Amanda Pearl's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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's review
Aug 17, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, bir-2011, zombies, science-fiction, romance, cover-suck, yallfest2014
Read in April, 2011

The Forest of Hand and Teeth gets one star for the description of the zombies (though not their explanation) and one star for the awesome title. That's about it for the positive aspects of this book.

There needs to be an explanation for why the zombies exist, and the science has to make sense. I am a stickler about there being science in science fiction and that science is based on fact. If a virus causes the zombies I need to know how the virus is spread, where it originated, if it had an intended purpose or if it was just an accident, how it works in the body, ect. I also need to know how the zombies specifically act in this story. Are they fast or slow? Are they thinking and planning zombies or mindless one? Do they live until their bodies wear out or do they have to feed to survive? I need to understand the cause of the zombies and how they act and why they act the way they do.

There needs to be an explanation for the way society deals with the virus. How do they adapt and what strategies have they developed to protect themselves from the zombies? If there is a government still in place, why does it work, why do the citizens live the way they do, and what are the motivations of the governments decisions?
The heroes/heroines need to be smart. They need to have an understanding of their enemy and survival needs to be their main focus. They have to be imaginative, determined, and ready to fight. That's the only way to survive a zombie apocalypse.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth had none of these elements. There was no explanation for the existence of zombies, just that they existed. There seemed to be some knowledge hidden by the "government" of the village, but it was never revealed even though there were many opportunities for the main character to do some sleuthing. There was almost no history about the zombie outbreak and how the village came to exist. I got absolutely no understanding about how the zombies worked and how to best defeat them.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was way too focused on the completely illogical romantic drama. If the villagers believed that they were the last of humanity in the entire world, why would they force women into becoming nuns? Shouldn't every viable womb be used to keep the population up? I can understand forcing teens to marry in order for this to happen, but if a girl cannot find a match when she is 16 it made no sense for her to be forced into a life of celibacy. Polygamy would have been a more logical system. The particulars of Mary's relationship were also similarly mind boggling. The teens involved inflicted a lot of unnecessary stress upon themselves. They should have all just gotten together and talked about it. A round table would have saved them all a LOT of problems.

I also really hated the attitude taken towards the zombies. There seemed to be absolutely no protection and preparation beyond a few vaulted platforms and a chain link fence. And where did all of the technology go? This book read more like historical fiction than science fiction. If it were me, people would be training every day in combat and survival skills, and they would all have the knowledge about zombies that was available.

I'm surprised that these people lasted as long as they did because there was no preparation for a breach in their defenses. They always seemed to be taken by surprise by a zombie attack, even though they had weeks to prepare. The characters needed to get their priorities straight.

Overall I think this author had too many ideas and couldn't wrap them up. None of my questions were answered or even hinted at having answers and it felt like the author cared more about the love story than the survival story. The Forest of Hands and Teeth focused too much on creating a complicated love square and didn't focus on the more pressing issue at hand, the fact that zombies were trying to eat some brains. The zombies seemed like an afterthought added in to make a romance story more marketable.
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Reading Progress

04/04/2011 page 12
04/06/2011 page 116
38.0% "I am really disappointed so far..."
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