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The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1
Author: Carrie Ryan
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...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780385736817
ISBN-10: 0385736819
Publication Date: 3/24/2009
Pages: 320
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 85

3.6 stars, based on 85 ratings
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 3
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I thought it was a terrible book. I disagree with the reviewer who claims there were many layers...there was only one in my eyes....Mary's selfishness. There was no resolution or point to her being so self centered. She did not overcome, she sacrifices everyone to achieve her goals..even those she supposely loves! Mary was a very unlikeable character. I found the book to be pointless & a total waste of an afternoon. Maybe as an adult I'm just not getting this YA book. There are a lot better YA books out there...don't waste your time on this one.
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
If you are like me you were disappointed with the movie The Village. It was a good movie but what happened to all the creepy stuff? This book reminds me of The Village in a lot of ways except that there really is zombies outside the fence in this one.
I wasn't expecting such dark, heartbreaking and creepy story. This isn't your typical happily ever after YA. Mary makes some very difficult choices. People she loves are hurt or worse but she must keep going to stay away from the Unconsecrated(the word zombie is never used)and find her way out of the Forest of Hands and Teeth. I was sucked right into the post zombie apocalypse world.
I recommend this book. It's not a light of easy book. It could almost be in the horror genre. But you would be missing out to not read it.

http://lorilaws.blogspot.com/
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Mary lives in a fenced enclave with a small community of people, ruled by an overbearing and slightly malignant order of Sisters. No one remembers where or how the Unconsecrated came to be, but they are a constant danger to the lives and sanity of the people. One day the fences are broken, and Mary and her friends must escape--but where will they go?

Who cares? By the time Mary and her co-horts set off through the forest, I was rooting for them to stumble on a horde of Unconsecrated. The main character in particular, Mary, is all teen angst and self-involvement. She pines through out the book for love of a boy with no particularly interesting qualities. Her friends are just as bad.

I broke my rule of avoiding Young Adult fiction and picked this one up because of the zombie theme. However, it served to reinforce the reasons I avoid Young Adult fiction: underdeveloped characters, underdeveloped settings, underdeveloped themes.
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Once upon a time, I read a lot of horror. I devoured Stephen King, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz far earlier than I should have, and still have a hard time going into a dark basement today as a result. But around the time I had my first child, filling my head with all of those dark images and imaginings kind of lost its appeal. I stopped watching horror movies and stopped seeking out horror novels, too. Of course, very once in awhile, one sneaks through my defenses. The Forest of Hands and Teeth would fall into this category.

Carrie Ryan's debut novel begins like a retelling of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Only in this dystopian tale, the monsters that live in the forest are real. The inhabitants of Mary's town have lived among the Unconsecrated -- zombies -- that have walked the earth since the unexplained global infection seven generations ago. The year and location are undefined, but the author hints that the characters are living far in the future, but after the collapse of modern society, where plague survivors live a pioneer lifestyle protected by a massive chain-link fence that has protected the community from the Unconsecrated since the disaster.

Mary is an interesting lead character. She rebells against tradition and follows her heart, both in the love story and her adventures to find more survivors outside of the fence that cages her in. At times, however, her dogged pursuit of what she wants seems a little selfish and... well, stupid.

When it comes down to it, I really enjoyed the book with three exceptions:

1) Mary acting like a self-centered teenager (so, fairly authentic, I guess) wore on my patience.

2) Zombie babies -- even when treated fairly sensitively -- are never a good thing. They're not scary, they're just sad and gross and disturbing.

3) The Forest of Hands and Teeth was overall, just too sad. There are glimmers of hope here and there, but the horrors and the heartaches definitely run the show.

Like Laura Whitcomb's A Certain Slant of Light, I enjoyed the story, but I probably wouldn't read this book again. If I wanted to cry in every other chapter and end up totally depressed, I'd read Jodi Picoult. [close]
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I am not sure where to begin about the awesomeness that is this book! I devoured this young adult fantastical story in 24 hours. What a heartbreaking, emotional roller coaster of a story.

Mary is a young lady who lives in a village surrounded by fences strong enough to keep out the Unconsecrated - aka - flesh eaters! Her village has been around for many generations and the Sisterhood has taught the villagers that there is nothing beyond the fences but death. However, Mary dreams of what life has to offer outside the confines, constantly remembering the stories her mother told her of the ocean that existed before the Return. Mary has obligations to her family and her people, but she continues to long for something better, something more.

