Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombies vs. Werewolves: reviews

I just read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and the Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Both were good, but as is the nature of humans-- and I am neither werewolf nor zombie-- I feel the desire to compare them.

Shiver nutshell synopsis: Grace has always felt a special affection for the wolves in the woods behind her house. When she meets Sam (a human) she realizes he is one of them. Falling in love, dealing with werewolf issues ensues.

FOHAT nutshell synopsis: Mary lives in a compound surrounded by a forest full of zombies. Things change, her world falls apart, and she has to determine whether love or escape is more important.

Both books were exciting. Shiver has, hands down, my favorite cover of the year. Periodically I closed the book while reading just to stare at that lovely cover. And sigh. The writing is so like that cover: crisp, fresh, parsed down in the best way.

Forest of Hands and Teeth is an incredible title. It doesn't get any better than this. It's frightening, and encapsulates so much. The writing is so like that title: evocative.

But when I compare them I feel like Shiver's writing is so much stronger. Maybe it's just the kind of writing I prefer. I am of course critiquing these as a non-published writer. They were both excellent books. I felt at some times that FOHAT was clunky writing. Whereas in comparison shiver was pristine.


  1. I read shiver when I was editing my novel and freaked out every time I saw an adverb or "was walking" sort of phrase. I couldn't get into it. I tried and I'll try again when I'm not editing.

    The forest of teeth and hands.. that is a great title for a zombie book.

  2. I'm not really into zombies OR warewolves so I haven't read either but if were to choose between the two, I'd choose Shiver based on the cover alone. It definitely draws you in.

  3. That's funny Erinn-- it's all about what you're doing at the time. I really think reading the two back to back made a big difference. I couldn't help but compare them. Even though they're such different books. I think FOHAT prose felt heavier because the book THEMES were alot heavier.

    I hear you Erin. I am not usually the werewolf/zombie/fill-in-the-blank creature type but every once in a while I read some just to see what all the buzz is about.

  4. I love that you described the writing in Shiver as pristine. I loved the book and also read the sequel (which was easier for me to get into). The writing was so "pared down" that sometimes I had a hard time getting into it...or really feeling for the characters. And at the same time, I did. I got the sequel right away. I felt distanced from the characters even though it was in first person. (Reading it really messed up my own MS. I tried to cut out a ton of detail and yet add shorter descriptive setting details at the same time. Ugh.)

  5. i've read both of these and liked them both.

    probably TFOHAT resonated stronger with me - not sure why (it's also the first zombie book I've read).

    but i agree, the writing in Shiver is pristine and completely crush-worthy.

  6. Thanks Christy_H, that's a great point-- that brisk writing can make you feel disconnected.
    Nomes- word!

  7. I loved both of these but for very different reasons. I loved the world building in FOHT - it stayed with me and I thought about the book for months afterwards. Some the scenes were just startling and I felt like my heart would explode during some of the more exciting parts where they were being chased. But I loved the writing in Shiver. It's romantic prose as its best. Pristine is a good word for it. Also remember that Stiefvater is more seasoned than Carrie Ryan - FOHT was her debut.

  8. I absolutely agree with you -- and what a great way to compare them. Shiver is more pristine. I had a really hard time even finishing FOHT because I was so bogged down by the overly dramatic writing and inconsistencies in Mary's behavior (she drove me crazy). But Shiver...

    Great post!

  9. I adore both of these books. I am continuously recommending them to friends and family who don't read much YA, but I always dread the moment that they ask me what they're about... werewolves and zombies. That's when I get the inevitable "you're crazy" look, and then I have to go on and on about how lovely the writing is and how romantic the storylines are before I can convince anyone to take them on.

    Everytime I do, though, Maggie and Carrie gain new fans! :)

  10. Thanks Susan-- I really enjoy your reviews, and I get the feeling we agree on a lot of books.

    Katy- very funny. I get those same looks!!! I love how people who love good books love to SHARE them.

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