There were good and bad things about this book. I’m not sure if the good outweigh the bad or the bad outweigh the good. I didn’t give it an incredibly high rating, so I’d probably lean more towards the bad outweighing the good, but there were some positive things.
I know I’ve complained in the past about religion in books, and I complained a lot about it in my review of Revolver, so, if you’ve followed my blog for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably seen how opinionated I can be about religion. However, in this book it was handled really well. Their religion actually plays a big part in the way that these people think, and it wasn’t used as an excuse to get out of wrapping up plot points. Mary was religious to start, but she lost her faith in God as the plot developed. I really liked this. I was worried at first because I just recently read a book that was overwhelmingly religious, and I really didn’t want a repeat of that, but, even though it was a big part of the book, it wasn’t religious just for the sake of religion. I don’t know how to properly express how much I loved how the way religion was handled. It was just so good. I don’t mind religion in books when it’s important to the plot or characters, and in this it was. Ten out of ten for this part.
There was something eerie and disturbing about the fast zombie. If I’m remembering correctly, her name was Gabriella. I don’t know what it was about her. Maybe it was that Mary saw her and spoke to her before she turned, or maybe it was that it seems like what happened to her was something the Sisters did. Maybe it was that the author had already established the type of zombie in this world, and they were the stereotypical slow, shuffling, moaning creatures that are normally in literature and television. You can power walk away from a normal zombie, or climb a tree, or do any number of things to get away from a normal slow, shuffling zombie. You can’t seem to escape from the fast zombie, though. Obviously zombies are just creepy in general. They’re literally rotting corpses that are all trying to kill you and eat you-that doesn’t really leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Even though they are creepy, being really slow makes them slightly less so, in my opinion. But if they’re faster than you, you don’t have a chance.
I also liked that even though they lived in a village that didn’t have technology or seem like anything that would be around today, they were actually in the same time that we’re in. It just shows how bad the zombies were. I wanted more parts like this.
This book also reads pretty quickly, which is a good thing if you’re behind on a reading challenge like I am.
That’s about it for the positive.
I’ve seen other people describe Mary as a strong female character, but it’s more strong female character in the tumblr way, which means that she’s not incredibly well developed, but she has an axe, so, you know. Sure, she fights zombies and made it out of her village alive, but this is a personal narrative, so you’d expect to really be able to get into the character’s head and see what they’re feeling. You don’t ever really get that sense from the book, though. Despite what most of tumblr thinks, strong female character doesn’t just mean a female character who fights things. None of the characters had a lot of a personality, but Mary was the main character, and it was her personal narrative. She literally had to kill the man she was in love with because he got infected, but she didn’t seem that much more sad than she normally did. Maybe she was ignoring all of her emotions and trying to be numb, but if that’s the case, make it a little more obvious.
I also just didn’t like Mary as a person, so, even if she had been more emotional, I still wouldn’t have liked her, I just would have been able to understand her better. She was so hellbent on seeing the ocean that she didn’t seem to care about anyone else or their needs. Her brother seems to be dead now because she just had to try to get to the ocean. Also, it seems like he drowned in the ocean, so… It feels like it would be wrong to call that ironic since he’s dead, but I definitely thought it. Also, she abandoned her best friend, the man she was supposed to marry, and a child so she could try to see the ocean. She seemed to be the only person who could figure out the code for the paths, but she doesn’t think about that before she leaves her friends to figure out the paths on their own. She just seemed kind of selfish. Maybe I’m not fair in saying this, and seeing the ocean had been a lifelong dream of hers, but it seems like there are bigger things she should be thinking about. Also, this kind of selfish thinking is something I’d expect to see from a small child, not a sixteen year old.
If she hadn’t wanted to go to the ocean just because of a random picture of her ancestor, it would have been more reasonable. Maybe even symbolic. Imagine if her ancestor had been a warrior of some sort in her home country. She defeated all of the monsters there and left to start a new life. The picture of her at the ocean was taken when she landed in her new land, ready to start a new life. Mary would fight her way to the ocean, becoming a warrior like her ancestor. When she got to the ocean she would realize her role in defeating the zombies and go on to help do that. The ocean would be a symbol of finding a new path and new meaning in life. Or not. It could just be a wild goose chase to justify all of those paths.
I really didn’t like the love triangle in this. I’ve read some books recently that have love triangles in them, but they didn’t feel like stereotypical love triangles. This felt exactly like a stereotypical love triangle. The book was very focussed on the romance aspect of the story, which I found kind of irritating because I would rather have had a lot of zombie backstory. The love story just seemed entirely unnecessary. Love stories are great sometimes, but why have love triangles when you can have zombies? Especially after the fast zombie. Give me the backstory about that. Tell me everything about that. Also, one person from the love triangle is dead, and the other person was left when Mary went to find to ocean, so this seems like this was a one book thing.
I do own this entire series, so I’ll probably finish the series at some point, but probably not soon.
Two out of five stars.