Book Chat 46 Carrie Ryan/The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Dave said...To start, I think this is a dark story and I'm wondering if I'm not having a generational reaction.
Robin Billings said...To Dave's point about 'dark' - I suppose it is dark, but I see a lot of darkness in the world, anyway - not morbidly, just realistically, so a dark novel doesn't worry me. And I like seeing a protagonist face that kind of thing, with difficulty, and find a way through it, ya know?
stacy said...Kids are growing up in dark times, IMHO.
Dave said...I'm not sure these times are dark just confused and dismal. I"ve been through dark times without hope and this isn't what I call dark times.
stacy said...Maybe. They feel pretty dark to me, though. But you're right that they could be a lot darker, Dave.
Evil Editor said...All our YA books have been dark. Hunger Games, Marbury Lens...was Graveyard Book YA?
Dave said...About 15 years ago I had to help home school my niece (being the scientist and engineer, the science fell to me) and she commented that my tastes in literature and poetry were too dark. (SO what If I like Sylvia Plath et. al.) So I stepped back from all that literature and guess what comes into vogue. That was the basis of my generational comment. These teens and YA seem to want dark and emotional stories.
Sylvia said...Just went searching for Scott Westerfeld's comment on the subject which I think helpls explain it: "Teenagers love a good apocalypse. Who doesn't? All those annoying rules suspended. Society's pretenses made irrelevant. Malls to be looted. School out forever."
Carrie Ryan said...re: it being a dark book. I get this a lot and I do think it's true to a certain extent. That world is a dark world -- there's always a threat of death and fear.
One of the things that really fascinates me is how people still find love and happiness during the most horrific circumstances. In war, in concentration camps, in famine-- there are families and love and compassion. It's sort of the opposite of the townsfolk pulling up the ladder to the platforms -- that in extreme times sometimes you can actually find the best in people.
I think for me there's comfort in this idea -- that we can go through horrible times but still find purpose and a full life.
Robin Billings said...Bookwise, I enjoyed the present-tense feel of this month's choice. Normally, I don't. But this was done very, very well. You keep picking them like this, EE, please.
stacy said...Me too, Robin. Normally not into present tense, but it worked really well in this book.
Evil Editor said...The Unconsecrated were done well. Very scary. I wasn't clear on whether Gabrielle, the fast one, was fast only in comparison, or fast like The Flash.
Robin Billings said...I was thinking 'by comparison', but I think that's because this world was drawn so well, it seemed like 'realistic rules' applied.
Evil Editor said...It just seemed if all the others were really slow, it would be easy to run away from them. Guess they were everywhere, so there was nowhere to run.
Dave said...I liked the writing in this book but not the situations. It's darker and more introspective than THE GRAVEYARD book. Also, I think I related to the boys in THE MARBURY LENS and I'm not relating to the girl in FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH. Probably because I'm closer to the 17 year old hockey goalie and not the 13 year old niece who likes Hetalia manga.
stacy said...I thought the take on the zombie trope here was pretty fresh and original. Also, the scenes in this were so strong, I felt like I was watching a movie in my mind as I read. Good writing.
Sylvia said...I like dystopian, especially with a female protag, so this is exactly the kind of story I enjoy.
stacy said...Yeah, me too, Sylvia.
Robin Billings said...It's really well done, immediate entry into the world. As I said, normally this present tense style brings me out of a novel rather than placing me into it, but in this case, it worked well.
Evil Editor said...Was anyone else reminded of the scene in Titanic where the lifeboats wouldn't go back for more survivors, when the people on the platforms pulled up the ladders and left others below to fend for themselves?
Carrie Ryan said...That's a lot of what I was going for -- this idea that community can break down in life/death situations. I'm always fascinated by how people act under the most extreme circumstances and whether they'll risk themselves to help others.
stacy said...I didn't see Titanic. I think I'm the only American who didn't.
