Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Audiobook) by Carrie Ryan

There's nothing like a good bout of rage to get you out of your blogging slump. Not that I'm ready to go on a rampage or anything, but I think if I were reading this book as opposed to listening to it on my iPod I would have chucked this book as hard as I could against the wall at the end.

Let me preface.
So, there's Mary. A fairly blah protagonist who lives in a village which is weirdly pretty much the same as the village in the movie "The Village", sans porcupine monsters and Adrian Brody. Also, there are zombies. And a love triangle. Or square, I guess. Anyway, Mary's life has been devastated by The Unconsecrated (zombies); her parents are gone, her brother is distracted and her marriage prospects are Complicated. So she lives with The Sisterhood - like freaky governing nuns with Secrets. A stranger appears from the woods one day, which is kept under wraps but Mary discovers this by accident. Oops. Because supposedly there is nothing out there in those woods except more flesh eating Unconsecrated.

Smells like Dirty Secrets . . .

At first I was feeling it. I'm probably one of the 6 people who actually really liked the movie "The Village" and I am always intrigued by a good zombie flick. I was enjoying the Suspense and Mystery and True Creepiness, and we all know I love me a good love triangle. The narrator bugged me a little because she's monotone, but I get the feeling that Mary would be too since she just so bllecchhh. So it was all okay.

And then I got to the middle.

Mary was becoming more and more obnoxious, what with the Unrequited Love Despair and Obsession With The Ocean. The zombie attacks were becoming depressing, and then . . . then it became REALLY DEPRESSINGER. Seriously. Imagine a night where you do nothing but sit around in your grubby sweats and eat chips and ice cream alone while listening to Dashboard Confessional and then puting in Tristan & Isolde because no one has called or texted you all day and you just continue to feel crappier as the night goes on, and that would be kind of cheery compared to this. Okay I feel myself starting to get worked up -

**Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert**

so you better stop now if you want to read this.

Mary becomes more and more hooked on the idea that such a thing as an ocean exists, and since her village is destroyed by The Unconsecrated, she takes her merry band of Love Square and Jaded Brother into the woods, which pretty much dooms them all. The whole first part of the book Mary's all, Woe-is-me-because-my-true-love-is-marrying-my-best-friend - but THEN when she and Travis are trapped for a few weeks in a tree house she's like, I have to ponder on the great mysteries of what lies beyond the woods. And I'm like, Okay but you've got a wonderful loyal boy with you whom you should probably talk to sometimes because he just keeps sacrificing things for you, and you also love him and have ached for him for the first half of this book, remember? And she's like, Ya I love him and I like playing house but we have to leave the tree at some point. And I'm like, True. And she's like, But I think I'll choose the ocean before Travis. And I'm like, WHAT?! WHY?! Because The Ocean can cook for you? and massage you? and protect you and make you laugh and be a good companion AND GIVE THEIR EFFING LIFE BECAUSE YOU ARE A STUPID SELFISH MORON?!?! AARRGGHHHHH!

(taking some deep breaths)
**Spoilers Over**

Okay. Obviously, I don't like things turn out in this book. I feel a bit betrayed because YA, while often graphic and sad and dark, is usually more hopeful than this depressing monstrosity. In all fairness though I need to put it out there that Carrie Ryan has written this very well. The story is gripping, and while not always fast-paced, it's always intriguing. The Love Square feels heart-wrenching sometimes, and is always Unjust/Unfair/Frustrating. (Personally, I like Love Triangles because there is always a loser. And while you can argue that everyone loses because they're ridiculous and overly-dramatic and all parties involved retain emotional baggage, there is always one person who walks away with nothing but TWO who walk away with each other. Not so here. In this Forest EVERYONE loses.)

The characters, while nothing out of the ordinary, are interesting and sympathetic enough. EXCEPT MARY. Ugh. I wish she had died in the end. I think I would have liked that better. I know the next book, The Dead Tossed Waves, is about her daughter but I just have no intention of going there because I actually like my life.

2.5 mangled zombie bodies because I wanted to slit my wrists at the end.

Book source: Local library.


  1. I hate to say this, but this book review was so good, i actually want to read that book.
    also, i want to go to dinner or lunch with you. i will call you today.

  2. omg. i am so glad i stumbled across this review. i feel about the same as you...possibly even a bit more repulsed with this book. completely agree with your assessment of mary. i have seldom stumbled across a narrator who is so (simultaneously) selfish, flawed, boring, and un-complex. the suspense was the only thing this book had going for it. if you're interested, you can read my review here:

  3. hi again. just reread this review and almost choked on my coffee. "2.5 mangled zombie bodies because I wanted to slit my wrists at the end." brilliant.

    stopping by to tell you i am passing on the versatile blogger award to here:

    ps: you need to update your blog soon...i need a good dose of snark.