Friday, April 30, 2010

Review - The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Bookdepository / Amazon UK / Amazon US
Librarything / Goodreads

Rating: 3.5 stars
Pages: 310

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?

Thoughts: The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a beautiful, terrifying book.  I completely understand why people are so enamoured with Carrie Ryan's writing!  It is elegant, poetic and well, frankly, gorgeous.  This book swallowed me whole and didn't let go until I'd finished the whole thing.

The world Ryan creates is simply terrifying.  Actually, the entire book is one long nightmare.  It is a cross between The Handmaid's Tale (by Margaret Atwood) and The Village (film by M. Night Shyamalan) - only with zombies.  Scary stuff, especially for a wimp like me!

Unfortunately I was unable to relate to any of the main characters in this book.  I didn't actively dislike any of them, but I did often felt their personal dramas were an annoying distraction from the action.  The romantic triangle in the book had a lot of tell-no-show aspects - referencing feelings from before the book began.  It was disappointing, but probably for the best - true love can't last long during a zombie apocalypse!

Bottom Line?  The Forest of Hands and Teeth beautiful, haunting book.  I'd highly recommend it to older teens and adults - especially those who don't pick up "genre" books.  Ryan has a way of making a book about zombies into a book about everything but zombies.


  1. Thanks for the review on this one, it's been on my TBR list for a bit.

  2. I seem to be the only person I know who didn't like this book. I gave it a 2/5, but then I am generally not a fan of zombie books. I dunno, I just didn't enjoy this one at all!

  3. I absolutely loved this book, which was a surprise because I don't usually read about scary stuff. As you say, it was a nightmare!! Zombies are scary stuff when you cannot go out of your house without someone trying to eat you.

  4. Great review! I enjoyed this book but I have to say that I liked The Dead Tossed Waves even more. Do you plan to read that one too?

  5. Good review! Your cover here is so different from the one that I have. Now I want to read it soon!

  6. @Book Sake - Thanks!

    @Leanna - Sorry to hear you didn't like it! I appreciated its literary aethetics, but if I had been reading purely for character it would have gotten a much lower rating.

    @Gaby - It really is quite scary stuff, isn't it? If I think about it too hard I get seriously wigged out.

    @Christina - Glad to know Dead Tossed Waves is better. I was indeed planning on getting a copy, but I think I will wait a while. There is only so much zombie action I can take!

    @Sheila - Thanks! Interesting that you like the cover - I think it really suits the book, but I'm not sure I would have picked it up on cover alone...



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