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The Forest of Hands and Teeth

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Initial post: Jan 27, 2011 1:41:34 PM PST
Ok, so firstly I'd like to say that I really liked this book. I think it had some great themes and was pretty well written. I read it in less than a day! It kinda had a Margaret Atwood feel to me. As well as some striking similarities to The Village. One of the things I didn't like about the book was the jumps in the story. There was a couple of times were something was happening and I couldn't figure out where this event came from. After I read a little further I would understand, but that initial feeling of "huh?!" distracted me from the story.

So one of the themes I really liked in the story was the "catastrophic event" theme. The story makes you wonder if Mary would have ever left if the fences had never been breached. Mary asks herself this same question in the book, and the answer is no. This is something we see very often in many books! The hero is not a hero until something "catastrophic" happens. I made me mad at the beginning because she kept talking about leaving but she never did. I understand that this is usual human behavior, but I just wanted her to be strong and GO!

The definition for unconsecrated is: "Not holy because unconsecrated or impure or defiled". It is obvious that religion plays a big part in this book. BUT one thing that is not mentioned is WHY. The book ends without a clear reason why the sisterhood existed or why/how they did what they did. This is the first in a 3 part series and I've heard from other readers that A LOT of questions raised in the first book are answered in the second book. SO, back to the religion in this book! The whole town was based on the sisterhoods idea of religion, most of which are seen in classic Christian society (with a few twists). We see Mary go through the "I believe in God, I don't believe in God" journey. I think this theme will be more interesting to talk about when we get some answers from the second and third books!

I have to admit. There were some parts of this book where I hated Mary. I hated her weakness for children. (Pg 191, 194-195). It was VERY agitating for me to see her act the way she did here. It was the classic "stupid girl" you see in scary movies. Oh! Let me open the door where I hear scary zombie noises! Oh! Let me hold this lovely zombie baby! Oh! What a cute zombie kid! Come see Auntie Mary! BLAHHHH! I needed Mary to be stronger than this. Going along with this, I see Mary as more crazy than brave. In fact I almost don't want to include her in the HERO category. I'm curious to hear what other people think about this.

Posted on Jan 28, 2011 9:28:30 PM PST
TFoH&T had parts that jolted me too. Some of those "wait, what's.. *reads another page*....ohhhh," moments caught me off guard since the rest of the book was pretty solid. But you have to remember this was CR's first book, so hopefully she'll get better at transitioning--or at least explain a little better in the ones that follow.

In my opinion (as a fan of the series) Mary's not really a hero at all, I think she's just a girl and some pretty scary things happen to her. I also agree Mary's an...odd...character. Yes, odd is the perfect word. lol We're just along for the strange and dark zombie-filled ride. That's what makes it fun! The only thing that bothered me (writing-wise) was the lack of feeling that seemed to go on with Mary--er, to be more specific, the like lack of thinking ahead. I know teenagers don't always think of consequences but geez. If you act on this = this will happen. Basic thought process.

And Tara M. I agree that the religion/cult in the forest dug up a LOT of questions I wished were answered. Even in Mary's thoughts, she could have given more info. In the 2nd book, most of it was just kinda laid out and then pushed aside for the new storyline.

Posted on Mar 13, 2011 1:27:01 AM PST
PrettyPain says:
I agree I wanted Mary to get off her bum and set off already! Haha..

There was ALOT of unresolved questions, but I think it adds to the mystery of the whole world Mary lives in. It makes things more unsettling to the readers. The Sisterhood's origins never being explained kind of fits with what's going on in Mary's POV. She was born generations after the Return (zombie apocalypse) and so wouldn't know anything before then, much less how the Sisterhood started. All knowledge about before the Retun was lost, and the villagers simply accept that the Sisterhood exist. So as readers it gives us more to ponder, just as we wonder how the infection (if thats what it is) started.

I agree with you on Mary's character too. Sometimes I just wante to shake the heck outta her! But she is definetaly not your average Mary-Sue character. I think she is hard to grasp because her world is so different. Some parts of the plot I felt her sanity start to slip, as the part with the zombie baby. Indeed, I think in those horrible circumstances, the villagers changed and their emotions seem strange to us.

Overall I think I pretty much agree with what you said, though I don't mind some unresolved questions...makes it fun for the imagination. ;p
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Participants:  3
Total posts:  3
Initial post:  Jan 27, 2011
Latest post:  Mar 13, 2011

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Audio CD - March 9, 2010)
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