Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Recommendation- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In The Forest of Hands and Teeth a post-apocalyptic tale by Carrie Ryan , an unexplained contagion occurring generations before has left a village isolated and surrounded by zombie victims, called the "Unconsecrated." Mary is a teenage girl looking for true love within, and a world outside, the restrictive laws of her society. Her life changes dramatically when her mother becomes infected after leaving the village to look for Mary’s father.

Cast out by her brother, Jed, who blames her for what happened, Mary is left no choice but to live with the Sisterhood, a religious order that controls the village. Sister Tabitha runs the Sisterhood, and appears determined to “break” Mary of her curiosity. The arrival and imprisonment of a girl from outside the village shows Mary the Sisterhood’s true intentions. When the village fences are breached by Unconsecrated, Mary and those closest to her flee through a series of previously unknown gated paths, desperate to survive. Where they wind up and who makes it is anyone’s guess.

Mary's desire for self-determination comes off as selfishness, and makes her a less sympathetic character than I would like. The love quadrangle between Mary, Travis, Travis’ brother Harry, and Mary’s best friend Cass, might turn off those looking for a straight-up zombie fix. But any story whose author is willing to let bad things happen to good people provides just the suspense needed to keep a reader on his or her toes, dying (pardon the pun) to know the outcome.

The sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth is The Dead-Tossed Waves. The third installment, The Dark and Hollow Places, is due out Spring 2011.

-Reviewed by Debra B. at CCL

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