This is the third, and possibly, final chapter in the saga of “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” zombie series written by Carrie Ryan. I was excited to start this book, though the second book in the series was a bit of a letdown compared to the first. The first book, which shares the series title, was incredible. The second was good, but certainly not as good, so I expected Ryan to return to some of the styles that worked so well in the first book. Unfortunately, she did not.
This third book continues from where the second leaves off, but now follows, once again, a different main character in Annah, the long lost sister of Gabry whom Annah knows as Abigail. Annah has decided it is time for her to leave the Dark City to try to find Abigail, but just as she is leaving the city she discovers her sister has just entered the city.
This discovery forces Annah on a journey to find her sister in the Dark City in which she reunites with Elias and meets Catcher and is taken prisoner on an island surrounded by the dead. I must admit, the reason I enjoyed the first book was due in part to the lack of romance, which the second and now third books delve way too deep into for my taste. It wouldn’t have been as much of an issue, had Ryan started the entire series off this way, but all that made book one so great was set to the background to focus more closely on the relationship and love lives of her characters.
I hope that this was not intended to show a female lead character in a strong light, as I felt it did not. I felt Annah never really took control of her life until she had zero option to do anything but, which was disheartening to say the least. I felt her character could have been portrayed a little less weakly and it would have made the story much stronger. When I read a horror zombie story, I want my lead character to be strong. Certainly I want them to have real flaws, but I don’t want them to have so many flaws that they start to annoy me, which Annah did for me.
I still gave the book 3 of 5 stars because the ending was great and most of the story as you picked away the romance portions were very well written and Ryan kept me engaged. It was a quick read which I always appreciate too. I recommend this book series but I warn that if you love the first book, you’ll only just like or tolerate the second and third.