I love anthologies, especially since that’s how I generally find new authors to read. It’s also a great way to try several authors in a genre one doesn’t typically gravitate towards. For me, I’m not a big young adult fan, so I don’t go looking in the young adult section for something to read. However, it seems like urban fantasy has taken the genre by storm and there’s a ton of fabulous new series out there to explore. So when I was given the chance to read the upcoming anthology Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions, which features stories from 16 of today’s YA stars, I jumped at the chance.
The second story in Enthralled is Carrie Ryan’s Scenic Route and it’s your typical Zombielandesque story.
Set in the The Forest of Hands and Teeth world, two sisters try to survive the recent zombie apocalypse by hiding out on top of a mountain where they think they’re safe and plan for the day they can take the ultimate road trip.
I haven’t read Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, so I’m not familiar with this world, and while that isn’t a bad thing, it doesn’t really make the story stand out for me. Scenic Route is another typical Zombielandesque story where it’s all about survival against all things monstrous – both undead and living. I think that’s the part that is getting to me the most. You don’t actually see any of the undead running around. The two sisters, Margie and Sally, never leave their cabin, which is in the middle of nowhere. Now that isn’t to say there isn’t a conflict, because there is with monsters and everything. It’s just a typical novella conflict – one big fight with a bunch of psychological prep leading up to it.
I will admit, while I’m not a fan of the zombie survival plots (no I haven’t, nor do I have any desire to, watch AMC’s The Walking Dead), I do have a small amount of curiosity as to how this world started. I prefer seeing the zombie apocalypse rather than the aftermath, so it does make me interested enough to pick up The Forest of Hands and Teeth at some point in the future. So in that aspect, Scenic Route has done it’s job – made me interested in Ryans’ series. However, the novella on it’s own was merely okay. Again, it doesn’t stand out to me as something I couldn’t put down and while the characters were interesting, you don’t find out too much about them.
Honestly, I feel like I’m forcing the words to come out for this review when all I really want to say is “it’s okay”. So I’m just going to end it with this. If you like Ryans’ The Forest of Hands and Teeth series, then you’ll probably enjoy seeing another area to her world. If you haven’t read it, but enjoy the zombie survival stories, you’ll definitely want to read this to get an idea of Ryans’ world. If you’re more like me and couldn’t care one way or the other about zombie survival stories, it’s a decent story to read.
Other stories reviewed from Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions: (*the stories are being reviewed in order, so the links for stories after this one won’t work until it’s done.)
Giovanni’s Farewell by Claudia Gray
Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan
Red Run by Kami Garcia
Things About Love by Jackson Pearce
Niederwald by Rachel Vincent
A Mortal Winter King by Melissa Marr
Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong
Let’s Get This Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan
Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting
Leaving by Ally Condie
At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday
Iv League by Margaret Stohl
Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson
The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Automatic by Rachel Caine