Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal, Dystopian
Release date: March 10th, 2009
Pages:  310 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won

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?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth isn't a lighthearted story.  It's a lot more emotional than I originally expected it to be.  As soon as I read the first chapter, I realized that the writing was- although very beautiful- quite depressing.  The author explains the Unconsecrated were consuming everyone's neighbors, families, and friends and how it takes a toll on the people they stole from.  The Unconsecrated were zombies and at first, I was getting the feeling that the book was going to be similar to M. Night Shyamalan's movie, The Village.  That the Sisterhood created these zombies in order to keep those who lived in the village from straying into the rest of the world.  Of course, that wasn't the case.

I felt for Mary.  She lost family members to the Forest.  She didn't have the same choices that everyone else seemed to have.  The women are to be spoken for by a man, and if they don't marry, their other options are to live with their family or join the Sisterhood.  Mary was being pushed away by everyone she thought she could rely on, and when there's no where else to turn, she joins the Sisterhood and even they don't seem to want her.  The relationships in this book are very complicated.  They're very emotional and it ends up being a very hard decision for Mary, especially when she's battling more than her feelings.

When an outsider comes to the village, Mary realizes that they weren't the only village left, as most of them were lead to believe.  This gives her hopes that there may be some truth to the stories her mother used to tell her of the skyscrapers in New York and the ocean.  The outsider was kept a secret for a reason, and one day, when the fence finally gives out and the Unconsecrated begin to walk among them, Mary, her three friends, her brother and his wife, and a child they saved have no where to go but the path that leads them to the place the outsider came from.

When I first began reading the book, it was really losing my interest.  It was a different type of story that I'm used to, which threw me off although I've been wanting to read this book for a long time.  I kept pressing on, though, and I'm very satisfied with the outcome.  The characters had been very strong and it makes me wonder if there was a difference that the people of the village grew up with exposure and some knowledge of the Unconsecrated.  The story left me with a feeling of hope for Mary and definitely an interest to read the other books in the series.


  1. This was a great review, thank you. I'm starting to read a few conflicting reviews regarding this one and yours really helped me decide whether or not to read it.

  2. I had very similar feelings when I started this book. Even though I love a good zombie read, this book was a bit more depressing than I anticipated (and that wasn't just because of the zombies). However, I stuck with it and was pleasantly surprised with the ending. After reading books 2 and 3, I'm so happy I stayed with this series. It definitely gets better! Awesome review =)

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves
    P.S. Come check out my blog's first giveaway here

  3. Heather- Thank you, so glad I could help. :)
    Kristan- It's great to hear that I wasn't the only one that was a bit put off by the beginning of the book. I'll definitely read those soon, then. I have the other two on my shelves just waiting to be read. Thanks!