Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Facts
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Hachette Gollancz
Date: 2009
Length: 320 pages

The Fiction
Mary lives in an isolated, unnamed village which is bound by a series of rules. Their community is fenced in and heavily patrolled by the Guards – in order to keep out the hordes of Unconsecrated (zombies!) who lurk on the other side and throughout the forest. Having grown up hearing stories about life prior to the zombie invasion, Mary dreams of the ocean and the possibilities that could lie beyond the two paths in the fenced-off forest.

Until one day the safety of her village is compromised by an attack of the Unconsecrated and the ordered life Mary knew is thrown into chaos. Mary and a small group of those who manage to escape the invasion (including her brother, her betrothed, her best friend and the boy she loves), together enter the forest and travel along the mysterious path into the unknown to try and ensure their survival.

This is hands-down, one of my favourite books. Though I deliberately picked it up because I knew it was about zombies, I think it’s an engaging and enjoyable read regardless of your personal interest in the undead. It was essentially my first experience with zombie-themed young adult literature and I was amazed with incredibly high quality of the work (because let’s be honest, zombies are not know for their sophisticated background and literary prowess). Ryan has crafted a sophisticated post-apocalyptic teen story which combines action and suspense with an emotional core and resonant, contemporary themes. Oh, and we certainly mustn’t forget, there is also quite a heart-wrenching romance plotline and a love quadrilateral.

If you pick any novel from Zombie Week to try reading for the first time, I can’t recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth enough. Even if you aren’t a zombie fan, the well-developed cast of characters, gripping journey and forbidden romance will surely sustain you as a reader.
An incredibly writing debut by Carrie Ryan (and just to encourage aspiring writers, the first manuscript for this novel came out of Nanowrimo).


Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I so love this book too, and I got right into the sequel as well. awesome awesome awesome.

although, not a fan of the cover. Like the US one better :)

Girl Friday said...

Oh glad to hear something good about The Dead Tossed Waves - I saw a few negative reviews and love Hands and Teeth so much, I was scared to read it hehe

Yeah, I think the US cover is pretty (I used this cover because it's the one I have a copy of) though for some reason I always pictured Mary differently

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