Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

book review - the forest of hands and teeth

Wow, I really don’t know what kept me back from actually reading this book sooner, although if I really think about it hard I can chalk it up to Uni completely consuming me, but still, I was a little silly to wait so long to get my hands on a copy of it.

The cover I got, I admit, wasn’t the one that really drew me to the series initially (see a cover really does make a different), but that didn’t matter, the story made up for it. Carrie Ryan’s writing, I’ll have to admit, wasn’t one that I thought I would be initially drawn towards, but she had a way with her writing that pulled me in. I think at first it was because it was seemingly plain and her main character’s name is Mary. To me that screams like I should back away slowly, but being surprised is definitely fun. Ryan brings a really unique spin on zombie fiction which is exciting and brilliant.

Mary lives in a little village in the forest that is full of hands and teeth, surrounded by a fence and a hierarchy full of secrets and order so that the Unconsecrated don’t get in. The story opens up with what life is like and when Mary’s mother is infected by one of the Unconsecrated, Mary has to choose whether to kill her or to let her mother join her father and become one of the Unconsecrated. This really sets the tone for the story and the action is immediate. Time goes by fast and Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood because her brother can’t fathom looking at her for the choice she made regarding their mother and with no one to speak up for her she is punished to become one of the secret keepers, but the head of the Sisterhood can see that Mary is not fitting in, her love for Travis, even though he is promised to another – her best friend – is too strong, she’s miserable. So she is arranged to be married to her beloved’s brother, but an outsider brings the whole village to ruins. She becomes a Breaker, stronger and faster than all of the other slow Unconsecrated.

Mary and her friends flee the village in hopes of find the ocean, a place that Mary has been told about since she was a little girl, along the way they lose people and Mary has to make the ultimate choice that breaks her heart.

The entire story is so easy to digest and literally keeps you turning the page until you can’t turn it anymore and then the end arrives. I really enjoyed reading it and even shed a tear or two as I was finishing it at the airport. It’s heart racing, jaw dropping action that keeps you gasping and guessing what’s going to happen. It’s given me a chance to look at zombies in another way. I would fully recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read more about zombies, I’ve only really dug into zombie fiction through TV series (Hello The Walking Dead) and movies so it was a really fresh idea to really dig my teeth into literature.

I’ve started the companion novelĀ The Dead-Tossed Waves and I already feel the same familiar need to almost put it down, but I seem to push through and either find a way to get into it or really hate. Here’s hoping.

Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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