Sylvia said...I haven't seen the Titanic either. :)
Robin Billings said...I didn't see Titanic either, Stacy. Usually, if something is a 'must see', I make it a point not to see it.
Evil Editor said...It's important to be up on pop culture like Titanic so that you understand my jokes when I make fun of it.
Dave said...I did see Titanic and have seen it subsequently on Cable and yes, this has that dark, soul-tearing revelation that some must die.
Evil Editor said...I believe there will be a movie made from this book. Not sure what stage they're currently at.
Robin Billings said...Cool for the author!
stacy said...I read that the company who optioned it is fast-tracking it for a 2013 release date.
Carrie Ryan said...Yep, they've exercised the option. Beyond that, I'm not sure where things stand. IMDB said that filming would be starting early 2012 so I'm keeping my fingers very crossed :)
Evil Editor said...As I understand it there's a sequel and a prequel to this book. The prequel stars Tabitha. Don't know if the sequel has any of the same characters or if it's just set in the same world.
stacy said...I read the teasers, and it seems like they are set in the same world.
Carrie Ryan said...There's a prequel short story, HARE MOON, that you can get online as an eshort story. It's about Tabitha when she was Mary's age and shows a little more about how she came to be the way she is (she really fascinated me when I wrote her in FHT).
There are two sequels (or rather, companions): THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES is told from the POV of Mary's daughter and is a generation later. THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES is more of a direct sequel to the second book.
There are also a lot of other short stories set in that world - mostly around the time of the Return: Bougainvillea in Zombies vs. Unicorns; A Game of Firsts in The First Time; a story in Defy the Dark (forthcoming); Scenic Route in Enthralled; Flotsam & Jetsam in Living Dead 2.
Evil Editor said...What exactly was the Return?
stacy said...I never really understood that either, EE.
Carrie Ryan said...The Return was the zombie apocalypse.
Dave said...There is a sense of camaraderie in MARBURY LENS that I didn't get here.
Evil Editor said...There was camaraderie among them all when they were growing up. The book picks up at the point when it all goes kablooey.
DAVE SAID...I thought the writing is this was magnificent and damn near perfection. It just flowed and worked so well as the story unfolded. Really well crafted.
Carrie Ryan said...WOW!! Thank you so much!!!
stacy said...Totally agree, Dave. The writing was stellar. The part where Sister Tabitha took Mary to the deep part of the Cathedral and threatened to dump her into the Forest scared the crap out of me.
Evil Editor said...That Tabitha scene was scary, and then, apparently, she actually does throw Gabrielle to the Unconsecrated.
Robin Billings said...A lot scared the crap out of me, Stace - a tribute to how well it's done, eh?! You BELIEVE.
stacy said...I gotta tell you: the scenes were totally clear in my head. Of course, I was seeing Amy Adams as Mary. Sister Tabitha was Meryl Streep. But I know my watching the movie DOUBT had some influence on that, for some reason. Oh yeah. I have to admit that at first, when I figured out what the Unconsecrated were, I thought, "Great. A zombie novel. Just great." But that thought was faint because I was already hooked.
SYLVIA SAID...I might just break down and buy the book - I think the narrator for the audio book doesn't have as intense a voice as you guys are reading it in.
Evil Editor said...Intense is a good description. I think it's the way the moaning of the zombies is always there, like cicadas, you kind of get used to it, but it's there in the back of your mind, 24/7, reminding you that you're a goner if you make one wrong step.
Robin Billings said...Yeah, and the anxiety of that watching out for yourself 24/7 is always there. Like undercurrent background music.
Dave said...Am I the only one who had Nuns in grade school and high school? They always tried to scare the kids into behaving with threats of hell and rulers and other garbage things. That didn't impress me, it just aggravated me into remembering why a classmate just admitted these many years later that they drank through HS. I can present some really unkind examples if you want but I grew up with that frigid, cold hateful and mean discipline.
stacy said...I didn't have nuns in school, but I did have a really mean second grade teacher. Mrs. Gwaltney. She should have been a prison warden instead.
