The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan |Book Review


Genre: YA, Dystopian, Zombies

“I realize that sometimes death comes before you expect it. That while we are rarely prepared for our friends, family and loved ones to die, we are never prepared for our own deaths. Never prepared to reconcile our own regrets.”
– Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth (companion series)

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?[Goodreads]


When I first read the synopsis for this book it made me think of the movie The Village with zombies. In a way I do believe that the book delivered that sort of feel. Just when I think of zombies I want like attacks and fighting and blood. Not saying that it wasn’t present in the story because it was, but the book took a turn that I was not expecting and did not greatly enjoy. I feel like I should really say this now, I did think it was an okay book, but I  believe that it is an interesting and intriguing read that is worth a read. Its just there were problems that I had with it that really frustrated me and became really annoying, but I do have the next book and plan on reading it.

Mary lives in the woods in a village surrounded by a fence and a forest referred to as the Forest of Hands and Teeth because right outside the fence the village is surrounded by the unconsecrated (zombies). Mary’s village is trying to regrow its population, live their lives and keep safe from those living dead right outside the gates. There are really interesting aspects of religion that are part of life in the village and are also backing the leaders of the village, The Sisterhood. I believe that Ryan put an interesting twist on the zombie apocalypse and took an intriguing stance on the way of life and the impact/ influence of zombies in the story. Right away you know there are secrets that are being kept from the village and hiding the truth about what is past the forest. There is a strange beautiful way about Ryan’s writing and the way she conveys the truth about love and finding love in comparison to the desires and life of the zombies. It is odd to say that there was a beautiful and moving quality in the writing of a book about zombies.

There were some parts of the book/story that really annoyed me and changed my feelings toward the overall story. I was really turned off from Mary’s character. In the wake of everything that was happening to their lives and the village she was so selfish and self-centered. At times it seemed so repetitive because it kept coming back to how she was feeling and basically seemed like everyone was out to get her and she could never be happy. I got really annoyed with Mary and felt that all the time spent on her and her love issues took away from the fact that they were dealing with zombies trying to kill them. There was no growth in Mary’s character even up to the ending. Let’s not even get me started on the ending. I wanted to throw my book against the wall. Mary was just not a great character for me and I felt like all the time focused on her took away from the other characters in the book.

Overall this was a unique story that somehow managed to weave love in a zombie story without it being a love story. I thought there were many beautiful moments that really drove the characters to think and reflect on life, love and relationships. I do wish there was more action, survival aspects and fighting zombies etc. There was quite a bit in the book, but I felt like too much time was spent on Mary and her whole “woe is me” attitude and lack of emotions to the whole situation that is happening. The story is gripping and you want to know the fate of the characters. The book is frustrating at times and throws out some shocking twists. I absolutely hated the ending, but maybe thats just me. I do recommend this book to those who want an interesting zombie story that is not too much gore or horror that provides aspects of love and religion. I am really interesting to see what other people think about this book and how they feel at the end!



3 thoughts on “The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan |Book Review

  1. I felt exactly the same way when I read this! Mary frustrated me to no end!!! Unlike you, though, I have no intentions of reading the other books.


  2. I’ll be interested to see what you think of the next book. Maybe I’ll change my mind 😉


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