epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Book Reviews: Not of Woman Born + The Forest of Hands & Teeth

Not Of Woman Born edited by Constance Ash

This average sci-fi anthology collects various tales of high tech reproduction.

Stories include:

Judith’s Flowers
In the not too far future, a grown up designer baby who had an unorthodox upbringing wonders who she really is and where she belongs. This is good but the narrator is way too whiny.

A Gift to Be Simple
A religious group are dying out until they decide to find a high tech way to replenish their flock. This was okay.

One Day at Central Convenience Mall
Programmed retail clerks slave away at their jobs and then one breaks the mould. This was good.

Dead in the Water

A woman has to decide whether to have a designer baby. This was okay.

Raising Jenny
A woman agrees to give birth to and raise the clone of her late mother. She never got along with her mother and is determined to be the ideal mommy. But as the clone child grows up, our narrator learns a lot about motherhood and nature vs nurture. This was good but the whole concept of mothering your dead mother’s clone was a bit icky.

Bouncing Babies
A woman who earned ten million for donating her eggs is horrified when the first baby born of her eggs is returned and declared inadequate. Now with her payment repossessed and her eggs branded substandard, what is she to do? This is a funny story.

Of Bitches Born
What is the effect of cloning dogs on dog sled racing? This is a bittersweet tale of a man who is the last racer to use naturally born huskies. This is good.

When actors and models age or get sick, their managers just replace them with younger, dumber clones in this bitter tale of La La Land.

Daddy’s World
Jamie lives in a fantasy land paradise where everything is fun and he has lots of magical creatures as friends. Then he notices that his younger sister is now older than him and that she is angry all the time. Then his sister tells him the terrible truth about his existence. This is a dark and creepy story of how a father consumed by grief destroys his family and won’t let his son rest in order to have the perfect son and family he is entitled to.


The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in a village in the middle of a forest. Her village is enclosed by fences and governed by rules. The quasi-religious Sisterhood know best, the Guardians will serve, the fences must be tended and the Unconsecrated will never relent.

Mary pines and sulks for a life outside her suffocating village and its endless rules. She longs to escape the Unconsecrated and go to see the ocean that her mother has told stories about. As time passes she becomes aware that the Sisterhood has secrets and that there are definitely other people outside the village.

Mary’s desire to escape is granted in horrific fashion. One day the sirens wail, the village has been overrun by the Unconsecrated. Mary and a few others manage to escape to the paths in the forest. Where will they go? Is there anywhere to go to?

This is good, the first in a series. Ryan wonderfully evokes life in a world where generations have passed since a zombie apocalypse. Mary however comes across as whiny and selfish. Still maybe she’ll undergo some character growth in the sequel ‘The Dead Tossed Waves’.

Questions need answering: what did the Sisterhood know? Who built the village and the intricate system of fences and gates? Why do the Unconsecrated still number so many if they eventually fall apart in time? I look forward to finding out the answers in future novels.
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