April 19, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Carrie Ryan) Review

Look out for the rest of this series. The Dead-Tossed Waves' (3/2010) and 'The Dark and Hollow Places' (2011)

Publisher Delacorte Press (March 10, 2009)
Hardcover: 308 pages

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? (Source)
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan, was a magnificent story about a post-zombie world where humans fight to hold onto their pasts and try to start anew. The idea of a fence holding back hoards of zombies, or Unconsecrated, made me shiver with apprehension wondering what would happen if they broke through?

This is my second attempt at a zombie book, my first being Brains: A Zombie Memoir, by Robin Becker. I had expectations that it would be a laugh out loud comedy like Brains but I was mistaken. This book was a totally different view on zombies and I hung on for dear life to every single word. Ryan has an amazing writing style that kept tension brewing the entire time. She created situations that I could actually see occurring if a zombie-attack ever came about. She was honest and thorough which made this book utterly fantastic.

The protagonist, Mary, dreamt of the life that her mother remembered and revealed to her. She dreamt of oceans, New York City, and everything unattainable in her current situation. Her village was run by the Sisterhood. These Sisters created a community based on God and his teachings. Rules were created to keep justice and peace throughout the village. People were only to marry based on compatibility over love. These guidelines were strictly enforced to keep the human population growing while the threat of the Unconsecrated beat at the fences. Mary secretly fought against the Sisterhood in her fantasy of having the man she wanted and the life she wanted outside of the village.

Mary's relationship with Travis was breathtaking. The passion that each felt for each other was heart-breaking when they were told they could not be together. But they resisted as much as they could, and that made them a dazzling pair. He was truly loyal to Mary and her fantasies, and that made him a perfect man in my eyes.

The journey along the path in the Forest of Hands and Teeth was brilliant. Ryan's creativity made this adventure one of a kind. These characters were in such close proximity to the flesh-desiring monsters, the uncertainty grew as the story progressed.

A large theme in this book was love. The love of a husband, wife, brother, mother, the love of two people who were kept apart, and the love for something more. Mary underwent great trials and regrets when she figured out what really mattered. She never lived for the moment and that became clear to her much too late.

The cover of this book was marvelous. It truly showed Mary's solitude among her village and their ideals. And the forest was portrayed very ominously.

Overall this was a great book. I cannot wait to read the next installments!


  1. Ok! This is the first time I hear the mention of zombies in this book! suddenly it doesn't sound like a clone of the Village, but it actually sounds interesting!

  2. THanks for the review! I have this book in my TBR pile. Hopefully I will get to it soon :)

  3. I just bought this and the Dead Tossed Waves. I bought them because I loved the title & cover of bk 2....I didn't even know it was about zombies until after I got it. As I love zombie's I'm even more anxious to read it.
    Great review!

  4. I've had this one sitting on my shelf for awhile, but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I've heard wonderful things about it though, and I'm glad you agree! Hopefully I'll be able to have some extra time this summer to pick it up. Thanks for the review! :)

  5. Great new blog design! Love it.

  6. Great review! I just got this and am debating on if I should start it now or after I finish rereading the Sookie books...

    PS. Your site is ADORABLE!


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