Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

Pages: 308
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 1st July 2009

Other Titles in the Series: The Dead-Tossed Waves (US 09/03/10, UK 08/04/10)

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 by so much death?

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is Carrie Ryan’s bleak debut novel written in stark, beautiful prose.

At first I found this very heavy and hard to read. The disaster after disaster gave The Forest of Hands and Teeth a depressing and hopeless feel to it. The Sisters are creepy, harsh and quite scary in the power that they wield over the residents of the village and the secrets that they keep. I have to admit that I very nearly gave up on it.

But by the time that I got half-way through The Forest of Hands and Teeth I was very glad that I persevered with it. I ended up quite enjoying it. Carrie Ryan’s gorgeous writing was what made me carry on reading and even ended up making me cry. I never imagined that this book would have that effect on me!

Other than the gloomy beginning, I do have a few other complaints. I didn’t really like any of the characters. They were all either selfish, hard or disloyal towards each other and I just couldn’t connect with them properly. We were also launched straight into the story with no explanation or back-story of the Return. I know that Mary herself didn’t know very much about it and so she couldn’t really tell us, but I just felt that it needed it to complete it.

I did enjoy The Forest of Hands and Teeth in the end and I’ll be reading the sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves, next year to how a new heroine deals with life alongside the Unconsecrated.



  1. Fantastic review! I can see why you didnt like it that much, but I think I will still read it.

  2. I don't think this one is for me. If I don't connect with the characters then I find it really hard to read a book. Great honest review.

  3. I really want to read this! Great review!

  4. I didn't really connect with any of the characters either. Plus, I'm a sucker for a love story, and I felt the love triangle in this one fell flat. But I agree the writing is fantastic and I'm interested to see where the story goes.

  5. I love your balanced and honest review. Like you, I am often carried along by lovely writing, even if I'm not really connected to the story and characters.

  6. Awesome review!

    I agree with this book being sort of depressing and the characters hard to relate to. But the writing was marvelous and I am glad I read it :)

  7. Nice review. This sounds so good :)

  8. The characters were definitely flawed, and I didn't connect to them as much as I'd usually prefer, but the story itself totally sucked me in. Can't wait for the sequel!

  9. I agree with your review completely. I stuggled with the characters and how depressing it felt. But, at the same time I read the dang thing in 4 hours so there must have been something I liked!
    I'm looking forward to Dead Tossed Waves to see were the story goes.

  10. Interesting review (and comments, too!) Thank you very much for this!

  11. i felt that mary redeemed herself in interest in personality in the end of the book too. looking forward to the next book as well.
    btw: you've just been awarded

  12. I loved this book, but yes I didn't really identify with the characters.


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