Monday, March 12, 2012

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan [Review]

3 out of 5 Robots!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Series: Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror Young Adult
Release: March 10, 2009
Hardcover: 310 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
My Copy: Personal Copy
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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?

Shannon's Thoughts:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes place in the not too distant future.  Mary's mother told her stories of her great great grandmother living by the ocean.  Mary has never seen the ocean, or even outside of her village.  She clings to the idea of this ocean as a place of refuge away from the Unconsecrated.

Mary's village is isolated and small - almost medieval.  It is looked after by the Sisterhood, a society of nuns, and guarded by the Guardians.  All around the village is a chain link fence that keeps the Unconsecrated from entering the village.  While the Unconsecrated are never called "zombies", they are definitely zombies.  They moan, have a desire to eat flesh, and if you are bitten you will turn into one.

When the village is breached Mary flees with a few of her friends and family.  She convinces them to find the ocean with her, leaving behind everything they have know.

I really enjoy how The Forest of Hands and Teeth is written.  It has a grounded, yet dreamy prose.  It is written in present tense in such a way that feels close and intimate.  But this book is not for the faint hearted.  There are some truly disturbing and gruesome scenes.  There is no pretty ending here.  Mary herself is an extremely flawed character.  Readers will either take to that idea or will be turned off by it.  She is utterly consumed by the idea of finding the ocean even when it means losing those she cares about.  Some will see her as extremely selfish.

There is, of course, a complicated love triangle that felt extraneous to me.  The two love interests are never really fleshed out and I found them fairly indistinguishable.  I don't think it added much to the story other than to convolute the plot.

Also, do not expect answers to your questions.  Very little is answered.  Many things are hinted at, but never explored more. It is fairly frustrating because I felt the author introduced all these elements without ever explaining anything! Sometimes I felt the author didn't know what kind of book she wanted it to be. 

But mostly, I only rated this book three stars because I find books like this depressing.  It is one of those books where even if the protagonists "triumphs" at the end, they have lost so much in the process that it feels like they haven't really won after all.

Book in the series in the order they should be read:
1. Forest of Hands and Teeth
2. The Dead-Tossed Waves
3. The Dark and Hallow Places

No comments :

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin