Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Release date: February 9, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: Paperback
Pages: 308
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
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?

Hoo boy, I love me some zombies. Something about them just excites me. Is that weird? Probably, but I really couldn't care less. Sometimes all I want to do is read or watch about the undead ripping people to shreds and eating their brains. Gripping stuff, it is. The Forest of Hands and Teeth was a pretty satisfying zombie read for me. We have a slightly different mythology towards them, a different name, and a rather interesting way of dealing with them. For a while, the book was a slow starter, but the second half was gripping and exciting.

I loved how the setting felt like it was "The Crucible" in the future. The religious fervor and manic craze against a common enemy were there, just somehow different and the enemy was the "Unconsecrated". I loved the Sisterhood and their complete control over the town and the information the people are given. Honestly, I pretty much loved everything about the book except the protagonist. The world was creepy and utterly fitting for a zombie book. The plot was fascinating and made me want to keep reading. If only Mary could have been different...

I found Mary to be completely irritating for pretty much the entire book. The girl couldn't decide what boy she really liked or get up the gall to do anything of much use. Sure, flawed characters make for better characters, but I can't really sympathize if they annoy me to no end. Even though Mary's best friend Cass wasn't my favorite character, I saw her motivations and could understand exactly why she did what she did. Even so, the parts of the book that I enjoyed ended up overshadowing Mary.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is crazy effective in conveying the raw emotion and heartbreak of loss. It seems as if there is a never-ending stream of deaths, with only just enough time to recover from one before the next. In any disaster someone is losing their loved ones and that can be like the end of the world. This emotion is something that sets The Forest of Hands and Teeth apart from other zombie novels, and makes it worth your time and attention.

Risk a paper cut? Just like an open cut, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is painful. And yet unlike a cut, it is a pleasure.

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