The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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This book could have been SO much better. I picked it up because it takes place more than a century after a zombie apocolypse. (Which, if you’re familiar with zombie novels, is an unusual timeframe. ) I was curious to see how the surviving humans were dealing so many generations after the zombies first began, how society was managing, etc…

The “Unconsecrated” never died off – instead, living humans built fences around themselves to keep the zombies away, but they’re always out there, right next to the fence if you get too close. Mary lives in one of these fenced-in villages, who believe that they are the only survivors left in the world. The Sisterhood is a strict religious group that rules the village and who try to keep the village safe. But Mary grows up believing fairy tales about other places where people are, about something called an ocean where there’s nothing but water. She dreams of finding it one day.

After losing everything that’s dear to her, Mary enters the Sisterhood and realizes that they know more than they let on. Then there’s a breach in the fence and suddenly the village isn’t safe anymore, and Mary gets her chance to see what’s beyond the fences…

I have two main issues with the book:

1. TOO MUCH INNER MONOLOGUING. I got so sick of being inside Mary’s head. It definitely made the reading go a bit more slowly. Especially when she’s constantly having some sort of inner turmoil over what she thinks she really wants out of life.

2. It seems that this book missed a great chance to explore more the after-effects of the “infection” on the remaining society. I’m also annoyed that just when you learn that the Sisterhood knew more than they let on, the breach happens and you never get the chance to uncover the growing mystery there. A lot of time was spent on showing the darker side of the Sisterhood, but it didn’t end up mattering and that was annoying.

Anyways, great premise. And I did enjoy the beginning of the novel – the setting and general atmosphere were perfect. But a disappointing plot and main character mean that I probably won’t be looking for the companion novel, The Dead-Tossed Waves.

2 stars

~Sarah

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