Dark and haunting, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was an emotional rollercoaster. At times, fear consumed me, and at other moments, I was overwhelmed with sorrow. But I was certain about one thing: The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an unforgettable novel, one that may catch up to you in your dreams … or your nightmares.
When I first cracked open this novel, I was struck by how similar the world of the Forest of Hands and Teeth was to the world of Ann Aguirre’s Enclave. However, before you begin pointing fingers at Carrie Ryan, note that her novel was published in 2009, whereas Enclave was published in 2011. In addition, I did find differences in the two novels; for example, the zombies in the Forest were dubbed “the Unconsecrated” and were created by “Infecting” a human with a single bite, whereas those in Enclave were called Freaks and had no known origin. The societies in both books were also incredibly different; the Forest included the Sisterhood and the Guardians, unlike Enclave’s society of Breeders, Builders, and Hunters.
The world of the Forest can be described with one word—frightening. Imagine a village enclosed within a fence, and beyond that there is only the Forest. A Forest of zombies craving to feed on human flesh. The life that the villagers lead in the society is purely to survive. Love is second to commitment in marriages, and the Guardians serve to protect while the Sisters keep secrets from the villagers. Add in those insane zombies trying to claw their way into the village (oh, yeah, and if they manage to bite you, you’ll die and turn into a zombie), and you’ve got yourself a dark postapocalyptic novel. In other words, I loved this account of the zombie apocalypse. It’s nice to get a haunting novel every so often.
While I may have loved the world Carrie Ryan created, I was not so much a fan of the characters. Though realistic (and I love realistic characters), the main character, Mary, was incredibly selfish. I loved that she was curious, always wondering about a world beyond her secluded village, but so much that that idea consumed her? She paid no attention to her best friend, her older brother, the two boys who loved her, and her own mother. And by the time she realized how much they meant to her, she had lost them all.
I was disgusted with Mary, true, but I absolutely loved the boy she fell in love with. He understood her ever so well, and he always wished for her happiness. But I think I really fell in love with him when (spoiler!) Mary had to kill him. Because who doesn’t long for happy endings?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth enraptured me from its first word; Carrie Ryan’s dark style of writing created a bleak world caught in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. I guarantee that you will not be able to set down this haunting novel.
Source: copy received from giveaway