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.
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.
Reviewed by Ashley B for TeensReadToo.com
Mary lives in a village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
The Unconsecrated fill the forest, moaning, trying to get into the village, to devour and make more of their own by a single bite, which will spread the infection. They don't give up. They want to feed.
The Sisterhood holds the secrets of the village, from before the Return. No one knows the truth, except them.
The Guardians protect the village, and make sure the fence holds back the Unconsecrated. The fence is the only barrier between the village and the Forest.
But then, once Mary is forced into the Sisterhood, she learns things that she wishes she hadn't. There is the one section of the fence, which is forbidden; but, it leads somewhere... Mary knows it. But where does it lead?
Mary must choose between her village and what may or may not exist beyond that one gate.
I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked as soon as I started. Mary was a great character. She was strong, and always wanted more than what she had. She kind of reminded me of myself (only a little, though!).
The only thing I didn't like in the story was the ending, only because I wanted to know more! It left me hanging a little, so I don't really know what will happen to Mary.
When THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH comes out in March 2009, I recommend it to everyone. You'll enjoy it. I hope Carrie Ryan writes more books, too - her writing was amazing!
I did not like this book. I read some of it, but listened to the audio of most of it.
I don't really know what it was that annoyed me so much... Was is the narrator on the Audio version that got on my nerves with her accent, or the stupidity of the main character. I will have to really decide if I want to read the next one, or will Mary be just as stupid in that one as well.
This book receives a big "Booooo!" on my heckling scale.
The book was well written I ended up loving the characters just not all of their outcomes. It is has it all Action, and Love. I really enjoyed reading the book. However I couldn't help but think that Mary was a little bit selfish. Im not quite sure why she lets the people she supposedly loves do the things they do I know I sure wouldnt but she did. It made me feel that maybe her brother what right that she really didnt know what love was or that she loved herself more than her family.