Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

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?

Ah, I was disappointed by this book. Here's a zombie romance apocalyptic book for you, that could actually have chilled me to the bone if it wasn't for the poor characterization and dialogues. It's so sad it wasn't better, because it had such a good feel to it, especially after having watched the book trailer. My appreciation for the book could actually be described like a roller coaster. It went up and down, up and down.

I loved the plot. Postapocalyptic times, where humans have to fend for themselves and protect their village from the zombies roaming in the surrounding forest while living in fear and death. Ye good old zombies that nom on you. The story picks up well, we're already pushed into Mary's terrifying world and we don't wait for drama and action. My mood just fell when I realized how flat all the characters were.

It's as if none of them were developed. Mary, the protagonist, is pretty much two dimensional and you don't know what to think about her. In the first part of the book, I was tired how the only thing Mary did was sulk around and do mindless things without actually using her head. Afterward, I was irritated how she could never be happy with what she got, and how she always complained, and how she sometimes acted simply stupid. At those moments, when she stood there doing nothing while something should obviously have been done, I felt like smacking her. It's really at the end of the book when she started decapitating all those zombies that I thought 'about time you did something!' I actually liked how she kept searching for the ocean, and how she pushed herself to go to the end of it all.

But then again, the rest of the characters aren't better. I never saw why Travis was the love interest. Except for his good looks, there isn't much to him, and you don't see why Mary even likes him. You can't properly frame his personality, and it irked me all along. I think that the most developed character was Cass, for at least you get to know her better, and she actually stands out. In the end, you don't really fall for any of the characters, and thus I didn't really care about how things ended for them.

After that comes the dialogues. Pages and pages can pass without words being exchanged, and when characters finally interact, it's to say something meager, something that doesn't help us define them better. It could have been endurable if we didn't get so much of Mary's inner sulking. I don't think I've ever read a book with such a low amount of interaction.

I also realized that the author left a lot of sub plots behind, without developing them. It's as if Ryan started up with and idea, and than forgot about it, letting it rot away.

On the good sides, the story was good. Lots of action, lots of feelings. With those pages filled with descriptions and Mary's thoughts, you really get into the horrid mood of the story. At the end, I was starting to feel all the pressure that the Unconsecrated (aka zombies) pushed upon the characters, I was starting to share their desperation.

I ended up liking the book at the end, seeing as how bad endings meet most of the characters, and how there is a lot of drama. The ending didn't quite satisfy me, and it made me want to know more, to know what happened with everybody at the end, and I guess that's a good thing.

I wonder if this is a debut novel, because it sure does look like one. It could have been such an amazing book without all those lacks. Too bad, I guess. But it would do a good movie.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Rating: 7,8/10


  1. I also was weary of this book when first reading it but once they moved out of their village and the action stepped up it was a fantastic read. I still need to read the second book.

  2. Oh no! I really enjoyed it. Sorry it didn't work for you.


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