book thoughts: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

“In Mary’s world, there are three simple truths.  The Sisterhood always knows best.  The Guardians will protect and serve.  The Unconsecrated will never relent.”

Mary grew up in the village, surrounded by the fence which separates them from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.  No one goes outside the fence because that is where the Unconsecrated roam.  The Unconsecrated are undead that stumble around with only one goal – to feed on human flesh.  They are zombies.

Mary had never really thought about her life, her fate, the rules that controlled her world, until a few months ago when her father went missing.  Everyone said that he was dead or had been turned into an Unconsecrated.  Her mother became obsessed with finding him and spends long hours searching for him in the crowds of zombies gathered around the fence.  Mary’s brother Jed patrols the fence as one of the Guardians, so it is Mary’s responsibility to watch their mother and make sure she does not stray close enough to the fence to be attacked. 

But today, Mary lingers to long by the river, when Harry approaches her and begins the ritual of courtship that will lead to a betrothal.  Realizing that her mother has been left alone, Mary rushes back home only to find that she is too late: her mother has been bitten and will turn into an Unconsecrated.  Mary watches her die and then Return, no longer human but a monster.  Jed refuses to let Mary come home, blaming her for their mother’s death, so Mary has no where else to turn – she is forced to live in the Cathedral and train with the Sisterhood. 

At night in the Cathedral, Mary begins to hear things – discussion and secrets that she is not supposed to know.   One night she sees a young girl her own age brought into the Cathedral and hidden from everyone else…a young girl from outside the village.  Mary begins to realize that perhaps she should question their world, their way of life…

Carrie Ryan’s tale is one parts zombie survival guide, one parts love triangle, and one parts M. Night’s The Village.  It is an action packed read that will appeal to both teen and adult audiences alike.  Mary is strong-willed and perhaps a bit selfish (the way any young adult might be if they were torn between their first love, their dreams, and what society expects of them).  Ryan’s writing is consistent and well-paced, sucking you into the story right away making the book a quick read even at 310 pages. 

The book has a sequel/companion slated for 2010 and the movie rights were just picked up so a feature film is on the way!

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book thoughts: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

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Peter Abrahams

Cody is not the smartest kid in his high school, and he’s definitely not the richest.  But he is the star quarterback and he does have an awesome girlfriend.  Clea may live in a mansion, but she gets Cody and they enjoy each other’s company.  In fact, one day they are enjoying it a little *too* much and Clea’s father walks in on them.  The next time Clea talks to Cody, she tells him that her father is pulling her out of their school in Little Bend, Colorado and transferring her to a private school — in Vermont.

Cody says a few unkind words, Clea is shipping across the country, and life goes on.  But then Cody is tackled during a game and wrecks his knee so much that he is not allowed to play the rest of the season.  Without football to motivate him, he drops out of high school and ends up working at the local lumber yard.  It is on his way there one morning, that he sees the newspaper in local coffee shop – the front page has Clea’s picture on it with a headline “MISSING GIRL”. 

Cody drops everything and drives to Vermont, hoping to find out what has happened to Clea.  But when he gets there, he finds a whole new world; kids with money, a boarding school with its own history, and Clea’s new boyfriend.  But that doesn’t stop Cody, he is determined to find out where Clea is and if she is still alive. 

Reality Check is a quick read, a suspense/mystery book targeted towards teens but since Peter Abrahams is a talented writer, or at least, I feel like he just approaches writing like “hey I’m writing, we’ll see who reads it” that this book would appeal to anyone who is in the mood for a mystery.  I enjoyed following Cody around Dover Academy and watching him piece together all the clues, and slowly realize that maybe he was smarter than he gave himself credit for. 

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movie thoughts: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wow.

I mean, I knew it had received poor reviews, but nothing could have prepared me for how bad this movie was.  It wasn’t any of the actors’ fault – they were trying their best – but the script and the editing was just all over the place.

The only reason I knew what was going on was because I had played the video game which, oddly enough, made a heck of a lot more sense and had a lot better pacing than the movie. 

After Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2, the bar was set pretty high for this franchise.  When the studio ditched Singer for X3, most of us were disappointed in the film we were given.  I’m not sure who or what was behind the mess that is Wolverine, but as much as I didn’t enjoy X3, at least it had a plot that I could follow, as stupid as it was.

What frustrates me the most when movies like this fail, is the knowledge that there are comic books out there, books with coherent plots that treat the characters with respect (and the continuity) that were completely ignored in the name of BLOW UP STUFF GUD!  I wasn’t feeling any love for the studio, all I saw was their equations of comic books + movie = easy money for studio.  They always seem to forget that quality plays a part.  *sigh*

And they should be ashamed for wasting Gambit, a character popular with so many fans.  A story about Gambit and Wolverine would have made a lot of sense because they are very similar characters – walking the line between the good and the bad.  But no, this movie brings Gambit in just long enough to feature him in the trailer, and that is it.  WASTE!!! 

On top of that, the other mutants they introduce as part of Stryker’s team, they never properly explain their powers.  You can almost hear the director chuckling about how cool it will be just to start the story in this random spot. Yeah, maybe it hits the ground running, but your audience wasn’t ready yet, and they are still standing at the starting line.

The movie lacks any of the humor from the original films.  And Wolverine is supposed to be a snarky badass, but he spends most of this film moping, an Angel wanna-be (seriously, I thought he was going to give a speech about atoning for the things he had done…he should have, he said every other cliche line in the book).

Yeah, I know this review is late…but if you  haven’t seen the movie yet…just don’t bother.

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