Monday, July 12, 2010

Review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Pages: 308
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Horror
Pub. Date: March 10, 2009
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Goodreads says, "In Mary's world there are simple truths.  The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent.  And 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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.  And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"

Zombie apocalypse= the stuff of nightmares.  Thanks to zombies, I barely got any sleep last night.  I've never really been a fan, but I thought I would give them a try.  The first fifty pages of The Forest of Hands and Teeth were extremely well written and possessed such interesting and unique plot lines, but then things changed for me.  It got really dark and depressing.  I mean this is the apocalypse we are taking about here.  Man! Did this book freak me out!  Let me preface this by saving I am by no means a fan of the horror genre, but I thought I would attempt to leave my comfort zone.  Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth is really well written, but for me, it was too bleak and terrifying.

Mary, the protagonist, grew up listening to her mother's stories about the ocean and what lies outside of their fenced in world.  She always dreamt of leaving the village and seeing the ocean for herself, which in itself is challenging the Sisterhood.  The Sisterhood is a group of women that basically run the village, but Mary finds out that they are with holding some secrets.  The Guardians protect the village from what lies outside of the fence, which are, you guessed it, ZOMBIES.  Since I am not a fan of the horror genre, I really had little to no background knowledge regarding zombies.  I asked my husband, who loves horror films, all about them and he reported back that they are corpses that are mindless and eat human flesh as well as brains.  Yikes! They attack civilization and their victims become zombies, which in turn causes an outbreak.  Awesome.  I should have put the book down at that point, but Ryan's writing style was addicting. I am a glutton for punishment. But moving on, the village fence is breached and things take a turn for the worse in  Mary's community. It turns into chaos, because the Unconsecrated (zombies) have fractured the fences, which protects the village's fragile world.

Despite all the doom and gloom, there is actually a love triangle in this novel, which definitely adds to the plot. In short: Mary is going to be "bound" to Harry, but she truly loves his brother, Travis.  To complicate matters, Travis has "spoken for" Cass, who is Mary's best friend. Hey, it's a small community.  This triangle was interesting; however, I felt the characters of Travis, Harry, and Cass lacked depth.  I wanted something more from them; perhaps more emotion, but I never got it.  As I continued with the novel, I found this extremely frustrating.  

 I will admit that despite being scared out of my wits, Ryan's writing style is, as I mentioned before, addicting.  This novel is really written well, which is why I stuck with it.  I couldn't stomach all the gore and violence, but I know that fans of horror as well as dystopian fiction will love this book. The companion to this novel, The Dead Tossed Waves came out this past March and the third book, The Dark and Hollow Places will come out next March. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart; read at your own risk! 

*Watch the book trailer


  1. Ooh, I love creepy. I wasn't sure about this book before, but I'll definitely have to read it now.

  2. I read this book a while back, and really didn't like it, although everybody else seems to love it. It was pretty bleak, and I guess all the zombie stuff just isn't for me. Added to that I just didn't like any of the characters, the plot was repetitive and mundane too...I could go on. lol!

    I hear it's being optioned for a movie though, so I guess I'm in the minority!

  3. I'm really not a huge zombie fan, but despite you not liking this book, the darkness makes me think that I might could enjoy it. Maybe I'll look into it. . .

  4. I don't think my little heart can take it.

  5. I am not at all a zombie fan but I did like the book and I wanted to know what happened. I like dystopian fiction but I think the Hunger Games series is much superior.

    You might like Matched by Ally Condie (November 2010). It is a dystopian/utopian novel kind of like The Giver but with some romance and absolutely no zombies or other paranormal creatures in sight!

  6. Adriana- If you like the whole creepy aspect, you will definitely enjoy this book. I'm just a huge baby about this stuff.

    Leanna- I'm so glad we agree. I thought the plot was repetitive as well. Good point.

    Brizmus- Definitely look into it and decide for yourself b/c there were a lot of really good reviews for it.

    Juju- My heart can't either :)

    Christina- I cannot wait to read Matched- I loved the Giver so I will definitely have to pick that one up. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. I loved this book! Great review!

  8. Hmm...I don't really do scary. But it seems like an interesting book. I'm on the fence...but leaning on the side of not-for-me.

  9. I liked it pretty well, but I do scary :)

  10. Jeremy, Alison, and Brandi- Thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

  11. I love zombies and this is one of my favorite YA books. :D Yes, her writing is addicting! The book is bleak and creepy and oh-so-fantastic. I liked Waves even better though. Can't wait for the third!

  12. Oh, I'm sorry you didn't care for this one. I loved it which surprised me because I'm not really into the whole zombie thing. But as you said, the writing is so good it leads you on.


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