skein's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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's review
Aug 30, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 2-star
Recommended to skein by: Bethany.
Recommended for: people who don't know why the movie isn't about the sidekick
Read in August, 2009

Y'know that old writerly saw, "Show, don't tell"? Yeah? You do? You say everyone knows that, Buttercup? Carrie Ryan doesn't know it. Every line of this book is exposition. "I go here. I love him. I see this. I wonder if." IT IS ALL IN PRESENT TENSE. Add one major plot contradiction, any number of shockingly convenient deus ex machina revelations, jolting advancement of time ("it is now six weeks later. we are still in the exact same place, both emotionally & physically, that we were in last chapter, because subtlety is dead.") And oh my dear sweet baby Jesus! Mary has a total lack of forethought. I expect (and accept) a certain amount of plot-advancing idiocy, but I also expect that if a character is trapped in a house for three months, she will spend some time thinking about HOW TO GET OUT.
"I will now compare my plight to something very sad and evoke a sense of desolation in the reader. It is only by using prolonged metaphor and improbable world-building that I can create narrative tension and sympathy. Because my prose is flat. Because my prose is flat. My prose is flat and my characters are dull, frivolous and impotent, but the Forest of Hands and Teeth surrounds us all, in this world as in every other, and at the end, we all kill what we love."
Can I place bets that it's a first novel? Any takers?

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Reading Progress

08/28/2009 page 30
9.68% "Doom! doom! dooooooom!"
08/28/2009 page 40
12.9% "Present-tense makes Ellie want to shoot herself, o yes it does."

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