As the title suggests, my first review for this blog is The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I read the book during summer of 2010 and am currently waiting for the second book to come out in paperback. Might explain my paperback policy on my about page in the future. But on to the review.
This was my first zombie book. First zombie anything actually, so I was unsure as to whether I'd like the book or not. And yes, they may be called unconsecrated in the book but let's face it, they are zombies. While I was supposed to watch all the zombie movies (like Dawn of the Dead) for policy debate, I never did because even with the capitalism approach, they didn't really interest me and I get bored easily with horror movies. Why did I read this book? Honestly, with a title like "Forest of Hands and Teeth" and the awesome cover, I just had to give it a chance.
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 in so much death?"
I loved this book. While I didn't know what to expect since it was my first zombie book ever, it also was the only book in 2010 that I read in a single day. I did take a break to sleep but once I was up I kept picking up the book to read more. With each finished chapter I wanted to read at least one more to find out what happens next. This is against some difficult odds because not only was I less interested in zombies before reading the book but I also tend to have an anti-love-triangle policy. This does have a triangle but it's one I actually was able to tolerate and even understand.
What keeps this from being a perfect book? Honestly, the beginning. While it was okay, there were slow parts and I came close to putting it down several times during the first several chapters. Oddly, those are the chapters the synopsis discusses and it's also a common thread I've heard among my friends on this book. It was a little harder to get through the first section but once the breach happens things get very interesting fast. They are some good elements in the first chapters and it sets up the world of the novel, which is far after the "birth" of the unconsecrated. Also, about the main character is the fact that there are certain qualities she has that may detour some readers. She definitely has flaws, which is good, but certain ones may be off putting for others because it's hard to keep reading if the main character isn't liked enough.
The world is another good element. Even the zombies had an approach taken with them and while they do have the urge to bite, I don't remember reading the cliche zombie line of "brains!" Which is good. I really think between the world, the characters and the stakes of the conflict that people will enjoy this book whether or not they usually love zombies. If reading this book, I will warn, do not expect a perfectly happy ending. It's not a romance novel but the ending works for the character and plot of the story. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, The Dead-Tossed Waves.
For these reasons, I rate the book an 8.5 out of 10. Not perfect but really good.