Evil Editor said...One of my teachers burned a student alive the first day of class. I gotta admit the rest of us all behaved the rest of the year.
stacy said...Where were you, EE? Slytherin?
Robin Billings said...I loathe nuns. 8 years of them in grade school. Ewwwww.
Dave said...Sister Tabitha is up there with the dark and brooding "you must do it this way, soullessly and mindlessly, because we know its the only way. It just destroys your self-confidence. That may be what this is, one girls search for self-confidence and the meaning of life. I don't mean that sarcastically or mockingly, either. I mean that in the best sense I can put it.
stacy said...I think that's pretty much the theme of the novel, Dave. Good description.
Sylvia said...Nuns and penguins. Growing up I knew they existed but I never actually saw one except now and then on a documentary. Just totally removed from my life.
stacy said...It really hit home for me how people—prior to our modern existence—really needed strict rules of conduct for survival. All those little pagan mating rituals that wove their way in through all the religious stuff.
Carrie Ryan said...This was another issue I was exploring. I never wanted the Sisterhood to be just plain evil -- I think they were strict because they felt it was the only way to keep the villagers safe. Yes, they lied and manipulated, but that's how they felt they'd survive. So in my mind, they acted out of love.
Evil Editor said...When they got to the new village, why were all the zombies indoors? Did they all get together and decide to lay a trap?
Carrie Ryan said...My zombies aren't sentient so they couldn't plan like that. I think some of them were outside but "downed" and others were inside. I think it just depends on where they were when they "downed." Some of them might have been infected when the village turned and trapped themselves inside to be safe, only to then Return, etc. Does that make sense?
Dave said...In other thoughts, I gave this book away as a gift at Christmas. I haven't heard anything about it. My Nephew's girl is 13 and I expect to hear nothing from her. Teens don't speak to Aunts and Uncles these days. They save their minds for important things like twitter and FB with their peers.
Evil Editor said...Now that she reached the ocean, and it looks like there's hope, should she try to go back and get the dog and the kid and her friends?
stacy said...Maybe we'll find out in the sequel.
Dave said...I"m not sure where it would go. Taking a boat out on a sea you've just discovered is a feat all by itself.
stacy said...She could put more Unconsecrated out in the ocean. Zombie sharks.
Evil Editor said...It would be interesting to see what happened in a big city. Is everyone a zombie? Are there thousands living in skyscrapers? Did the military try and fail to wipe out the unconsecrated?
Carrie Ryan said...This is where the third book (THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES) is set :)
Robin Billings said...I'm glad there was hope at the end - if there hadn't been, there would've been no reason to the journey, for me. And I like the idea of an island being a sanctuary of sorts.
Carrie Ryan said...I'm glad you saw the hope!! I meant for there to be hope :)
re: And I like the idea of an island being a sanctuary of sorts. That's the idea behind my short story Bougainvillea in Zombies v. Unicorns -- whether an island would work long term.
Dave said...I don't know if I could write something as dark as that second season of WALKING DEAD where they spent all that time looking for the child and that other event, the "kneecapping"...
stacy said...I haven't seen much of the Walking Dead. Is it good? Whoops. I mean, I haven't seen WALKING DEAD. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of the Walking Dead here in Chicago. Heh heh.
Evil Editor said...The walking dead is scary. The zombies are realistic, but not as plentiful as in this book.
Carrie Ryan said...I'm also a huge fan of Walking Dead -- I started reading the graphic novels when they first came out and I've loved how they've grown so mainstream :)
Dave said...WALKING DEAD is spectacular but draining. It is relentlessly dark as civilization and society crumble before your eyes. I mean shatters rather than crumbles. And every so often, they rip out your heart with something so cold and despair-ful that you gotta cringe.
Carrie Ryan said...Hopefully that answers your questions! I'll keep checking back to see if there's more discussion or more questions! Thanks!