The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Carrie Ryan

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This book is definitely aimed at young-adult girls and I cannot imagine anyone else particularly enjoying this trilogy of books. If you like twilight you will probably like this series (not that I am tarring this book with the same brush as the Twilight Saga!) The novel has similar traits to both Twilight and the Hunger Games as well as, I imagine, many other young-adult novels. We see love triangles, with our lead character, Mary, forced into drama between her  friend who is madly in love with her (Harry) and her friend’s brother who she madly loves and who madly loves her, but who also loves his brother too much to hurt him (Travis), as well as a second triangle (or maybe square?) between Mary’s BFF (Cass) who loves Harry, but sticks with Travis because she knows Harry loves Mary and so want’s Harry to be happy even at her own expense. Phew, Drama!

I was not overly impressed with the opening to this novel, it struck me as rather crap. However, being the sucker I am I kept reading and actually got rather into the story, urgh, I’m such a girl! The book is set around the premise that the end has come, zombies have flooded the earth and only one small pocket of humans has survived in a walled sanctuary in the woods which is governed by The Sisterhood – a group of spinsters with a good amount of secrets to hide. The Sisterhood has indoctrinated the population to believe they are the only survivors of the ‘Unconsecrated’ due to their morals and somewhat puritan beliefs. The village is relatively safe from the threat of the Unconsecrated, provided the citizens stay away from the fence – something Mary’s mother fails to do – getting herself bitten and subsequently orphaning Mary and leaving her ostracised for having a crazy mother. This causes many romance issues as she is ‘of age’ and expected to get engaged, only to have no boy claim her (idiots). This causes her to be taken in by The Sisterhood – an unpleasant experience – until, to cut a long story short, Travis gets injured, Mary nurses him, they fall in love, Travis gets engaged to Mary’s BFF, Harry comes and proposes to Mary, Travis says he will still come for Mary, Travis doesn’t, Random girl called Gabrielle from outside the village is imprisoned by The Sisterhood, dies and turns into a ‘Breaker’ AKA FAST ZOMBIE, breaks free, destroys most of the village and Travis, Mary, Harry, BFF, Mary’s brother,  Sister-in-law and a little boy all have to leg it out of the village down a path. There is much angst on the part of Mary over her romance issues, along with the practical problems associates with, you know, being stuck down a path to god-knows-where with no food or water and zombies on each side of a very fragile looking wire fence.  This is further complicated by Mary’s belief in the sea and her wish to one day go see it, much to everyone else’s horror.  I’ll stop there and let you read the book to find out the rest.

If I’m honest I quite liked the book, as much as I wish I could say otherwise. I ended up getting quite involved with the story and there are aspects of the zombie predicament I rather liked – such as the two types of Zombies – slow, long lasting ones which can lay dormant for decades until they smell human, and fast ‘breakers’ which are created when there are no other zombies in the vicinity when a human turns, causing it to turn into a fast-burn, virus spreading nightmare. The book is surprisingly graphic, with heavy description of broken bones and snapped, bloodied fingers clawing at fences.  There is also the sense that romantic love is not going to fulfil your life and that there is more to life than simply settling down with a dude and having a family – a good solid point to get across to teenage girls.  I further approve of getting teenage girls into the zombie genre and away from sparkly vampires. Any book that gets kids into apocalypse fiction is a good book to me (even Warm Bodies… ok, maybe I lie…) I did go on to read the following two books in the trilogy, which I shall review later,  and so clearly I am a bit too girly for my own good. If you are a teenage girl or someone who likes twilight (Oddly I am neither of these things…) read this book. If not, pass.

OH NO! I have just found out they are making a film…

By Liz 🙂

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