Author: Carrie Ryan
Publish date: 2009
"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?"
Last fall I attended the Smart Chicks Kick It tour at their stop at Schuler's in Lansing. Carrie Ryan was there, along with 5 or 6 other authors. The Forest of Hands and Teeth was on my TBR list so I decided to purchase it and have her sign it. She is a super nice person, really friendly and funny, and I looked forward to reading her novel. I finally got around to it a few days ago. I didn't love it, but I liked it enough to continue with the trilogy.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth was my first foray in the world of zombies (literature-wise). I liked that the story started out in the middle of the action. Zombie themed entertainment seems to start out with one person getting infected, people trying to escape, ethical dilemmas, do I kill my mom now that she's infected, etc, but this didn't. That's not to say that they're aren't any dilemmas in the story, but it was nice to not trudge through the beginning of the time of zombies. The main character, Mary, does not know a life without zombies, or the Unconsecrated, as they are known.
The plot was fairly fast-paced, although it took me a while to get into it (despite being dropped right into action). Sometimes the writing style got a bit annoying, especially the present tense. For some reason that I can't quite identify, I think this novel would have been better in the past tense. There was also a lack of commas. I am a huge proponent of the Oxford comma and think everyone should use them. They were sadly lacking in this book.
Overall I enjoyed the story. There was a lot of action and I was never bored. I do, however, have a lot of unanswered questions that I hope are addressed in the sequels The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places. I'm curious to see where the story goes and pleased that I don't have to wait a year to find out!