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In Mary's world, there are simple truths. You must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
- After the End: Set generations after a zombie apocalypse.
- Arc Words: Mary's mother's story about the ocean. She sees the ocean at the very end of the book.
- Betty and Veronica: The one Mary is betrothed to and his brother.
- Capital Letters Are Magic: Well not magic, but people are Infected by the Unconsecrated and the Guardians protect them.
- City in a Bottle / The Wall Around the World: The fence protects them from the Unconsecrated. It breaks. And later on, they find another similar village.
- Corrupt Church: The Sisterhood.
- Days of Future Past: Sort of, the society is more like that of medieval Europe.
- Future Imperfect: Mary finds a book of Shakespeare's sonnets and have no idea what they are, and sees Roman numerals on the path and can't understand them.
- Locked Away in a Monastery: Mary is sent to live with the Sisterhood after her mother is Infected.
- Not Using the Z Word: The zombies are called Unconsecrated.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They are basically the classic B-Movie zombies, only they spread via virus.
- X Meets Y: Dawn of the Dead meets Dystopia.
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Zombie Gait: A major plot point is that the Sisterhood created an Unconsecrated that didn't walk slowly.