Sunday, June 27, 2010
Review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is an eerie and proactive young adult novel. The writing was great. In fact, it’s some of the best writing I’ve come across in the YA genre. Mary tells the reader what it’s like to live in the confines of a village surrounded by a fence keeping out the Unconsecrated, also known as the infected or zombies. When the Sisterhood, entrusted with the village’s history and safety, betrays Mary’s trust and a breach occurs she must choose between the home she knows and the unknown world in the forest.
Mary’s story is completely believable. She is young and impetuous, even a bit reckless. Sometimes I liked Mary. Sometimes I didn’t. Overall, she felt like a real person whose future I was invested in. The confusion that Mary encounters, living in such a crazy world, is mirrored in her thoughts and actions. She tries to care for others but knows that she must trust her instincts if she is to have some peace of mind.
This is one of the big questions in the novel. Is survival enough? Is personal fulfillment selfish when others depend on you? Does falling in love give one the right to give up on life? Does true love require the sacrifice of one’s dreams? How much sacrifice is acceptable? Personally, I think these are great questions for young adults to ponder.
The descriptions of the zombies were great in a not-too-overly gory but in a suspenseful, creepy and realistic way. There is lots of moaning and jaw snapping. Killing zombies is not what this book is all about, though several do get cut down at climactic moments. There is something of a love triangle, nay quadrangle, but it is seamlessly woven into the plot. So, those who like a little romance in their stories will be satisfied while those not huge on romances shouldn’t be put off either.
If you like suspense, fantasy or paranormal/paranormal romances then Ryan’s text is probably something you’ll like. Note, I don’t think this counts as horror even though it’s classified as such. I wasn’t horrified and I’m rather wimpy. If you’re looking to try out one of these other genres, The Forest of Hands and Teeth would make for a fun introduction. End of story, I loved this read and can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
Publisher: Delacorte, 2009 Pages: 310 Source: U of Iowa Library
Rating: 5 Stars Recommended Age: 14 and up