Tag Archives: dystopic

Review: Green Angel by Alice Hoffman

14 Apr

Scholastic Canada, 2003

Left on her own when her family is lost in a terrible disaster, fifteen-year-old Green is haunted by loss and by the past. Struggling to survive physicallyand emotionally in a ravaged landscape where nothing seems to grow and ashes are everywhere, Green retreats into the ruined realm of her garden. But in destroying her feelings, she also begins to destroy herself, erasing the girl she’s once been. It is only through mysterious encounters that Green relearns the lessons of love and begins to heal as she tells her own story.

From Scholastic Canada website

It’s weird. This book was heavy on imagery and had lots of life lessons sprinkled throughout, which normally would have completely turned me off. But in Green Angel both of these elements worked, creating a wonderful and touching book.

I came across this book on a list of the best YA dystopia novels. Having just finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth and loving The Uglies series, I’ve been all about this genre lately. So I picked Green Angel up. And I quickly learned that even within this sub-genre there are sub-genres. This is different from any of the other dystopic YA books that I’ve read.

I loved the use of animals and nature to symbolize not only nature slowly healing after the disaster, but also to mark Green’s own personal healing. She slowly works through her pain, learning that she can go on with her life while still holding on to her past, who she was and the people that she loved and lost.

This was a different read for me, and one that I am not sure will be everybody’s cup of tea. It was a quiet book, but I really enjoyed it.

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

23 Mar

Random House Canada, 2010

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?

From Random House website

Oh. My. Dear. God. This book! I don’t want to be dramatic or anything (go ahead, roll your eyes) but The Forest of Hands and Teeth just blew me away.

I love zombies. Okay, let me clarify: I love zombie movies. So it only made sense that I’d love this book. But, man, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.

This book is action packed from the get-go, and I swear my pulse raced through the whole thing.  Even before the fence was breached, the book was intense.  Ryan holds nothing back and within the first dozen pages I was shaking my head. She made some bold choices early on in the story that some authors would have baulked at.

Every time the plot took a twist, I was surprised. I mean, just when I thought I couldn’t be anymore shocked, Ryan would pull something else out of her hat and I’ve once again be bowled over.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is dystopia at it’s best. Everyone thought that the Sisterhood knew best and that the Guardians would protect them until things fell apart. When push came to shove, the villagers were left on their own.

I adored Mary, the main character. While there were several strong male characters in the book, I never once had the feeling that Mary’s survival depended on them. Quite often in books, the female is seen as  “strong enough”, but really, she has to depend on a man to get through.  But Mary was written in such a way that I knew if she was totally on her own, she would still survive.

The only thing I wasn’t 100% in love with was the love story, but honestly, I think that’s because of my natural resistance to romance subplots. I eventually warmed up to this aspect of the book and even found later on in the book that without it, the story wouldn’t have been as vivid or have had such an impact.

I read The Hands of Forest and Teeth in one sitting. And I mean that literally. I forgot to eat. I didn’t get up to go to the bathroom. So far it’s been one my favorite reads of 2010.

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