‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’
by Carrie Ryan.
The first book in ‚The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ series kidnaps the readers in a surreal dystopia, in a world which could come straight from a horror movie. The story is told in the present by Mary, who lives in a village in the middle of a wood which is surrounded by a fence and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The fence is there to protect the people in the village from the inhabitants of the wood who are deadly.
Who still couldn’t figure out from the name of the book… at this it deals with zombies and they are also described as we all know them: away eaten bodies, hanging limbs, sacked eyes and everything together bloodied and they wander around groaning, undead for all eternity in their search of living meat.
From topic the book has been really interesting for me and I also liked the world construction of Ryan and it has persuaded me, but sadly this was already everything I liked in it.
Because of the writing manner of Ryan I had the whole time the feeling to read the book only from a distance. Nothing was described definitively which concerns feeling, reactions and the plot and often there were longer time spans in between which then were told afterwards.
I don’t like that at all because I prefer a plot and a story which happens while I read it and where I’m totally in the story and can be anxious with the characters and their fate.
But well, here it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway because I’ve never really become warm with the main character Mary.
From the first pages one she fantasize about a guy, then she finally gets him, after the reader had to endure her whining for him for 2/3 of the book, and then he isn’t enough for her – because she wants to see the ocean! Exactly, you’ve read it right – all the time here it’s about the damned ocean which Mary unconditional wants to see and for this she’s ready to sacrifice everything and everybody.
On top of that she makes some very stupid and also selfish decisions, only to ask herself afterwards constantly why she has done that and wallows in her self-pity and bad conscience. And this central theme goes on throughout the whole book!
Moreover, it was more than senselessly that Mary has constantly thought about her love life and has also pondered about other unnecessary stuff, while in that time there was in a 1-meter-distance a wire fence where zombies groaned and lusted for her flesh and life. Hello?? What should I say? Guess, you just have to make priorities and anyhow in this book the characters have acted sometimes very bizarre. The only bright spot was Travis, or also the dog, but that was it. :)
Another low point was the end, which came actually somewhere in the middle of the story and none of the open questions, which the protagonists have raised up throughout the story, were answered.
I would have been quite satisfied if I knew that these questions would be answered in the next books. But no; Ryan rather likes to tell the next book from the point of view from another person and this was for me the key point not to read the next book in this series.
Now I am really disappointed from this book because the zombie and horror genre, mixed with a love story, have interested me very much. Hence, I am grateful to everybody which could give me good book recommendations on this subject! I would be grateful for it, thx.
Only out of my interest I’ve read a few reviews to the second book and because I found two of them really amusing, and also reflected partly the absurdities which were also in the first book, I would like to let you read them as well. Therefore, if you also want to read them, then just simply follow the links.
Review # 1 *awesome*
Review # 2 *also interesting*
# 1: Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth
# 2: Carrie Ryan – The Dead-Tossed Waves
# 3: Carrie Ryan – The Dark and Hollow Places