Sunday, June 24, 2012
Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
First in The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy
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?
This was my first real flesh eating, mindless zombie book. The only other zombie book I've read the zombies were good zombies if there can be any good zombies. I think this was the perfect jump into this genre. It was a creepy, edge of your seat roller coaster ride with tons of action and romance. I feel like the last person to read this and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
This book started off with a bang. In the first couple pages or so Mary's mother gets turned, her brother abandons her and she has to live with the Sisterhood. Which is almost like a nunnery and she's treated like a slave. I felt really bad for her. She's also caught between Harry who is willing to take her away from all of it and his younger brother Travis who she wants more than anything and who dreams about a life outside of the fences just like she does. It was like a love square because her best friend was betrothed to Travis but wanted to be with Harry and Mary was betrothed to Harry but wanted to be with Travis. I wanted it to switch but of course it wasn't that easy. I was surprised by how quickly I was invested in these characters story. I wanted them to all be with who they wanted to be with and to have a happy ending. I think it was because they had such sad lives and lived in such a horrible world and in a society where their choices were taken away before they even knew they had a choice. I just wanted to take them out of the bleak, scary world they lived in. This book was all about surviving and finding hope and beauty in a terrifying world and it was so interesting to see how people reacted to it and who they became in certain situations. Weather it made them stronger or made them fall apart.
The romance was so sweet and realistic. It wasn't rushed at all. Travis and Mary were so adorable and would do absolutely anything for each other. They argued but it made sense. They are both flawed people, living in a destroyed world, trying to survive and make a relationship work at the same time. I just wanted them to be happy.
I would not want to live in the world this book is set in. It's very post-apocalyptic and terrifying. The village that the characters live in in the beginning of the book is controlling and surrounded by fences. It made me claustrophobic just reading about it. Outside the fences isn't much better though. 'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' definitely deserves its name. Are they the only ones in the world and all that's left out there are the 'Unconsecrated' or is there people out there struggling to survive just like them? No on one knows. But these characters are going to find out.
I thought this was a beautiful, realistic book about surviving in a dying world. There were scenes so intense I felt like screaming. I didn't know what would happen next and it was constantly changing with every turning page. The writing was descriptive (almost too descriptive at parts but it's zombies what do you expect) and gorgeous without slowing the plot down. Be warned though: this book made me cry. Hard. Something happened towards the end that I never saw coming and I actually had to go back and reread the scene for it to really sink in but once it did I started crying immediately. And it took me a while to stop. It made sense for it to happen but it still made me heart feel like an Unconsecrated ate it and then put it back in my chest. Despite how much that hurt I still absolutely loved this book and I can't wait to read the next one.