Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Book Review

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

What is it about:

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 by so much death?

What did I think of it:

I had seen this book many times in the bookstore, but the above description sounded like the story was some clone of 'The Village'.
Imagine my surprise when I read in another review that it was about zombies! So I decided to pick it up

This book has lots of things that make a good zombie story, zombie mayhem being one of them. The story is quite good: dark and disturbing at times. So I should LOVE this book and I wanted to, but instead it fell short of that and I thought it was ok. Why is that?

It has to do with two things.

First: Present tense!
I have mentioned before I'm no fan of stories written in present tense. Once in a while there's an author who can handle present tense and write in such a way I don't even notice the present tense being used, but most authors fail in this and Ryan is among them. I kept getting pulled out of the story by the use of present tense. It just didn't feel natural.

Second: The viewpoint!
I read a lot of stories that use one person as the focus of the story and let him/her tell the story to you. Usually I do not have a problem with this and even love it as it gives you a great deal of insight in the workings of the lead character's mind.
In this book however I really missed the viewpoint of other characters besides Mary. This has to do with the fact I kept thinking Mary was not being honest in how she viewed the other characters. I felt like there should be more to the other characters than only Mary's view of them. This too kept me from losing myself in the story.

And lastly (ok, I said two things, but this one isn't really about me not loving the book, but just a pet peeve): Did you see the cover?! Again no zombies!!

All in all I'm really on the fence about this book and I'm not sure I'll read the next book 'The Dead-Tossed Waves'.

Why should you read it:

It is a very decent zombie story, so if you don't mind present tense you might love it.


Nina said...

Great and honest review. I have this book on my tbr list and I'am waiting for the right moment to read this book. I have to agree with the cover, it's not that fabulous.

LesleyW said...

Ah, I also do not like present tense. I have tried several times to read books using it, and always end up with brain ache.

I just picked up a book from my TBR pile that I'd been looking forward to reading for a while. Only to find it was written in present tense and I could only read a few lines at a time before having to put it down.

I keep persevering in the hope I will find a present tense book I can enjoy, but it hasn't happened yet.

Danielle87 said...

Great, honest review. I absolutely love this book! Carrie Ryan is one of my new favourite authors. 'The Dead-Tossed Waves' is a sequel of sorts, and it sets up the plot for (hopefully many) more books in this series.

. said...

Interesting. I was all set to check this out, but present tense is horrific for me to read -- it makes me uncomfortable in most cases and is almost impossible for me to finish (and I know I'm not alone in that!). Bummer, the premise sounds great. And I kind of like the cover, just because it looks unusual. Maybe this is a library selection, just in case...

Gini Koch

Sullivan McPig said...

Thanks everyone.
The only book I read where I didn't immediately noticed present tense was used, was in Mind Games. I only noticed somewhere halfway through the book. With most books the story has to be really compelling for me to get past the use of present tense.
And the cover is actually nice, but it doesn't say zombie and I like my zombie books to scream zombie!