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, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
Now, 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?
[STAR] "A bleak but gripping story...Poignant and powerful."-Publishers Weekly, Starred
"A postapocalyptic romance of the first order, elegantly written from title to last line."-Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series and Leviathan
"Intelligent, dark, and bewitching, The Forest of Hands and Teeth transitions effortlessly between horror and beauty. Mary's world is one that readers will not soon forget."-Cassandra Clare, bestselling author of City of Bones
"Opening The Forest of Hands and Teeth is like cracking Pandora's box: a blur of darkness and a precious bit of hope pour out. This is a beautifully crafted, page-turning, powerful novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it."-Melissa Marr, bestselling author of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange
"Dark and sexy and scary. Only one of the Unconsecrated could put this book down."-Justine Larbalestier, author of How to Ditch Your Fairy
From the Hardcover edition.
Im a fan of zombies. So many of us are these days. They are what Godzilla was in the 50s and 60s and what slashers were to the 80s. These iconic symbols of contemporary fear are fun.First, the narration. Not great. The reader, while trying to be intense hits a certain boring monotone. But that might be the text. But why did Sister Tabitha get an accent? There are village people who became sisters, they arent foreigners who have conquered. It was a strange choice.Otherwise, Ryans book is not fun. Ryans books are written in a style that is amateurish and mediocre. Had it been written by someone with more skill in the craft of writing, Suzanne Collins and her books of a postapocalyptic dystopia comes to mind, they could have been amazing. So what are the flaws in the writing? First, I question the use of 1st person present tense. Present tense can be difficult to work in as if conveys a feeling of dreaminess and sometimes mental illness. Those qualities do not complement the attempt at grit. Just a stylistic disagreement there. But she has even more problems with the 1stperson narrator. A firstperson narrator cannot think or say something outside their knowledge and experience. That is one of the more difficult aspects of that choice, as opposed to the 3rdperson omniscient, for example. So where does this villager, the protagonist Mary, have the experience to use the word percussion early in the novel? Or to name her dog Argos? In a village that is barely hanging one and that has no books except the scriptures and the genealogy tomes? This type of thoughtlessness reflects the overall poor worldbuilding. And speaking again of poor word choices: Flesh. Overused. There are times when skin would have been just fine, or arm. By the end of the book I felt like creating a drinking game. Every time she uses the word flesh you have to take a drink. Powerful words should be used carefully and sparingly so they dont lose their impact. But Ryan doesnt seem to know how to measure her interactions with the reader.For example, her use of similes is outrageous. Everything is like or as. Yes, these are important techniques that, when used well, offer a great deal to both the intellectual and visceral understanding of a situation. But when overused they call attention to the artifice of the technique and break the suspension of disbelief.She is equally unmeasured in her intensity of description in the unconsecrated zombie attacks. To maintain the momentum of the ongoing crisis, you have to balance, hold back, and alter the sense of danger. Yes, real zombie attacks would probably feel pretty intense every time, but we are talking about the craft of writing and its effect on readers. And her constant hyperintensity simply becomes boring by the end. The protagonist and supporting characters are always deluged or buried or covered with zombies, as they are covered in blood at almost all times, but they arent bitten nearly as much as youd think by the description. Could that be refuted in that the 1stperson narration always feels that kind of intensity when being attacked by zombies? Maybe. But it doesnt work on the level of crafting the narrative and interacting with the reader.Finally, the ending. That is perhaps the most anticlimatic ending I have ever read. The insistance that she will follow [her] dreams and must get to the ocean do not achieve an emotional climax when she does reach her goal. Sure, everybody she loved in life is dead, happiness may not be carrying the day, but to get your first glimpse of the power of the ocean and not forget for a moment after having strived so hard to see it? The ending feels tired. A tired author trying to end an ultimately boring book. I understand there are several derivitive sequel and prequels in the series. I wont be reading any of them.It was a great idea. It could have been a great book. Its a shame it didnt have a greater writer to support it.