Review Blog

Jul 22 2009

The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan

cover image

Orion, 2009. ISBN 9780575090859
(Age 14+) Mary's life is confined to the village where she lives. In her constricted post apocalypse world the Sisterhood control all knowledge and lay down confining rules. The Guardians protect everyone from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The village is surrounded by a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated, zombies who relentlessly push against it, trying to get in. One bite from them is enough to turn a normal person into a walking undead. As the Unconsecrated crowd in, Mary has difficult choices to make. Should she chance the forest path and hope to find the sea her mother has spoken about, or should she stay and fight the undead?
Told in the first person, this is a coming of age story. Mary is on the verge of becoming an adult and is a strong determined character who holds onto her dreams of a bigger world beyond the fence. She is in love with Travis, who is betrothed to her best friend, Cass. The Sisterhood command her to marry Harry, but she is torn with doing what she has been told to do or trying to follow her heart. When the Unconsecrated take over her village, she sets out with Travis, Harry, Cass and an orphaned boy Jacob, to try and escape. The love triangle will appeal to romance fans who like their love interest entwined with some horror.
There is plenty of action for fans of horror with the Unconsecrated determined to kill everything in sight, and both Mary and her brother being forced to kill people they love or else see them turn. The suspense is quite rivetting after the first 100 pages or so with the zombies in hot pursuit of the little group. Although there is a satisfying conclusion there are enough unresolved issues to ensure that the reader will want to read the sequel.
Pat Pledger

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