Kim's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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's review
Mar 13, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, fantasy
Read in March, 2009

To be honest, I have to say that zombies have never grabbed me as much as vampires or even, after Kelley Armstrong, werewolves have. That's probably because I'm really not a horror fan, and while vampires and werewolves can lend themselves to other genres, like dark fantasy and romance, until recently zombies never have (exceptions: Tim Powers's fabulous On Stranger Tides and Mark Henry's hilarious Happy Hour of the Damned). The Forest of Hands and Teeth does qualify as YA horror, but except for a few scenes the tone is more menacing than gruesome, and it's lyrically written, a story far more beautiful than I expect in a zombie tale. Mary lives in a repressive future society, closed off by a chain link from the ravenous Unconsecrated who live in the Forest of Hands and Teeth. She has grown up hearing tales of the ocean, and wonders if there's a world outside her village, but the dangerous presence of the Unconsecrated has kept her and her neighbors from ever finding out. Until the fence is breached, and Mary's world is turned upside down. I liked Mary as a protagonist---she is curious and strong, although it takes the direst of circumstances to bring the latter out. Her personal relationships are---complicated, and although this is a very romantic tale, those looking for a straightforward love story may be disappointed. However, the book has plenty to say about the nature of love, and even more about our stories and legacies; the heroine suffers not only from knowing she may be infected our devoured by those she once loved, but also the fear of being forgotten after she's gone. Overall, a book that is lovely and sensual, scary and sad; it deserves to reach a wide audience of readers both adolescent and adult .

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