The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: Review

Yet another review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Are you bored of them yet? Yes? No? Let's rehash the plot anyway.

Mary (thank you Carrie Ryan for giving her a regular name) lives in a village within the Forest of Hands and Teeth, so called because of the zombies that live in there. The only thing standing between the peoples and the zombies is a chain link fence. And like a typical zombie story, if they bite you then you are zombified. So everyone keeps a respectful distance from the fence. Except for Mary's mom who goes and gets herself bit.

After this cheery business, Mary is tossed into the Sisterhood, who are like a pack of angry nuns. They have secrets and Mary being naturally curious sets out to find out the secrets. She's not too happy to be there anyway, since she is in love with someone she shouldn't. She can't have him though because what's love got to do with a Zombie Apocalypse? It's a second hand emotion. It's not for the good of the village.

Mary gets it into her head that there is a world outside the village beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth, even something called an 'ocean.' She doesn't quite believe that the Sisterhood has the best interests of the people in mind with some of their rules. And then some really bad things happen that prove her suspicions are true.

I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and The Forest of Hands and Teeth fits that description perfectly. There is a general feeling of unease during the first part of the book and plenty of peril in the second. I did have to suspend my disbelief somewhat. All that stands between life and death is some $10 a foot Home Depot fencing? These zombies need to get organized. But that does give one a sense of pending disaster and claustrophobia. The people inside are prisoners, so it seems.

This was a fast paced book with plenty of action. I hung on every word. This is a sophisticated YA book without a run of the mill happy ending and many unanswered questions. When I was finished I wandered around wanting more, just like a zombie. Luckily Dead Tossed Waves, a companion to Forest of Hands and Teeth, is available. Nom, nom, brains! 


*Thanks to the Librarian who found this for me.

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  1. I thought the same thing about the fence, but reckoned it was in the end no more improbable than the Mexico-US barrier. I also had a hard time with the second village -- why were the weapons still on the walls and the food stores untouched? Did no-one fight or try to flee when the zombies came? Did the zombies tidy up after?

  2. This one drove me crazy because I HATE unanswered questions. Luckily, Dead-Tossed Waves answered lots of questions and kept me from getting stabby.

  3. Oh I love your review! I giggled. I read this book this month? Last month? And I really enjoyed it. Though there did seem to be a lot of those second hand emotions cropping up, which I wasn't expecting..

  4. I've heard so much about this book that I'm beginning to think I should just shell out the $10 instead of waiting (for eons) for the library queue to shorten. This sounds vaguely like that horror movie, The Village... am I completely off? -Lydia

  5. I really haven't gotten into zombies, but I want to read this book since the author is originally from this area. I keep hoping she'll come back for a signing!

  6. lmao @ "Nom, nom, brains" :D Why haven't I read this series yet? Clearly I need to.

  7. Michelle (Galleysmith)April 29, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    I loved this book (made my top of 2009) and I loved Dead Tossed Waves even more. Can't wait to hear what you think of that one :) Glad you enjoyed!


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