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The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Review

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Release Date: July 2009
Published By: Gollancz
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 310 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.60 stars

Review: Mary lives in a world where the Sisterhood is right, the Guardians protect, the fence separating them from the Forest of Hands and Teeth saves lives, and the Unconsecrated kill. But soon she's discovering that the only thing true in that is the last one, because the Sisterhood has secrets, the Guardians are helpless, and the fence has broken down. She must choose between a past and a future, love and happiness, life and death. And most of all, she must choose whether or not to finally learn the truth.

Carrie Ryan has a distinctive writing style in THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH that propels the reader through the book even when the plot drags. Her beautiful sentences flow perfectly, reaching to the depths of emotion and character, allowing her to express horrific event after horrific event with both grace and impact. The prose is anguished and thoughtful at the same time, but has a certain dreamy quality that makes it read almost like poetry. Mary's conflicted and confused feelings are transmitted directly to the readers, as if they are experiencing everything themselves.

Although technically a zombie novel, this is far from the cheesy stories that come to mind at that phrase. The Unconsecrated are painted with horror and sadness, and though their origin is not elaborated on, their shambling, twisted existence is such a constant in Mary's life that it feels as if they are in the readers' own backyards. They are to be feared, but at the same time, Carrie Ryan portrays a sensitivity to them, making them out to not be so much monsters as humans undergone some terrible transformation.

THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH touches upon themes of love, family, and happiness, all to the backdrop of Mary's horrible world. The beautiful writing is juxtaposed with the chilling events, creating haunting scenes that will stay with the reader long past closing the book. This book stands out in a way many don't, and leaves the reader not only with an eagerness for the next books in the series, but questions to think about.


Katie said...

Such a great book! I think this is one series where I actually liked the second better than the first. I have book 3 on hold at B&N right now, so I'm crossing my fingers that I like the third most of all :) Carrie Ryan made a zombie fan out of me!

Cialina at said...

Sounds like a great series. I think I'm going to start reading this one soon. Sounds like a lot of people enjoy it. :) Thanks for the review.

abeautifulmadness said...

I love this series. I haven't been able to put any of Ryan's books down until I had read the last page. Love her style.

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