The Forest Of Hands And Teeth
3 journalers for this copy...
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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, 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?
The thing about The Forest of Hands and Teeth is that although the romance is an important aspect of the story, its relevance pales in the wake of all the events in the story. Of the deaths, the flight, the survival. The death that follows the characters at each step. Love serves as a respite from all of this, not the end goal of the story. There's a plot, and there are characters that make you cheer for them even as you want to shake them, tell them 'what are you doing? go back? don't go that way! don't be foolish!'. And in the end, you are left with sadness and a sense of loss, much like Mary does. You finish the book both with a sense of accomplishment and a silent cry. Well, at least I did.
The writing is nicely done, the setting thought out and the characters sufficiently fleshed out for us to feel for them as their journey happens. The characters aren't always likable, which isn't necessarily a negative. It shows they're human. It shows they can be self-centered and idiotic, even in the face of life changing events, much like most of us would be. Mary, the protagonist, is often selfish, thinking of her own needs and having no care, sometimes, for what others want. So much so that sometimes you're not sure whether you're supposed to like her. These needs - to have Travis, to find her dream, to follow Gabrielle's path, to move on outside the first gate - are the catalysts to a lot of events.
It's not perfect, of course. You're left not really understanding a few things, like how the unconsecrated entered the village and killed/turned everyone there, but the six that escaped managed to survive in the other village completely surrounded by zombies for who knows how long. If the village's inhabitants were trained since they were children to fight the zombies, how did the entire village just fall so easily? It didn't seem to even last a day. In order to tell the six survivor's story, the author ignored any other's. A bit too convenient. The whole Return timeline is confusing too and doesn't always make sense. And the ending isn't unsatisfying because it's not really self-contained. You may need to read the next book in the series to find any kind of fulfillment.
If you ignore the possible plot holes, the way the story is written, the sheer desperation of the flight and the survival does make up for it.
Sending to Daelith as part of the Good Fairy relay at Bookobsessed.
Met Daelith at our local used book store
and she gave me a big bag of books to share with
the Mid South BookCrossers...
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