The Sisterhood, or the village's Godly body, created the laws the villagers live by. At times, these laws seemed so unfair, but if you are the last bit of humanity on earth, they are understandable. You either get married to procreate and rebuild humanity, or you become a Sister. Oddly enough, it seems as though the Holy Sisterhood has been keeping secrets from the villagers ...

After the walls to her village are breached by the Unconsecrated, Mary's curiosity, selfishness and determination lead her and her loved ones on one hellish, horrifying, emotional journey.

The story is intense and exciting, full of betrayal, secrets and lots of danger. But most of all, it is full of hope - the hope that Mary carries with her until the end. A very compelling tale. Of course, there is a love story. It is heartbreaking and really draws you into an intense emotional relationship with the characters as they fight to survive in the Forest of Hands and Teeth.


Carrie Ryan is a good writer, plain and simple. She developed Mary's character quite well, and it's hard to think of her as a teenager because she was very mature throughout, but also terrified, hard-headed and selfish. Ryan also never describes what happened to create the Unconsecrated, which leaves the plot oddly interesting and mysterious.
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reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 2514 more book reviews
I have read a number of other books by Carrie Ryan, The Map to Everywhere which I loved, and The Daughter of Deep Silence which was okay. I have had this book in my TBR pile forever and finally got a chance to pick it up. It ended up being okay. Its well written but starts out a bit slow and wasnt all that original.

Mary lives in a village surrounded by a fence. Inside the village the Sisterhood rules all and the Guardians patrol the fence. Outside the fence the Unconsecrated will stop at nothing to break in and consume human flesh. Mary is getting to an age where she either must be asked for by a young man in the village or join the Sisterhood. She is forced to join the Sisterhood but found unsuitable for that work and when her childhood friend Harry asks for her she becomes his betrothed. However the only problem is that Mary took care Harrys brother Travis while she was in the Sisterhood and both feel deeply in love.

Marys love troubles suddenly become inconsequential when a strange fast moving Unconsecrated breaks into the village and rips their lives apart.

This book starts out very slow but does pick up pace towards the end. The tone in the beginning reminds a lot of the movie The Village. Over half of the book is about Mary in her little village dealing with her day to day worries and concerns. Things do pick up towards the end but the pacing is strange. First Mary is completely obsessed with her love for Travis, then she ignores him in her quest for the ocean her mother told stories about, then she is obsessed with him again and then ignoring him. It was like Ryan couldnt have Mary be in love AND eager to seek out the ocean at the same time...it was weird.

I thought the characters were a bit bland as well and didn't really engage with them. Mary is selfish and determined to fulfill her needs and obsessions; she doesnt think about long term consequences and her actions were pretty stupid and poorly thought out. None of the other main characters really grabbed me and engaged me either; they were all just kind of blah. This book was full of characters who were selfish and short-sighted and generally annoying.

However, I did enjoy the world here and am curious to learn more about it. I felt like as soon as the story started to actually get interesting the book was over. Although lets be honest the idea of secluded human societies in a post-apocalyptic zombie infested world isnt really all that unique...its been done many times before.

Overall this is a decent read for those who are looking for a dystopian YA zombie type of book. I found the world intriguing but thought the book was a bit slow and that the characters were unlikable and hard to engage with . I am unsure whether or not I will read the next book in the series right now; I kind of want to read more about this world but I am worried that the 2nd book will be as slow and boring as this one was.
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 215 more book reviews
This is one of those books that starts off a little strange and slow, and takes a little time to figure out, but then soon pulls you in. It was a very fast read, and one that wasn't easy to put down after the first several chapters.

Mary as a character isn't exactly likable, but she is human, and the wider story is told rather convincingly from her point of view. Of course, this means that there are some loose ends that never get resolved, because Mary doesn't see what happens to everyone or find out every secret. It also isn't quite like your usual zombie tale, as Carrie Ryan manages to put a fresh twist on the idea we are all familiar with. In some ways these things served as weaknesses, but they were also strengths in other ways, though it is somewhat hard to describe. But, if you read it, I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
reviewed The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 1) on + 38 more book reviews
This is one of those times when I didn't read the dust jacket (should've! Oh, I really should've.) and just snapped up the book because it could be had for a mere quarter. A quarter for the charity store, right? That's a good deed. A better deed would've been done by this person's editor and whomever is working at Delacorte Press. Basically this novel is a combo of "The Village" + some teen romance + a pinch of the Hunger Games' bow-and-arrow skillset + toss in some nuns and the undead, and you're off to a ripper of a book.

Except, yeah. It sucked. So, maybe your average undead loving pap reader will dig it. (Not to pun. But I did! Shoot me! -- but not with a bow and arrow.)

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