Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

March 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm (3 stars, review) (, , , , , , , )

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Pages: 310, paperback

ISBN: 9780575090859

Publisher: Gollancz

Date Released: March 10th, 2009

Genre: YA / Horror / post-apocalyptic / dystopian / zombies

Where I got it from: bought


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 in so much death? (Taken from Goodreads)

Okay, so I’ve been pining over the idea of a zombie book for ages. Finally, my prayers have been answered.

To start off with, it’s really unrealistic that a chainlink fence can hold off a hoarde of hungry, flesh-eating zombies. Really? A chain link fence? I once kicked a hole in one of those, and I barely broke a sweat. With that in mind, it was hard to keep up with the story. I know you’re supposed to suspend some belief with a story like that, but to suspend it that much is madness and simply ridiculous.

The story doesn’t really go anywhere for the first hundred or so pages, but we do learn a lot about the village and the Forest and the Sisterhood. While it lacks action, it is still interesting, and draws the reader in. Though, the fact that so much backstory was used makes for a poor writing technique.
At times, I noticed that it was difficult to understand what was happening, usually during a fast-paced scene. Ryan just seems to blunder forward, with her thoughts all jumbled up, giving us an incoherent scene that is near indecipherable.

The writing wasn’t impressive, but it managed to keep me on the edge of my seat for majority of the book, so the book gets bonus points for that.

I was a bit disappointed that the zombies weren’t a main focus, only a background tool for the village. It was interesting to have an insight to the well-developed world of the Village, but still, I opened up the book to encounter zombies, not to hear a rip-off of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. Because that’s exactly what it was. I was hoping the zombies would redeem it, but unfortunately, no.

The romance and the character development were poorly written and virtually non-existent. The characters were hard to relate to, they acted randomly and out of character.

What I hated were the unresolved plot-holes. There were so many things left unanswered that it left me seething. Never had I been so disappointed in my life. Well done, Carrie Ryan, for making me spend another $30 for the sequel. Good money making technique.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 2
Characters: 2
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 3/5



  1. Jenny said,

    Awwwww that’s sad that this book didn’t live up to what you hoped it would be. I’ve been wanting to read it so much! I haven’t heard much about it though, other than the cover and the basic summary, so this is good to know. Also, you kicked a hole in a chain link fence?

    • nlmars said,

      Thankfully, the second book was much better!! It answers a lot of the questions that were left hanging at the end of the first book. I’ll post a review for that soon. 🙂

      And haha, yeah, I did. Just to see how plausible the chain link fence in this book was. XD

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