The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth Series #1)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth Series #1)

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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?

Carrie Ryan lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can visit Carrie at

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307710314
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Series: Forest of Hands and Teeth Series , #1
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

CARRIE RYAN is the New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy that includes The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places, and the original ebook Hare Moon. She has edited the short story anthology Foretold: 14 Stories of Prophecy and Prediction and contributed to many other story collections herself, including Zombies vs. Unicorns, Kiss Me Deadly, and Enthralled. Her work has been translated into over eighteen languages and her first novel is in production as a major motion picture. Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt

My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing toward you and then away. She once showed me a picture that she said was my great-great-great-grandmother standing in the ocean as a child. It has been years since, and the picture was lost to fire long ago, but I remember it, faded and worn. A little girl surrounded by nothingness.

In my mother's stories, passed down from her many-greats-grandmother, the ocean sounded like the wind through the trees and men used to ride the water. Once, when I was older and our village was suffering through a drought, I asked my mother why, if so much water existed, were there years when our own streams ran almost dry? She told me that the ocean was not for drinking—that the water was filled with salt.
That is when I stopped believing her about the ocean. How could there be so much salt in the universe and how could God allow so much water to become useless?

But there are times when I stand at the edge of the Forest of Hands and Teeth and look out at the wilderness that stretches on forever and wonder what it would be like if it were all water. I close my eyes and listen to the wind in the trees and imagine a world of nothing but water closing over my head.

It would be a world without the Unconsecrated, a world without the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Often, my mother stands next to me holding her hand up over her eyes to block the sun and looking out past the fences and into the trees and brush, waiting to see if her husband will come home to her.

She is the only one who believes that he has not turned—that he might come home the same man he was when he left. I gave up on my father months ago and buried the pain of losing him as deeply as possible so that I could continue with my daily life. Now I sometimes fear coming to the edge of the Forest and looking past the fence. I am afraid I will see him there with the others: tattered clothes, sagging skin, the horrible pleading moan and the fingers scraped raw from pulling at the metal fences.

That no one has seen him gives my mother hope. At night she prays to God that he has found some sort of enclave similar to our village. That somewhere in the dense Forest he has found safety. But no one else has any hope. The Sisters tell us that ours is the only village left in the world.

My brother Jed has taken to volunteering extra shifts for the Guardian patrols that monitor the fence line. I know that, like me, he thinks our father is lost to the Unconsecrated and that he hopes to find him during the patrol of the perimeter and kill him before our mother sees what her husband has become.

People in our village have gone mad from seeing their loved ones as Unconsecrated. It was a woman—a mother—horrified at the sight of her son infected during a patrol, who set herself on fire and burned half of our town. That was the fire that destroyed my family's heirlooms when I was a child, that obliterated our only ties to who we were as a people before the Return, though most were so corroded by then that they left only wisps of memories.

Jed and I watch our mother closely now and we never allow her to approach the fence line unaccompanied. At times  Jed's wife Beth used to join us on these vigils until she was sent to bed rest with her first child. Now it is just us.

And then one day Beth's brother catches up with me while I am dunking our laundry in the stream that branches off the big river. For as long as I can remember Harold has been a friend of mine, one of the few in the village my age. He trades me a handful of wildflowers for my sopping sheets and we sit and watch the water flow over the rocks as he twists the sheets in complicated patterns to dry them out.

"How is your mother?" he asks me, because he is nothing if not polite.

I duck my head and wash my hands in the water. I know I should be getting back to her, that I have already taken too much time for myself today and that she is probably pacing, waiting for me. Jed is off on a long-term patrol of the perimeter, checking the strength of the fences, and my mother likes to spend her afternoons near the Forest looking for my father. I need to be there to comfort her just in case. To hold her back from the fences if she finds him. "She's still holding out hope," I say.

Harry clucks his tongue in sympathy. We both know there is little hope.

His hands seek out and cover mine under the water. I have known this was coming for months. I have seen the way he looks at me now, how his eyes have changed. How tension has crept into our friendship. We are no longer children and haven't been for years.

"Mary, I_._._." He pauses for a second. "I was hoping that you would go with me to the Harvest Celebration next weekend."

I look down at our hands in the water. I can feel my fingertips wrinkling in the cold and his skin feels soft and fleshy. I consider his offer. The Harvest Celebration is the time in the fall when those of marrying age declare themselves to one another. It is the beginning of the courtship, the time during the short winter days when the couple determines whether they will make a suitable match. Almost always the courtship will end in spring with Brethlaw—the weeklong celebration of wedding vows and christenings. It's very rare that a courtship fails. Marriage in our village is not about love—it is about commitment.

