THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I decided to buy THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan, simply because of all the talk it was receiving on Twitter. Everyone was tweeting that this was a "must read"...and this went on, for several days. So I bought it, along with it's sequel, THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES. And I have to say, I'm so glad that I did.
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, is a story about a teenage girl named Mary and the village she lives in, in what is now the post-apocalyptic United States. The world as we know it, has been taken over by the Unconsecrated - the human-turned-zombie beings, that are hungry for the flesh of those that are uninfected. And Mary's walled village is the only home the younger generations have ever known - and the walls keep them protected from the Unconsecrated that roam the forest around them. The forest of hands and teeth.
They've never been outside the gates - never stood amongst the tall buildings of a city, or flown in an airplane, or been to the ocean. They only know of the tales they've been told - stories passed down from generations before them - that describe what once was. But to most of them now, these stories seem like make believe - the fictional ramblings of their elders...except to Mary.
Mary believes all the stories her Mother has shared with her - and she dreams of one day seeing the ocean. She knows that there's something more outside the walls of her village. But when Mary's own Mother contracts the deadly infection and is released outside the walls of her village, she then discovers the horrifying role played by the Sisterhood, a religious order of women in charge of protecting the people of her village.
Forced into a life she never wanted with the Sisterhood and betrothed to a man she isn't in love with, Mary's salvation comes, the day the barriers of her village are breached. She narrowly escapes into the gated trails with Harry, the man she was to marry, his brother Travis...the man she truly is in love with - and her best friend, who was assigned to marry Travis.
Together they navigate the gated trails, searching for signs of other villages, other life...for anything other than the Unconsecrated that moan and thrash at the fences that surround them. Her determination and strong beliefs of her Mother's stories, is what forces Mary to push them all forward...forward through the forest of hands and teeth, to what lies beyond.
Ryan does an amazing job telling a gripping story of survival, loyalty, and the overwhelming courage it takes to persevere. I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, so much so, that I even have my husband - who 1.) isn't really a reader and 2.) usually only prefers Dean Koontz - reading this book...and he's enjoying it just as much as I did.
My review of THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES, will follow shortly - and I can't wait for the third and final installment of the trilogy, THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, to come out in early Spring of 2011.
Kudos to Carrie Ryan for her fantastic story-telling. I can't wait to read what else she turns out.
If you'd like more information on Carrie Ryan, please see her web page: http://www.carrieryan.com/
She can also be found on Twitter: http://twitter.com/carrieryan
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