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The Forest of Hands and Teeth Paperback – February 9, 2010
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Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 2, 2009:
“Mary's observant, careful narration pulls readers into a bleak but gripping story of survival and the endless capacity of humanity to persevere . . .Fresh and riveting.”
Starred review, School Library Journal, May 2009:
"[T]he suspense that Ryan has created from the very first page on entices and tempts readers so that putting the book down is not an option."
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
CARRIE RYAN is the New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy that includes The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, and the original ebook Hare Moon. She has edited the short story anthology Foretold: 14 Stories of Prophecy and Prediction and contributed to many other story collections herself, including Zombies vs. Unicorns, Kiss Me Deadly, and Enthralled. Her work has been translated into over eighteen languages and her first novel is in production as a major motion picture. Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit her at CarrieRyan.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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It started off great. Young adults living in a dystopian world after the Return of the undead. Great concept. Then it got better with the mysteries of the Sisterhood and Mary's constant need to find life outside of their gated community. Even better with the arrival of Gabrielle. Zombies. Mystery. A love triangle. It had everything going for it. But then half way through the book it kind of starts to dissolve. I started to disconnect with Mary due to the fact that she was risking everyone's lives for her one objective - to get to the ocean. I get it. Her mother instilled these dreams in her and that's all that will satisfy her. But with everything she and everyone else had to give up in order to get to it? I'm not sure if it's really believable. Then comes the ending. I am beyond frustrated. It seems too empty to me. If I was in Mary's place I don't think I could go on knowing that everyone I loved is gone because of me. She didn't save the world. Loose ends never get tied up - what about Cass, Harry, Jacob, and Argos? I was quite disappointed overall. But I guess my curiosity got the better of me because I bought the next two books on Amazon (discounted because I wouldn't have bought them full price). So maybe I'll have some closure to this sub-par ending to a relatively decent book (or maybe not because the sneak peak at the next installment seems to have jumped ahead in time quite a bit). Who knows. 7/10. Worth reading if you like zombie novels. But not worth it if a disappointing ending ruins an entire book for you.
The novel has a wonderful, creepy atmosphere. The post-apocalyptic world of simple living without technology is believable. The characters are well-written. I could feel Mary's longing, how much she wants Travis and how she desires to see the mythical ocean, which she hasn't experienced since she's always been in her landlocked town. I look forward to reading the sequel.
Mary lives in the woods in a village surrounded by a fence and a forest referred to as the Forest of Hands and Teeth because right outside the fence the village is surrounded by the unconsecrated (zombies). Mary’s village is trying to regrow its population, live their lives and keep safe from those living dead right outside the gates. There are really interesting aspects of religion that are part of life in the village and are also backing the leaders of the village, The Sisterhood. I believe that Ryan put an interesting twist on the zombie apocalypse and took an intriguing stance on the way of life and the impact/ influence of zombies in the story. Right away you know there are secrets that are being kept from the village and hiding the truth about what is past the forest. There is a strange beautiful way about Ryan’s writing and the way she conveys the truth about love and finding love in comparison to the desires and life of the zombies. It is odd to say that there was a beautiful and moving quality in the writing of a book about zombies.
There were some parts of the book/story that really annoyed me and changed my feelings toward the overall story. I was really turned off from Mary’s character. In the wake of everything that was happening to their lives and the village she was so selfish and self-centered. At times it seemed so repetitive because it kept coming back to how she was feeling and basically seemed like everyone was out to get her and she could never be happy. I got really annoyed with Mary and felt that all the time spent on her and her love issues took away from the fact that they were dealing with zombies trying to kill them. There was no growth in Mary’s character even up to the ending. Let’s not even get me started on the ending. I wanted to throw my book against the wall. Mary was just not a great character for me and I felt like all the time focused on her took away from the other characters in the book.
Overall this was a unique story that somehow managed to weave love in a zombie story without it being a love story. I thought there were many beautiful moments that really drove the characters to think and reflect on life, love and relationships. I do wish there was more action, survival aspects and fighting zombies etc. There was quite a bit in the book, but I felt like too much time was spent on Mary and her whole “woe is me” attitude and lack of emotions to the whole situation that is happening. The story is gripping and you want to know the fate of the characters. The book is frustrating at times and throws out some shocking twists. I absolutely hated the ending, but maybe thats just me. I do recommend this book to those who want an interesting zombie story that is not too much gore or horror that provides aspects of love and religion. I am really interesting to see what other people think about this book and how they feel at the end!
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