The Compulsive Reader: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I've had this book for a while now, but I promised I wouldn't reveal my thoughts until today--a near impossible feat!

Mary's world is a sheltered one. Confined by the fence that keeps the Unconsecrated at bay, her community must live out their lives in hardship, looking to the Sisterhood for guidance, hoping that there never will be a breach of the fence, and praying that they will be able to survive each harsh winter. When Mary's mother is bitten by the Unconsecrated and consequently turned into one of them, Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood. Strict and controlling, they don't take kindly to Mary's questions and do their best to isolate her. But despite her treatment, Mary learns things; things the Sisterhood isn't telling the community. And when these secrets ultimately bring about destruction on the community, Mary and a small group of survivors will be forced to venture into The Forest of the Hands and Teeth, in hope of finding life amidst so much death and decay.

Carrie Ryan's debut novel is an intense and frightening account of survival, life, and love, and a powerful book that toys with what it means to live. Mary is a very deep thinking and sensitive character, and her musings and contemplations are unique and oftentimes thought provoking. Ryan's writing is very descriptive, and her world is vivid, scary, and very real. The idea of a secluded society is an interesting one, and the mood and lifestyles of the community are believable and intriguing. Ryan builds curiosity in the beginning half of the novel by hinting at the Sisterhood's secrets, but unfortunately, she doesn’t develop the idea as much as expected.

Ryan's action scenes are fewer than you might expect, but intense and suspenseful, and you can't help but feel strong sympathy for the courageous and resilient characters who brave all odds in the hopes of finding shelter. Mary proves to be a leader, even as she questions her abilities and her own motives, although her questioning nature does get a little old and cause the book to drag a little towards the middle. However, Ryan proves herself to be a bold writer in the end, giving a conclusion that will leave you gasping and clamoring for a sequel. This romantic and chilling novel is intensely gripping.

Cover comments: I love the colors used in this cover: the green-ish grays, and the darks, and the slash of dramatic-but-not-in-a-slasher-way red. I like the eerie-ness of it all, and the pose the girl is in...it's very intriguing. Overall, a very good cover.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is out today!


Books Fall Open said...

I've really been looking forward to this book coming out, and the glimpse you offer of the story just makes me want to read it more. Great review! I can't wait to pick this up tomorrow.

Mrs. Magoo said...

I got a copy of this in the mail today and can't wait to read it!!

Laini Taylor said...

Vurry curious about this one. Thanks for the review!

Lisa Schroeder said...

I think this one is going to be huge!!