Frankly, with such a provocative title, I expected something more. I read this after Hunger Games, which may have ruined me for post-apocalyptic teen fiction...but this novel is weak enough to suck next to Twilight even. In all areas.
My first big question: WTF is this novel really about? It doesn't have any moving themes, and that means it has little cultural value. That may sound smug, but I don't mean it to be. There are really horrible novels that have cultural value, and, therefore, worth reading. Naked Lunch, again--not the greatest story in the world, not the most engaging characters, not the most rewarding themes...but still worth it. Still somehow important culturally.
- Great title. Seriously.
- Some potentially interesting entanglements, romantic and plotwise.
- Some compelling scenery.
- The characters. Completely flat, one-dimensional, static--whatever literary term you want to use to say they are not appealing and do not make you want to care about them. The main character is flighty and whiny. She has a connection with a foreign zombie girl--but that connection does nothing to further any character. The men are bland and malleable, uninteresting. No one develops enough to deal with the main conflict (the elusive main conflict) head on.
- Plot. Why are there zombies? Who is the red shirt zombie girl? Where is she from? Who put up the giant fences? Why did the nuns rise to power? What happens to the zombies when there are no people left to chase/eat? These are just some of the plot questions I struggled with during and immediately following.
- Female roles. They're not worth anything if not chosen by a man. But they nuns rule everyone. They must be meek and obedient. But the main character can lead...a little. She's pathetic enough that no one chooses her for marriage, yet when she has the chance to be with the man she's always loved, she gets tired of him. The red shirt zombie girl is the key to something, but we never find out what that is. Wishy-washy ladies yet again.
I wanted the chain link fence to fall. I wanted everyone to die except the main character. I wanted the title to really mean something.
I hear they're making a movie. Maybe it'll be one of those rare instances in which the film is better than the literature. I'll probably see it.