Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan

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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?

*spoilers* *spoilers* *spoilers* *spoilers* *spoilers*

What I liked best about this story is though there is a love square, the protagonist, Mary, doesn’t choice either suitor. She chooses her own path. I have seen some reviews call her selfish, and I disagree. Why should she compromise her faith and dreams to settle for anyone who thinks she is chasing a fairy tale? How unfulfilling.

I did have a few issues with the story. I would have liked to know more about The Sisterhood; their secrets and their history. I suspect they were religious and political zealots who used the zombie apocalypse to their advantage to cut off the rest of the world and control the town in a puritan enviroment. (When reading about their world I was reminded so much of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.) It’s the only conclusion I came to because why not be proactive. Go out and kill the Unconsecrated. Take back the land, especially since most of them are so slow it would be an easy kill. They did a lot more scratching and clawing than biting.

Also, I thought that since the village was run by religious fanatics that the story would go more into depth about Mary’s loss of her belief in God. I though that by the end when she finds what she was searching for her faith would be restored. The matter was dropped somewhere along the way.

However, I still really enjoyed it. It was a page turner. I really wanted to know what would happen next. Mary didn’t hide in a corner and let the men fight. She found a way to overcome her nerves and fear to fight and survive.

III.5 out V Gates.

After finishing TFoHaT, I went back to re-read Carrie Ryan’s short story “Bougainvillea” in Zombies Vs. Unicorns. I remember it being one of my favorite stories in the collection, but had to refresh my memory as to why. It is set in the same universe, though I believe decades (centuries?) earlier and not in the forest.

There are two more novels set in the same universe and I will read those next.

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