Monday, October 21, 2013

[Review: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan]

"The Forest of Hands and Teeth"
Author: Carrie Ryan
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Pages: 308
Genre: YA, Horror, Thriller, Zombie
Date Published: February 9th, 2010
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format Read: Bought paperback


In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

My Thoughts:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth was one of the prettiest scary books I've ever read.  It didn't short itself on gore, or death or intense survivalist adventure and it still managed to be very soothingly written.  In a way, I think this fact adds to what makes this novel so haunting.  There is always something that is just a little off about the characters, or the setting or the action that reminds you that this isn't the type of book that makes you say "and they all lived happily ever after" at the end.  Ryan also plays with your mind.  You know that this book takes place in the future, after The Unconsecrated take over, but there is something about the world she built for Mary that will make you think of The Dark Ages.  The story has hints of "The Village", which is a movie that I adore and Ryan uses that to play with your head!

Can we just take a moment to step back and say what an awesome choice it was for Ryan to call the zombies in this book The Unconsecrated?!  In my humble opinion, that's what I think every zombie should be called for the rest of time.  Zombie is such a funny word when you think about it, but The Unconsecrated sound like something strait out of hell.  I love it!

Right away Ryan introduces us to death and sadness when someone she loves is infected, throwing her world into chaos.  Mary is a tough character.  She's young, there are things that happen in the village were she lives, but she longs for something else.  It's her faith that there is something better beyond the gates that keep them safe that makes her both a character that you want to root for and a character that you want to yell at.  This girl has layers to the extreme and sometimes they make you love her and sometimes they don't.  But I think that's what makes a great MC, someone that is flawed and messed up and brave.  

The love story in this one was a little weird for me.  It worked for the novel, but wasn't my favorite.  Plus, I always root for the underdog, even when I know they're gonna loose.  Travis and Harry are brothers.  They both love Mary.  Mary only loves one, but she engaged to the other and the guy she likes is engaged to her best friend.  Yep, it's a messy love triangle and it's kinda weird.  Parts of it totally worked and others, I felt, got in the way of the story.  This love story was the reason that this book didn't get a full 5 from me, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment either.  

This book is full of adventure and interesting characters.  There are little boys and black puppies and red vests and 100 more little things that make this book wonderful.  Also, Ryan doesn't forget to give us real relationships as Mary and her small group of friends and family run for their lives.  The sibling rivalry is there in a big way and I loved that she kept those real elements.  

I have to say that I'm a big fan of this series already and that I can't wait to get my hands on the other books.  I want to see what happens next!  So, if you like books full of secrets, The Unconsecrated and survivalist adventure with a dose of a creepy Sisterhood, this is the book/series for you!

   4 Unicorns = Close to perfect! 

Now, go hop on over to Read My Breath Away to read Jess's review of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin!


Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

I love Mary :) and yes, the love-triangle is a bit messy, but I was happy it didn't overshadow the dark plot. This book is so heavy and scary, it's great <3 and Unconsecrated it so much better than zombies! :D

Nicole said...

So I don't read Zombie books because I have this totally unsubstantiated idea in my head that I won't like them. But if I were to finally cave and read a zombie book I'd definitely start with this series. Ashley read these books and really enjoyed them too.

And I agree too, The Unconsecrated sounds so much worse than Zombie.

Giselle said...

Haha zombies IS a weird word! And yes the Unconsecrated really fits! I loved this series the last one was my favorite and the one with the better protagonist, too. I had a much harder time connecting to Mary and her daughter (the protag of book 2) but they were still very real to me. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one it seems like a lot of people didn't like it and it makes me sad :(

Chrystal said...

Your review was amazing. Sometimes I read other peoples reviews and think YES YES YES, that is what I meant to say when I wrote my own review. I completely loved everything you said about this book. I still need to read book three and it just arrived in the mail this past week. I cannot wait to see your reviews for the rest of the series. :)

Unknown said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed this one more than I did! I definitely had trouble with the brotherly love triangle thing, and the MC honestly drove me to drink. I got the wanting to yell at her but seem to have missed the wanting to root for her. Ah well, I did like the zombie/"unconsecrated" aspect, which is definitely interesting!
But yeah. Glad you liked it better! :)

Unknown said...

I haven't actually read this one, and whenever I came across it I never really gave that much attention to it because I always thought it was about something else, and not zombies! The Unconsecrated does sound way better though, a lot more scarier than zombies. Glad you enjoyed it, I'll definitely have to check it out now. :)

Meg said...

Aaack, this has been on my TBR forever and it sounds like I need to bump it up.

I like the unconsecrated thing. Generally I'm not a fan of when zombie stuff refuses to call zombies zombie (*cough* The Walking Dead) but the unconsecrated works a lot better than walkers.

Great review! I'm thinking I should make this my Halloween read :)