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Last Updated: Oct 31, 2013 URL: http://ohslibguides.lcps.k12.nm.us/content.php?pid=372194 Print Guide RSS Updates

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ZOMBIE BOOKS


Zombie Letters from e-zombie.com

 

  In Carrie Ryan's debut novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary is a teenaged girl who lives in a small village surrounded by a metal fence, all that stands between her village and "the forest of hands and teeth," Mary's name for the seemingly infinite flood of undead which besiege the fences day and night.

    The undead are not the only source of anxiety for Mary. She is of an age where she must either marry or join the Sisterhood, the religious order which controls every facet of the villagers's lives. Mary chafes at the restrictions placed upon her by the traditions of the village and the dictates of the Sisterhood. She dreams of the ocean, a place which her mother has told her about, but which many believe to be nothing more than a fairy tale.

    The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a highly imaginative take on the zombie story and well worth reading. It is an outstanding example of how a classic monster story can be reimagined as a complex and original novel. Carrie Ryan's crisp, clear prose has created a tense, action-packed novel which is difficult to put down. The book is listed as being for ages fourteen and up and would make an excellent addition to any library collection for teen readers. Highly recommended.
    This review originally appeared in a more extensive form on the Green Man Review Web site.

Review by Kestrell Rath

 

 Something is causing teenagers to return from the dead as zombies, or “living impaired.” Unlike traditional zombies, though, Daniel Waters’ “living impaired” creations are simply teens reanimated with varying levels of functionality and ability to communicate. The “living impaired” are not accepted by society at large. They have few rights and can even be killed without penalty. Against this backdrop, we are introduced to Phoebe and Adam, next door neighbors with very different backgrounds- Adam is a star football player and Phoebe is a goth girl. Phoebe develops an interest in a “living impaired” student, Tommy Williams. When Tommy joins the high school football team, he and his friends become targets of a group of football players called the “Pain Crew.” Adam must choose his loyalties and decide how far he will go for friendship.

The characters in Generation Dead are beautifully layered. Although it seems at first like Waters is depending on common stereotypes, as the book continues, the characters’ surfaces are peeled away, revealing much more complex personalities and motivations than a reader would initially expect. The plot is gripping and moves at a good pace. Readers will want to keep turning the pages to see what happens next, and the ending is extraordinarily powerful. Waters leaves enough plot threads dangling to easily write a sequel, but this book clearly stands alone.  Daniel Waters has written an incredibly strong first book. He enters new territory by writing zombie fiction for young adults, but his work transcends categorization. Generation Dead will appeal to a wide audience of both horror readers and general readers in young adult fiction, and has strong enough writing that adult readers will want to pick it up as well.

It is still early in the year but Generation Dead is compelling and innovative enough that it has already earned itself a spot on our top picks for young adult horror fiction for 2008.  Highly recommended for both public and school libraries.

Contains: violence, minor gore.

 Kiss of Life picks up where Generation Dead left off.  Phoebe Kendall is dealing with the aftermath of the events that caused the death of her best friend Adam, who died protecting her from Pete, a deranged jock upset about Phoebe’s relationship with living-impaired Tommy Williams. Adam has now returned as a zombie, and although he is not yet fully functional, Phoebe has realized she has romantic feelings towards Adam. This creates an awkward love triangle between Phoebe, Adam, and Tommy.  In the meantime an anti-zombie group co-opts Pete into joining them and making trouble for the zombie population. Kiss of Life is a continuation of the strong storytelling from Generation Dead. Unlike the first book, though, Kiss of Life moves beyond Phoebe’s experiences to include the impact of the living-impaired and their enemies on a larger scale, throughout the United States. While Phoebe is still the main character, Waters starts to flesh out the other characters, devoting more time to them in this book. As with any sequel, readers will want to know if Kiss of Life is a stand-alone book, or if it’s necessary to read Generation Dead first. In this case, enough of the story is built upon Generation Dead that you really need to read it first.  It is likely that we can expect another book as well, as the ending includes enough unknowns to keep fans of the series waiting for the next installment. Highly recommended.

 

 

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