Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth


“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 by so much death?”

First line of the book: “My mother used to tell me about the ocean.”

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
My Edition: E-book edition in Norwegian, publieshed by Cappelen Damm in 2015. Norwegian translation done by Jan Chr. Næss. The book was first published in 2009. 
Age: 14+
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Horror, Fantasy

I actually found this one on a random “Top 10 Zombie Books” list online. It looked so interesting that I immediatly put it on my e-book list. Then it came out in the e-library and I just had to start reding it.

The plot of this book is what got to me so badly, and why I really had to read the book, and why I finished it in like two days. It’s just an amazing consept, and a version of the zombie-apocalypse that I actually haven’t read or seen before (and I’ve read and seen a lot). The idea of this little village, believing they’re the only ones left and being controlled by a Sisterhood that “knows everything” and tells about God’s will is a really amazing version of a dystopia. When I read these sort of books, it’s important for me that the plot is believeable, that this is something I imagine could have happened in an actual zombie-apocalypse. And I believe in this one. Very good!

It’s a relly easy read, this one. The language of the book is easy and made me read the pages in seconds. That was a really big relief for me, especially since I just finished The Picture Of Dorian Gray and needed to something light. I like it when I don’t have to spend time on unnecessary long sentences and descriptions. But, a part of me thinks that the language was a bit too easy. I miss that one sentence I just feel the urge to write down in my quote-book. That one reflecting thought that comes along where I just sit back and think “shit, that’s the most accurate thought someone could have had in that situation”. That paragraph that makes me want to open a word-document and start writing myself. There are some (my favorite quote for instance, see further down) lines here and there, but this is a kind of universe that gives room for reflection and thoughts, so I wish there was a bit more of that. That being said the writing never get’s in the way of the story and it was nice to have a light read for a change, so all in all I’m pleased.

When I read books, I normally appreciate it the most when I like the main character the best. I often feel that if the main character does not live up to my expectations the book is ruined. The first time I realized that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case was when I read the first book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is the second time I realized it.

The thing about the main character Mary, is that she is a very fulfilled character, and the type of main character you need to get the story going. But I just don’t like her. I think she  is selfish and far too naive. She doesn’t see her own flaws, and she sets her own dreams and hopes before others. Even if that means putting other people in danger. But as I mentioned, I think that is the kind of girl she has to be for the book to be as exciting as it is. She wants to find out what the world really is like, and no one can stop her from doing that. It could have been admirable, but I think she does it in a way that just make her selfish. She is a little excused for her flaws because she is young. That can actually be the whole reason to why I don’t like her when I think about it. She makes mistakes I consider myself too old to be able to do, and as I always try to relate to the main character I find it hard in this book because she is so much I hope I’m not. Also, she never realized how much the people around her loves her, and it irritates me.

Then we have her older brother Jed who I also seriously disliked. I found him to be everything that a brother should not be, and I could never make those choices that he did in the beginning, and yet again some chapters later. Throughout the book he changes for the better though, and he also makes a choice towards the end that made me think that I may reconsider my feelings towards him. We’ll see about that during the next book, becuase I haven’t quite managed to forgive him just yet, despite his one admirable action. So far I find him to be really selfish, and since I’m a big sister myself I expected more from him than he gave.

Mary’s best friend Cass is probably the character I liked the most in this book. She isn’t the most important character, but I really understand her and relate to her. She is also a genuinly good person. For instance, she has several reasons to dislike Mary, but she still loves her and respects her. I seriously don’t know if I could do that.

Then we have Travis which I never really understood if I liked or not. I don’t understand him. And at last we have Harry which I love and think that is not at all as much appreciated that he should have been.

The ending is very good, actually. It’s a promise of even more action in the next book, and I ended up being really curious about what is going to happen next. I already know I’m going to have to read that one too!

The plot and actions of this book is really good. It’s a really exciting universe to read about, and it’ll be exciting to see how much we are going to figure out about how things really are. The book was a bit ruined for me by the fact that I can’t seem to like the main character at all, but the actions are still so exciting that it’s worth reading nonetheless.

Favorite Quote: “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?”




One comment on “Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  1. […] The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan Zombies! As the true gamer/book-nerd I am, the Zombie Apocalypse and the thousand versions of it will always have a special place in my heart. This one I found on a Top 10 Zombie book list and it fulfilled my wishes for an original story containing the necesarry elements of a true Zombie Apocalypse. I liked this one! But no full score here though, and that is because I couldn’t relate to the characters as much as I wanted to. […]


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