Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA Zombie Horror
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
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?
I have this habit of buying the first book in the series and then all of the other books in the series as they’re released — even if I haven’t read the first book to see if I even like the series yet. Of course I was interested in this one because it was a book everyone was talking about. When I finally got the chance to read it, I have to admit that I was on the fence about it.
Right off the bat, I noticed how different Carrie Ryan’s writing was. She’s definitely a good writer, but the first part was a little slow for me. In fact, I couldn’t help but pull similarities from the movie The Village (one of my favourite movies) as well as the book The Hallowed Ones (another favourite). There’s undertones of religion in this story, which weren’t too heavy handed, and I did like the setting of a village set up by the older people of the village — a place that kept the bad monsters out.
I really wanted to like the characters in this story, but it was so hard! The main character, Mary, constantly talks about Travis. This would be fine in small doses, but I felt like every other sentence was Travis-this and Travis-that. It was completely overdone and got very annoying after a while.
I did really like the hope that Mary had — the fact that her mother told her stories of the ocean and the idea that there is something else out there. It was sad that everyone in the village was so jaded that the idea of anything outside of the village was unthinkable.
It also felt like the pacing was off in sections. I mean, there’s the suspense of the Unconsecrated infiltrating the village, but then there’s long sections of domesticity before anything exciting happens again. The story also ends on a bit of an unended, open-ended note. There are still questions out there, hopefully ones that will be answered in one of the companion novels.
I have the next two books in this series and see that they’re more like companion books to this one. I’m hoping that maybe I’ll like one of them better because while I wanted to like this story — while I wanted to love it — it just didn’t resonate with me like it did with others. I mean, it was an okay novel, with some definite creepiness going on, but there were just too many things that I disliked with it.