Friday, March 19, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009)

This novel by Carrie Ryan received rave reviews and I am at a loss as to why.

Mary lives in a small village surrounded by a fence which keeps out previous inhabitants who were infected and "turned" into the Unconsecrated, flesh-eating undead (shuffling and moaning). As the story starts, her bereft mother, cannot live without her husband (already turned) and willingly allowed one to bite and infect her. As she dies and turns, she is forced out of the village. Mary grieves but has to carry on and face her own betrothal. Since the village has lost so many of its people, it is of the utmost importance that young people join and procreate. Before her ceremony is completed, the fences give way to the press of Unconsecrated and Mary and a small group of family and friends escape through a fenced tunnel to find other villages and the ocean.

But there are times when I stand at the edge of the Forest of Hands and
Teeth and look out at the wilderness that stretches on forever and wonder
what it would be like if it were all water. I close my eyes and listen to
the wind in the trees and imagine a world of nothing but water closing over
my head.
It would be a world without the Unconsecrated, a world without the
Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Mary is torn between the need to discover what is outside the fence and the need to do what is necessary to help her village. She is also torn between her feelings for Travis and her duty to Harry, his brother, who asks to join with him. While she should be enjoying her last days of freedom, she is in constant danger from what is outside the fence. I would like this story and this character if I could only lose the images from movies like Night of the Living Dead.

Fantasy and adventure readers would enjoy this book.
My rating for this book: +++ 1/2

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