Review ♦ The Forest Of Hands And Teeth

About the Book

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 it’s 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?



My Thoughts  
The Forest of Hands and Teeth starts out quite slowly, but not in a bad way, it’s more like the author really wanted to impress upon the reader just how different Mary’s world is from the one we are familiar with. We are given small glimpses at first of a secluded village of people, survivors who have come together after a catastrophic event has caused the dead to walk, to hunt, to prey on the living. Through the eyes and thoughts of Mary it is explained how this community works, what type of new society they have created in order to live on, despite the constant threat of violence from the bodies who should be unmoving, dead, at peace. Because we are learning about the village from Mary’s perspective, a lot of her doubts and worries color the descriptions of the the Sisterhood who seem to control everyone with their rules and enforce those same rules with the help of the Guardians. Mystery surrounds this entire world, curiosity is hard to avoid, as Mary truly believes that the people are not being given the whole truth about the situation. It seems that the fence which surrounds and protects them has also created a cocoon around the minds of the villagers. Most are so happy to have someone else responsible for their well-being, that they have chosen to ignore the old stories from before the Return of the dead. Over time, they’ve become so comfortable with the situation that the idea of questioning would be like admitting that their lives are not as satisfying as they’ve been led to believe. Mary, whose grown up hearing her mother’s tales of oceans, sandy beaches and a whole world beyond the fences, has only grown more curious. Rather than feeling protected by the fences, she feels trapped within a cage of lies. She can’t keep herself from her private spot atop a hill, searching the horizons and obsessing over what better world might lie beyond the fence, because surely the forest cannot go on forever.

No one remembers where the paths go. Some say they are there as escape routes, others say they are there so that we can travel deep into the Forest for wood. We only know that one points to the rising sun and the other to the setting sun. I am sure our ancestors knew where the paths led, but just like everything else about the world before the Return, that knowledge has been lost.

No matter how curious she is, her questions will never be answered however, because the world she lives in is a very structured one. The Sisterhood has been running the village forever now, and the structured life that ensures the living never join the legions of undead, means that Mary must be partnered with a fellow villager, to live as a married couple and create new lives to once again populate the earth. If a marriage is not arranged she will join the Sisterhood. Neither are choices that Mary would choose though, because the one she loves is not her intended, but her intended’s brother. Even in her grief over a love that cannot be, she is haunted by the thought that the Sisterhood is hiding something, and she begins to feel as though the Sisterhood are worried and a little more than threatened about how far she is willing to go to find uncover that truth. Mary knows the Sisterhood has been creating their own truth, and that truth is not enough for her.

We are our own memory-keepers and we have failed ourselves. It is like that game we played in school as children. Sitting in a circle, one student whispers a phrase into another student’s ear and the phrase is passed around until the last student in the circle repeats what she hears, only to find out it is nothing like what it is supposed to be.

That is our life now.

As I said earlier, this is a book that starts out slowly, creeping along and leaving bits of mystery along the way. But the reader can never forget that this is also a zombie story, and as the undead never give up in their relentless desire to overtake the living, the momentum is building quietly in the background. Being the huge zombie fan that I am, I was a little skeptical of how a young adult novel would pull off a serious zombie story. But I was more than satisfied, the undead action is excellent. I was also wondering exactly what species of zombie would be starring here. Would they be classic Romero shamblers, or the more modernized Rage-Runners that have all the gorehounds up in arms over. Unlike with the Zombie vs Unicorn debate (and by the way I’m 100% Team Zombie) I’ve never been a supporter of either the Rager or the Shambler – I love both equally and even after many a debate I see the positive aspects of both. So now I guess you’re wondering which type Carrie Ryan has chosen to highlight as the fence-shaking, villager-eating, villains eh? Well, you’ll just have to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth if you want to find out, but let me assure you regardless of whether you want your zombies sprinting or hobbling - these zombies are perfect!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth has earned a spot on my treasured zombie shelf and I cannot wait for Carrie Ryan to toss another zombie book towards this Book Zombie :)

About The Author
Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College adn Duke University Law School. She lives with her writer/lawyer fiance, two fat cats and one dumb puppy in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Book Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover 310 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press 
Publication Date: March 2009
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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Stephanie said...

I SO want to read this book now!! I haven't heard of it before, but what a great review!!

By the way, I LOVE your ZOMBIE shelves!! I see a couple of my favorite books...World War Z in particular!! I was also pretty impressed with Monster Island, Monster Nation (and I haven't read Monster Planet but I know I'll love it) by David Wellington!

E. L. Fay said...

Zombies meet The Giver? EXCELLENT.

bermudaonion said...

Since the author is from the area I live in, the launch party was held here. I planned to go and then forgot all about it. Now I'm bummed.

Jennsbookshelf said...

I LOVE your zombie shelf! I need to have one of those! Great review. This book has been on my wish list for some time. I'm in a zombie mood lately!

Lenore said...

Your Zombie shelf is the coolest thing ever! I need to make a dystopia shelf :)

Dar said...

Fantastic review Joanne. I saw this one a while back and thought it sounded great plus that cover really drew me in also. Your thoughts on it have reinforced the fact that I need to one day read this. Love your zombie shelves by the way!

Kailana said...

I really want to read this book! Probably will wait for paperback, though, unless the library decides to get it!

B.Kienapple said...

Great cover, great concept! I'm all for reading this one.

Beth F said...

I've been a bit on the fence (ha, ha) about this one, but your review has pushed me over. Thanks.

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

I'd really been looking forward to your review of this. I want to read the book even more now! I'm so jealous of your Zombie Shelves! They're awesome :)

Nymeth said...

The description of this book reminds me quite a bit of Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. But! Gathering Blue doesn't have zombies, so this is almost by definition cooler :P

Excellent review, Joanne. And wow, you have a zombie shelf! Just when I thought you couldn't possibly get any more cool points :D

Anonymous said...

LOVE the zombies protecting all the books. TOO COOL or should I say 'wicked cool!'

Anonymous said...

LOVE the zombies protecting all the books. TOO COOL or should I say 'wicked cool!'

Chris said...

Zom-bayyyys! I really need to read this sounds great. Very haunting!

J.S. Peyton said...

This book sounds right up my alley! Sigh. It looks like this is another one for the TBR pile. Oh, la TBR how large you are getting!

P.S. Love your blog!

Melissa said...

Great review! Hoping to get around to reading this one, one of these days :-)

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the book, but the bookshelves are beyond awesome! And you dusted! :-D

naida said...

great review, it does sound like a good book.
and I love those zombie shelves!!!
awesome :O)

Zibilee said...

Awesome review! This does sound like a very interesting book, and I love your zombie bookshelf!

Ladytink_534 said...

I swear this sounds like the sequel to I Am Legend. Love your shelf even if zombies do freak me out.

Ms Ulat Buku said...

wow! you really are a big zombie fan. your collection is impressive and incredibly neat!

I just finished The Forest of Hands & Teeth and absolutely loved it! Cant wait for the second book to be out.

aimee said... have to read the 2nd book. It's not as good as the first, but I think you'll like it! "The Dead Tossed Waves."

What other books that you've read are as good as this one?

Anonymous said...

I loved your blog. Thank you.