrase's tune going like this: ▼►▼.
CONCLUSION + RECOMMENDATION
I would not spend a credit on this book if you ask me, if you are looking for a good post apocalyptic story I recommend:
-I am Legend
They do not contain zombies per se, but other horrific creatures. They are both amazing, you will not be disappointed.
I absolutely loved this story. It is the first ever audio book i ever listened to and i must say i am now hooked!
it starts out quite slow and the characters in the story aren't described as much as i would of liked, because throughout the whole story i did have to try and guess what the main character looked like, but other than that an absolute edge of the seat story. I listen whilst at work and i must say there were times when i was just staring into the distance just waiting for the next thing to happen leaving my work to the side.
Epic story, bit sad i just found out the next one doesn't carry on with the same character but bet its just as good. hope you enjoy it as much as me. :)
"Great Zombie Stuff"
I have already rated this book and I gave it a 5. Shortly after I had submitted my rating, another listener gave the book a very average 3. I feel compelled now to explain my high rating. I am an older listener not a teenager. The book is written from a first person perspective and is preoccupied with the dilemmas assocated with responsibliltiy and consequence which weigh heavily on the central character. Appocalyptic doom and survival are the main threads of the plot and there are many harrowing situations that arise. The main character is as flawed as the rest of us and tries her best to do what she feels is right.Relgious obligation also rears it's ugly head.Her situation made me sad and I admired her courage. Deep scary and horrible stuff. The sequel is even better.
"A post apocolyptical, teen romance with zombies..."
So this is the first audiobook that I have listened to without first reading it. Not sure why I haven't done it before, though with reading you draw from your own imagination, having it read to you can change that.
Now the storyline may have bugged me if I was reading it, the teen angst was a pain at times and often when reading it would lower my rating. But it gets a high rating from me, showing me that a good narrator can make angst seem appropriate.
A hit with the Young Adult zombie lovers.
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