Emma Rosloff's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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Apr 20, 12

bookshelves: ya-dystopian
Read in April, 2012

(Minor spoilers abound, I'll try to cover up the bigger ones)

What I liked:

Zombies have never been my thing, but I feel that Ryan depicts them well -- she really creates a mood that's visceral and creepy. I love Mary's descriptions of the moaning of the Unconsecrated, that it's so constant it just becomes background noise. That she can look out her window and see them pawing at the fence, day and night. There's an intense claustrophobia permeating everything. Everything feels stifled, and I can relate to Mary, whose frustrated with the notion that life's choices aren't about love, they're solely about commitment.

I love her commentary about the fact that she often feels like she's just going through the motions, that the people trapped in her little village aren't much different than the Unconsecrated. (view spoiler)

What I had trouble with:

The characters were all a little too simple for my tastes. It's not that they didn't work in the context of the story, but generally I like characters with more meat on them, with storied pasts and quirks that make them unique and memorable. I struggled with Mary the most. (view spoiler)

Overall I loved the concept, but the execution didn't quite cut it. Still, Ryan gets three stars for really transporting me into her world.
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Criss I agree with pretty much everything you wrote (the stuff I don't immediately agree with is probably stuff I'm not remembering). I posted my review of The Dead-Tossed Waves, in case it didn't notify you: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

As to why the boys would prefer Mary over Cass, we don't necessarily know Cass is prettier, since Mary is the one telling us the story. Mary may say Cass is prettier, but women are raised to be humble and demure, we aren't allowed to admit we think we're pretty or that we feel good about our physical appearance. And this may be because I'm currently reading Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth and I have sexist, anti-woman abstinence-only propaganda on the brain because of it, but Mary, being less extroverted, less outspoken/outgoing, may be more attractive to the boys as a future mate because she would make a good wife and mother, since "good" wives and mothers are quiet, demure, submissive creatures who do as their husband tells them and make lots of babies so the population of the village doesn't die out (and/or to replace the people being bitten by zombies). Or maybe I'm reading way more into it than I should be :P


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