Friday, December 2, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Genre: post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Series and Book #: Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Pages: 308

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated with 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, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now 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 by so much death?


Such a dark, hopeful novel. The world Mary lives in is surrounded by so much death that her society is consumed by it. To them, it is only survive and live, never love or hope or fantasize.

Mary is one of my favorite characters. She's so hopeful when the world around her crumbles, and she clings to her one dream of seeing the ocean before she dies. Her friends fuel her need to see life and worlds that are not touched by the gruesome death of her neighbors and loved ones. And so when her village falls, she keeps believing in the ocean and in life and that is what keeps her going even as her friends fall, and her heart is crushed and swelled and crushed again. She's relentless. She's so strong and full of life.

Carrie writes the village and its principles so well. She makes it seem as dismal and uneventful as Mary sees it. She transitions between normal life, to chaos, into Mary's miserable existence in the Cathedral, to the Forest, with so much ease that you barely notice. Her vocabulary also expresses the darkness and disaster and the suffocating death that Mary is surrounded by. Just a wonderfully written novel.

Overall, even though this novel is about a zombie apocalypse, it doesn't feel like one. I almost thought it was a dystopian novel because it's placed in the future after the world as we know it has ended by what seems an infection that has overtaken the world's dead population. The anguish and optimism all melt into a delectable read. Carrie has done a beautiful and creative job of building paradise out of disease and destruction.

The Cover: Reflects the novel wonderfully. Loved this cover, loved the portrayal of Mary, loved the darkness in the woods.

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