Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Gollancz, March 10, 2009
Pages: Paperback, 310
Series: #1, The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Book Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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 by so much death?
I enjoyed reading most of this book, however I have to admit up front that I was disappointed with a few aspects. First, the world Carrie Ryan created was pretty damn cool – apparently I have a secret desire to live within a bizarre and totally oppressive society. Unfortunately, my need for details was not fulfilled and though the world within the fence was totally fascinating to me, it wasn’t enough for the main character, Mary.
I guess the disconnect I feel is when Mary is living with the Sisterhood (which provides some hairy scenes that made my heart race with anxiety), but the whole time Mary is there she is thinking about a guy and the ocean. I wanted her to be more interested in the mysteries right in front of her. She seemed interested, but not interested enough to really sneak around and get the answers I wanted. It was like she was preoccupied and I couldn’t get her to focus. Focus on the basement of the Church Mary! Get me what I need!
Otherwise, this was a pretty fun zombie read for me. I’ve read almost nothing on zombies so this was a good transition because while zombies (Unconsecrated) are an essential ingredient, they pretty much take the back burner on this one to the characters living within the fence. I do love the imagery Carrie Ryan created of the Unconsecrated constantly scratching at the fences. It’s so unimaginable that I love to imagine it. I only wish Mary wasn’t so preoccupied with her mother’s dreams instead of her own; in that way, I don’t think I really understood Mary, especially since we only knew her mother for a short time.
All in all, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an exciting read that made me anxious beyond belief in parts. I did come away feeling a little empty with character development but I was still eager to get my hands on the next in the series to see if I could squeeze some more answers out of it.