AN's Reviews > The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
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it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, horror

This book had all of the trappings to make up a good story: zombies, an isolated society, secrets that are kept by the ruling classes, a total and complete decimation of the only world that the main character has ever known, and a deep and unrelenting desire to find a world that she has only been told stories about. And then the author goes and throws a @#&*ing love triangle into it.

No, a love square. Because four people are being dragged through this abomination of a plot device. And there are only eight characters in the story, nine if you count the dog. And our main character is a Mary Sue. Named Mary. And all of the boys love her and none of the boys love Mary's best friend, even though she is actually a far more likable character. Mary is selfish and immature. She destroys everyone's life by the end of the story. But, she can tell a good story about the ocean, and apparently that's all one needs in order to be the object of everyone's desire.

I wanted this book to get better. It's a New York Times Bestseller! Scott Westerfeld wrote a positive blurb about it, and I used to eat his books up! I was promised a gripping story, a dark and sexy and scary story, a beautifully crafted story! But, it stayed mediocre through to the end. It even caused several outbursts of utter rage, though usually only directed at the love square or the main character. Even still, I wanted to know what was going to happen. I really needed to find out where the author was going to end this tragedy, and who would be left standing. I really just wanted some answers.

However, there are so many questions left unanswered by the end of the book. I know there are limitations to a first person narrative, but you need to throw your readers a bone or two. What is the purpose of the hidden room in the Cathedral? What caused the Fast One, really? What is up with the book of scripture that had other writing in it? Why are there several fenced paths, was the village supposed to be connected with others the whole time? What stopped the connection and when? How many generations has it been since the Return? Why the feck is everything marked in Roman numerals? Do they deliberately not teach the children how to count with Roman numerals? How did a village that seems to have been so well prepared fall to the Unconsecrated so entirely?

This is part of a trilogy, as far as I can tell. I won't be reading on. I'm deeply unsatisfied with the ending. I'm deeply unsatisfied with the storytelling. The only thing that I'm okay with is (spoilers) that basically everyone dies by the end.

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Reading Progress

March 15, 2017 – Started Reading
March 15, 2017 – Shelved
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 15, 2017 –
page 78
25.16% "I'm already annoyed. This book has fallen deep into the Love Triangle trope, but presents it as a square. Two female best friends and two male brothers. Brother A and Girl B love each other. Brother B loves Girl B, maybe. Girl A is in love with Brother B. Brother A is betrothed to Girl A, Brother B has just "spoken for" Girl B. Why? Because completely messed up romances are a plot device in YA novels, that's why."
March 16, 2017 – Finished Reading
May 7, 2017 – Shelved as: horror

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