Mary's life has always been simple: protect your family, follow the Sisterhood, and stay away from the Unconsecrated in the Forest of Hands and Teeth. This is the only life she's ever known: a village surrounded by fences with the large Cathedral dominating every day life. But Mary's mother always told her stories of the ocean and Mary is sure there must be something outside of their tiny village. After the fence is unexpectedly breached and the town is overrun with Unconsecrated, Mary flees with her brother and his wife and her childhood friends Cass, Harry and Travis through a series of gates without any clue as to where they will lead.
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed Carrie Ryan's writing style: it is filled with beautiful descriptions (including a lovely title) and has a wonderful ebb and flow of action. I also thought her world building was pretty solid and full of interesting ideas - the whole idea of how the village establishes its own customs and religious ideals intrigues me. That said, I could not stand the character of Mary - or really any of the others for that matter. She seemed selfish, immature and seemingly incapable of the love the author keeps telling you she possesses. None of the characters were developed adequately for my tastes and consequently I never understood why she loved Travis so much or why others were drawn to her. Over and over again everyone asks Mary what will make her happy - I got so sick of that question by the end. Mostly because Mary proved time and again that whatever she felt like would make her happy would occur no matter the cost to anyone else. Yuck.