Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publication Year: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library
From the cover:
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?
I put off reading this book for a long time because I had heard it was about zombies. I don’t particularly care for zombie stories. It’s just not my thing. Eventually, though, I decided to relent, because I had also heard such good things about the series that I just had to see if they were true.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes place in a world where people survive by locking themselves away in villages that are surrounded by fences in order to keep the Unconsecrated (zombies) away. Everyone in Mary’s village is expected to live by a very strict set of rules, laid down by the Sisterhood – a group of women in charge – that is supposed to keep them safe. What it also does, though, is keep everyone under control.
Ryan does a really, really great job with this book. She managed to make zombies interesting even for me. It wasn’t just about the zombies, though – it was the characters learning about themselves and their world, and banding together to try to escape their worst nightmares. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the first book in the series, but it’s also well-written enough that it could be a standalone novel. It’s one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read all year.