Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Finished on: November 8, 2012
Released: March 10, 2009 by Gollancz
Source: Library e-book

Summary from Amazon:
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?
Carrie Ryan has a very, very nice writing style. The writing is clear, intelligent, and smooth. She did an amazing job with the world building (though I admit that I pictured the Unconsecrated to look exactly like the Walkers in Walking Dead). The is an extremely intense book from start to finish but Ryan handled the characters and all their situations nicely. Just from the writing style alone, I'll never hesitate to pick up another book written by her.

To begin with, this is a very heavy book from the first page to the last and will not leave you with a cheery, warm feeling. It will, however, leave you feeling like you just read a great story. Everything about this world that Ryan has created is so intriguing and I wanted to know absolutely everything about and all of it's history. Some of that gets answered here but not all of it, which is why I'm greatly looking forward to the next two installments.

I really liked the main character, Mary, a lot and it's always very important to me to have a connection with the main character. I also loved Travis and Harry both but I leaned towards Travis. The scenes with Mary and Travis together were all perfection. I really grew connected to all the characters and their individual stories in a way that I don't with too many books; just the really special ones.

This story went in so many directions that I wasn't expecting at all. Sometimes there were great twists and sometimes not so great. Because of that I'm finding this a little hard to review because I don't want to give any potential  surprises away; but there are quite a few very awesome scenes that I adored (especially involving Travis/Mary!).

I finished this in one day because I just couldn't put it down, only stopping to excitedly tell my boyfriend (who is a big Walking Dead fan) everything that was going on. It sparked many great zombie discussions. This is such a compelling story and I originally gave it a 4 [I give 4's to great books I probably won't re-read and 5's to great books I probably will] but the more I think about it the more this one probably deserves a 5. So let's just go with a 4.5 for now. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is definitely one that will stick with me for awhile.

“Who are we if not the stories we pass down? What happens when there's no one left to tell those stories? To hear them? Who will ever know that I existed? What if we are the only ones left -- who will know our stories then? Who will remember those?”
“That's just the way life is. Some days you wake up and the beach is clear and you forget about everything that surrounds us. And some days you wake up and it looks like this. That's the nature of the tides."
 “He places his hands over mine, the feeling so warm and familiar. 'Those days back there, in the house. That is my world. That is my truth,' he says. 'That is my ocean.”

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