Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: March 2009

ISBN:  0385736819
Available: Amazon

GoodReads Blurb:

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?

***This review contains minor spoilers.

I freely admit to being a zombie addict. I have a zombie apocalypse plan, and am constantly bombarding my husband about various ideas I have for evading the relentless flesh eaters. So, The Forest of Hands and Teeth immediately appealed to me. This isn't a badass slasher flick turned book though. It's an intense look at what happens years after the zombies take over.

This is a dark tale and at times I felt so hopeless while reading it. I wanted a happily ever after for Mary and the other survivors, but that isn't what happens in zombie tales. There are points where I questioned Mary's actions and decisions, but what I realized is that there was a touch of madness in her. Her obsession with finding the ocean, even her seemingly thoughtless actions towards Travis and Harry, were simply manifestations of a slow descent into madness. And that really is what made this tale so scary. How would we all cope if our only existence was behind a fence and after being tempted into believing there was more out there, we were confronted with the realization that there is nothing.

I really wanted a full round happy ending, but I know that if I had gotten that I would have been disappointed. Mary didn't need the perfect ending, and part of me thought that she didn't really deserve it after the way she acted. Ryan left readers with just enough hope for Mary that it didn't feel like a sequel hanging cop-out.

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