I was leery of this series to start with. I couldn't help thinking: Do we really need a YA zombie series? And what is this current fascination with zombies all about anyway? And did Brad Pitt really have to make a zombie movie???
I didn't love the first book of the trilogy, partly because of the narrator and partly because it was difficult to get a handle on the main character (Mary). The three books are connected, and Mary appears - as an adult - in the later stories, but she's not nearly as annoying. In the first book, Mary was pretty whiny and selfish, and it was difficult to sympathize with her as she battled the zombies in the forest of hands and teeth with a small band of friends. There was also a lot of Mary ruminating in her own head which became somewhat repetitive and dull. This was a bit of a fault with all three books because they're all written in first person point of view from the perspective of a different teen female narrator - in the second book it's Mary's daughter, Gabry, and in the third book it's Anna. I won't say how she fits into the story because that would be too much of a spoiler. Gabry and Anna are much more engaging main characters in their respective stories than Mary is in the first. But all three narrators have a tendency to spend a lot of time in their own heads. I suppose there's not much else to do in a zombie-infested dystopia. At least each of the books takes place largely in a different setting, even though the forest itself is a feature of all three. But it dominates the first book in a way that it doesn't dominate the second and third installments. And, let's face it, a forest filled with zombies is a somewhat limited setting.
The second and third books were more engaging than the first so I'm glad I stuck with it to the end. And the trilogy really did work as a "complete" story arc which is more than I can say for a lot of recent YA trilogies. Also, each story had its own distinct conclusion and wrapped up the journey of the relevant narrator so I don't have to talk about my pet peeve about cliffhangers in the middle of trilogies. As I have said before, as long as each story is self-contained, I'm happy. And these were, although the third story had more of a big ending that wrapped up the series nicely. I understand there's going to be a movie (or potentially going to be a movie) so we can look forward to more zombies on the silver screen! Why, oh why, did Brad Pitt have to make a zombie movie??? Anyway, at the end of the day, this is a solid trilogy and if you can make it through the first book, the second and third books are more rewarding. Just don't listen to the first one as an audio book.