Abbie's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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Jul 28, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: romance, fantasy, youngadult, adventure, death
Read from July 16 to 27, 2010

Mary has lived all her life in her small village guarded and controlled by the sisterhood. The village is completely surrounded by a fence that is patroled and maintained to keep the "unconsecrated" out. The unconsecrated are zombie-like creatures that desire nothing but eating human flesh. Despite this, they don't devour people; one bite seems to be sufficient. Once bitten by an unconsecrecrated, victims become infected and quickly die and then "return" as zombies. Mary is in love with Travis, but Travis's brother, Harry, is in love with Mary. Mary is frustrated with life in the village, and she is the only one who believes in her mother's stories of the ocean and a life before "The Return." Her curiosity only increases when a girl from the outside arrives, and Mary feels trapped in the village and her choices of becoming a nun or marrying a man she doesn't love. Then the day the village has always dreaded arrives, and the unconsecrated breach the fences. A small group of survivors spend the rest of the book trying to make to some form of civilization (Mary hopes it will be the ocean), but they are surrounded by a maze of paths and hordes of unconsecrated lingering on the fences that surround the paths.

This book starts with a "Village" feeling, but it quickly devolves into horror. Essentially, this is a post-apocalyptic zombie story, and it is extremely violent and often disturbing. Some of the scenes seem improbable and gratuitously grotesque. Mary spends most of the book upset because two boys are in love with her, and her best friend is in love with the boys and therefore angry with Mary. It's kind of hard to understand why everyone gets so worked up over her because she is selfish and secretive for most of the book. Questions about the sisterhood and the cause of The Return are never answered, and the pacing of the book is slow and uneven in places.

That said, if you like horror, you may enjoy this book. It is disturbing and frightening, and there are times of true suspense. It just wasn't what I was expecting, and I probably wouldn't have read it if I'd known what it was. They will probably make it into a movie with lots of groping and decapitation.
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