Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

April 23, 2012 4 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 16 ★★★★

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?

I really have a thing for post apocalyptic books lately and there definitely doesn’t seem to be a shortage of them. On top of that who doesn’t crave some gut ripping zombie action now and again? ME ME, I Do! – preferably in book form…movies sometimes send me into visual overload and gets my heart racing like I’m about to have a heart attack for almost 2 hours straight. It was so not a good idea watching the entire first season of Walking Dead in one sitting…but I digress…

This is a quick read and light enough for young readers while still gritty enough for adults to enjoy if they like YA fiction.

We start out in this secluded little village that’s fenced in amid a forest. It’s a bit reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Village. Religion rains supreme here with the Sisterhood enforcing the ‘proper’ way of life and the Guardians protecting the fence. I loved the title of the book and that is what caused me to pick it up. It gave me such a great mental picture of someone facing a horde of zombies.

Mary is our main character, she is a young teenage girl and seems bound to get herself into trouble. She’s never been satisfied with life in the village – always thinking about the Ocean and places other than where she is. Her mother filled her head with stories as a child and that is often all she thinks about.

Now in this village young women have to get married and they must be spoken for by a young man once they come to a certain age…if they aren’t then they must enter the Sisterhood. Mary gets in a pinch because the boy she wants doesn’t choose her, and well she doesn’t want the boy who did. Oh triangles and triangles, can’t seem to get away from them right?

She is up to mischief and it seems she pits herself against a particular Sister. But of course when do the zombies come in? What happens in any good zombie flick where you barricade yourself in? – well the gut grubbers get in eventually. Madness ensues.

My gripes about this book – Mary the main characters attitude – she was a seriously selfish person. She was constantly thinking about herself. It makes it hard to believe that both of the boys in this book would be so interested in her. It’s always about her.

The way her brother treats her in the first third of the book. As well as the lack of character building in some of the supporting characters. They could have definitely used a bit more fleshing out.

There were a lot of agonizing moments for me, in that I don’t know how there would be so much emphasis on romance in a horror book, but alas there it was. I still enjoyed it but it had me enjoying it less because of that hormone teenage angst. Of course I’ve read the next two in the trilogy as well. If you like zombies, YA and a bit of romance then by all means give it a go.

But – I have to admit this one might have been like a 3.8 to a 4 for me, but definitely interested me enough to read the entire trilogy.  (Which I might say is worth it – book three was my favorite (5 star)!

On a side note:- the mean Sister Tabitha – there is a short story available about her that I haven’t read yet but I plan to because she has my name!

Find The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanGOODREADS

* Personally purchased copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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16 Responses to “Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan”

  1. AimeeKay

    Great review, I’ve seen this one around and have been toying with reading it but just haven’t gotten to it yet. I might push it further down the list just because there is a love triangle. *sigh* They are starting to get annoying….
    However Zombies must be in the air, cause I just finished Zone One, excellent Zombie book. Coincidence??
    AimeeKay recently posted…S is for SecretsMy Profile

  2. Midnyte Reader

    I read this last year and absolutely loved it. I kind of liked that she was so selfish for some reason. Maybe I felt it was realistic? Different? Either way I loved what you said about it being a light enough read for the younger, yet gritty enough for more mature readers.
    Midnyte Reader recently posted…Spring into Horror Readathon.My Profile

    • Pabkins

      Now that you say that – its completely true. She annoyed me so much but it was realistic. It’s like you can’t love all the main characters you read about right? I still enjoyed it even though sometimes I wanted to plant my fist in her uhh face. Did you read the other two as well?
      Pabkins recently posted…Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanMy Profile

      • Midnyte Reader

        I have not read the other two because I was told that they were not as good, so I just wanted to stick with the first one.

  1. Got Zombie? | Jenny Likes Books

    […] Or how about The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan? Get a little romance to go with your horror (not between zombie and human, thankfully. I still can’t wrap my head around that yet)! (Review by Pabkins at My Shelf Confession) […]