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.
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.
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.
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]
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.