Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan


Summary:

Mary lives in a village where the rules are set by The Sisterhood. It is a rural community and life is hard and precious because this village is surrounded by fences to keep the Unconsecrated out (which are what we would call "zombies"), although sometimes Mary thinks they are there to keep the villagers in.
Mary loses both her mother and father to this scourge and the pain is unbearable. Consumed by guilt and keeping her mother's stories of the sea beyond the village as a compass, Mary wants to know what lies beyond the fences and in this journey there's a man she loves, his brother who loves her, her brother and her practical best friend all with their own dreams and losses.

Review:
{I'm feeling a little under the weather, so this review might suck, but here it goes}

I finished this book about two weeks ago and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love dark books, that is why I really adore reading Urban Fantasy novels, but I also have a soft spot for Zombie, Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost and any monster stories.

When I found out that this book was about Zombies, I really had to read it. And I didn't regret it.

I might be the last person who read this, it's quite a popular book, but I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

The book follows the story of Mary. She is a girl who has grown up In a city that is surrounded by a forest swarming with zombies, called “ The Unconsecrated” in this book.
It is not clarified how this “plague” really started, but somehow we get the impression that it was due to man.

The Sisterhood is the “authority” in this town, a religious coven of some sort that is bent on maintaining the balance and keeping people afraid of leaving the city, and in this way keeping people safe from the threat of the Unconsecrated that are outside the borders.
Actually, there are special Guardians that make sure the fences that prevent the Unconsecrated from entering the city are still holding, because the zombies had broken in in the past.
Actually, Mary's brother is a guardian.
She lives with her mother and brother, because her dad got turned into an unconsecrated, causing major distress in their family, while her mother seems unable to live with his loss.
Which is why she eventually lets herself get bitten by approaching the fence and they eventually have to let her out of the village and join the zombies.

Mary blames herself because she wasn't there to stop her mother and she knows that her brother will blame her too.
Mary is in love with Travis, a boy she has grown up with and it seems that he has feelings for her too, but it is Harry, his older brother who eventually professes his interest towards her, leaving Mary torn. Mary also has a friend named Cassandra.

The book really starts with her brother turning her away after losing their mother, leaving her with the option of joining the Sisterhood, since no one had asked her for marriage yet.
Mary is terrified and even comes to the point that she would accept even Harry's proposal should he ask for her, but he doesn't and she learns that Travis asked for Cass.

Heartbroken and terrified, Mary realizes that the Sisterhood know a lot more than they let on about the origin of this plight and even make sure that no one ever knows the whole truth.
It isn't until, Travis is hurt in combat and brought in the Church to heal, that Mary sees him again and even though they don't talk about it, it becomes apparent that they love each other and Travis only asked for Cass, because he didn't want to hurt his brother who loves Mary.

Then one night, Mary sees a girl come through the forest and into the Church and realizes that what her mother told her of a life and a whole world outside the boundaries, a world entailing a sea, as immense and as blue as the sky and Mary gets obsessed with it.
Of course, after the village is attacked, the four of the flee and soon after her brother and his wife join them and we follow their journey...

I'd rather not tell everything about the story, but it's enough to say that it is magical.

Once again, I have to say that I was impressed by this book. It was written in a beautiful language, in one that immediately made you sympathize with the protagonist and her friends and got you really invested in them.

You really had to see them survive and see them get happy and not feel lonely anymore, but the whole premise of this book is dark, is about survival in difficult times, so there was a sense of danger always looming overhead and a sense of urgency.

Funny, how it was only when I was a few pages from the end, that I realized the book was really coming to an end. I mean nothing was really resolved and there were only like 20 pages left.

That is not to mean that the book felt unfinished or incomplete somehow, although I have to admit that I would have liked to know what happened to Cass and Harry, after Mary left and found the other guy.

I know the book was about Mary, but she was a bit over-obsessed about getting to the sea, to the point that she overlooked other people's feelings and safety. She had to get there no matter what and everyone, Harry, Travis, Jebb, Cass; everyone loved her and it was hard to say no to her. She was like a force of nature, a femme fatale even during this and kinda selfish, too.
Which is what really rubbed me the wrong way in the end.
Even though she was selfish, I was hoping that all of them could have a better ending, which wasn't the case.
I just felt a little disappointed with Mary because she never looked back. I know they were hard times and people should be tough, but that was kinda harsh.


Verdict: Overall, a very enjoyable read, one I could not put down. In fact I took it with me at work and almost missed my bus stop, more than once, because I was busy reading! *g*


Rating:
4 Stars (amazing read, chilling and powerful)

Find Carrie Ryan: Site, Blog , Goodreads

Buy The Forest Of Hands an Teeth on: Amazon, BookDepository, Play.com

~ Kelly

12 comments:

Avery said...

I also loved this book! I didn't really know what to expect with it- and it by far exceeded any expectations that I had of it... I kinda thought of it as a cross between "The Village" and "I am Legend"...
:)

Kelly aka yllektra(force-oblique) said...

It really was great!!
I had read several reviews before I read this, but it still managed to surprise me in some ways, which was awesome!

Oh, true... it is a combination of sorts! :)

bookdout said...

I really liked this also, suprisingly cause i am not a fan of zombies, I need to get to Dead Tossed Waves

Kelly aka yllektra(I Work For Books) said...

Really? Not a fan of zombies?
I love post-apocalyptic sorta fics (zombies included), so I could not resist! :)

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