Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Ember, 2010
ISBN 13: 978-0385736824
By Kathryn Lewis
After finishing The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan I’m still reeling from how good it was. It was recommended to me by a friend a few years ago, but I’d put off reading it because I’d never been into zombie story-lines. Yet, I’m so glad that I decided to read it because it’s such a fantastic book.
The forest of hands and teeth is about a group of people living behind fences in the forest after the “unconsecrated” began infecting the world. In their village, they keep strict rules and are told by the “sisterhood” that there is nothing beyond the fences. Mary has always believed that there could be something beyond the village but she never acts on these thoughts until the fence is breached and the village is no longer a place of safety.
The first thing I’ll say about this book is that it doesn’t simply blend in with other pre-existing zombie fiction; There’s a fresh look on the genre that’s both clever and interesting. Ryan somehow creates a perfect balance between emotion and action. The thing that struck me the most is that there’s an honest, human side to the story that isn’t often shown in similar novels. The character’s thoughts and reactions are incredibly raw and believable–all the characters are so well created that you can easily imagine them as real people. Although I was slightly put off by the predictable love-triangle storyline, it was written so well that it didn’t effect my views of the book that much.
I also absolutely loved the main character, Mary. She’s such a brave, independent character that she could almost carry the storyline on her own. Her narrative voice is captivating and encourages you to read on; her thoughts are refreshingly down to earth and honest. Although she has obvious character flaws, particularly her selfishness, these flaws are actively discussed in the novel and they really help to create her as a more lifelike character.
Emotionally, The forest of hands and teeth is a real roller-coaster. Parts of it had me holding my breath in anticipation so much so that it made me cry on more than one occasion. The story isn’t filled with happy moments and it’s quite bleak in places; but this is really what sets it out as such a powerful novel. There’s a real sense that each page is deliberately written and, to me, nothing in the story felt unnecessary or slow moving.
If you haven’t already read this book, you should definitely pick it up as it’s an amazing work of fiction. It’s faced paced, but has a really effective emotional side and generally a real page-turner. It really is one of the most well written books I’ve read. I’m really excited to read the next book in the series.
About the Author
Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Forest of Hands and Teeth series, which has been translated into over eighteen languages and is in development as a major motion picture. She is also the editor of the anthology Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, as well as author of Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer, the second book in Scholastic’s new multi-author/multi-platform series for middle grade readers. | Website
Text © 2014 Kathryn Lewis
Re-print © 2014 The Black Lion Journal
Re-printed with permission.
Why do you see this?