Every year I wonder at the couples pairing up around me. At how my former childhood friends suddenly find partners, bond, prepare for the next step. Pledge themselves to one another and begin their courtships. I always assumed the same would happen to me when my time approached. That because of the sickness that wiped out so many of my peers when I was a child, it would be even more important that those of us of marrying age find a mate. So important that there wouldn't be enough girls to spare for a life with the Sisterhood.

I even hoped that perhaps I would be lucky enough to find more than just a mate, to eventually find love like my mother and father.

And yet, even though I have been one of the few eligible during the past two years, I've been left aside.

I have spent the last weeks dealing with my father's absence beyond the fences. Dealing with my mother's despair and desolation. With my own grief and mourning. Until this moment it hasn't occurred to me that I might be the last one asked to the Harvest Celebration. Or that I might be left unclaimed.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Forest of Hands and Teeth Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 795 reviews.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Mary's life has always been simple: protect your family, follow the Sisterhood, and stay away from the Unconsecrated in the Forest of Hands and Teeth. This is the only life she's ever known: a village surrounded by fences with the large Cathedral dominating every day life. But Mary's mother always told her stories of the ocean and Mary is sure there must be something outside of their tiny village. After the fence is unexpectedly breached and the town is overrun with Unconsecrated, Mary flees with her brother and his wife and her childhood friends Cass, Harry and Travis through a series of gates without any clue as to where they will lead. Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed Carrie Ryan's writing style: it is filled with beautiful descriptions (including a lovely title) and has a wonderful ebb and flow of action. I also thought her world building was pretty solid and full of interesting ideas - the whole idea of how the village establishes its own customs and religious ideals intrigues me. That said, I could not stand the character of Mary - or really any of the others for that matter. She seemed selfish, immature and seemingly incapable of the love the author keeps telling you she possesses. None of the characters were developed adequately for my tastes and consequently I never understood why she loved Travis so much or why others were drawn to her. Over and over again everyone asks Mary what will make her happy - I got so sick of that question by the end. Mostly because Mary proved time and again that whatever she felt like would make her happy would occur no matter the cost to anyone else. Yuck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are some writers who use violence to communicate powerful messages about society. A prominent example of violence and gore done right can be found in books like The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Flies, and the short stories of Kelly Link. The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, however, roots itself in gratuitous gore and endless (bordering on obnoxious) violence. This story could have been better communicated, I think, in the form of a looming threat, or presence, than in chapters littered with beheadings. Fortunately, none of the characters were so interesting I minded when they got sacked. Mary's endless yammering about the ocean was also a little bit too contrived for me. Also, Mary is so self-centered I'm not sure how she convinces anyone to go along with her plan to see the ocean. The end of this book is unsatisfying as well, not because it's an unhappy ending (though, to be sure, this is quite an unhappy ending) but because it was so predictable. If you've seen M. Night Shymalan's The Village, and pretty much any zombie movie ever made, then this book will feel redundant. Themes like love, longing, coming of age, etc., are lost in an ocean of salivating zombies. Excuse me, in an ocean of the "unconsecrated". As a middle school girl (and even a high school girl), the imagery in this book would have given me nightmares. I like it when a book leaves me awake at night thinking about characters and themes. This one leaves you awake at night because it was so violent for no real reason. This was a major let down for me. The one positive I found is that, at times, Carrie Ryan's voice felt unique. I won't be reading any more of her novels in regards to this series, but I would be willing to try other books written by her in the future. However, I wish I'd known more about it before I bought it, as it was a waste of money for me. I would recommend borrowing this book before you buy it. I would definitely not recommend it for younger readers (sometimes I see this book marketed as "a love story". Trust me when I say any semblance of romance is secondary to mass amounts of gore and whiny characters.)
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Mary lives in a village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

The Unconsecrated fill the forest, moaning, trying to get into the village, to devour and make more of their own by a single bite, which will spread the infection. They don't give up. They want to feed.

The Sisterhood holds the secrets of the village, from before the Return. No one knows the truth, except them.

The Guardians protect the village, and make sure the fence holds back the Unconsecrated. The fence is the only barrier between the village and the Forest.

But then, once Mary is forced into the Sisterhood, she learns things that she wishes she hadn't. There is the one section of the fence, which is forbidden; but, it leads somewhere... Mary knows it. But where does it lead?

Mary must choose between her village and what may or may not exist beyond that one gate.

I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked as soon as I started. Mary was a great character. She was strong, and always wanted more than what she had. She kind of reminded me of myself (only a little, though!).

The only thing I didn't like in the story was the ending, only because I wanted to know more! It left me hanging a little, so I don't really know what will happen to Mary.

When THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH comes out in March 2009, I recommend it to everyone. You'll enjoy it. I hope Carrie Ryan writes more books, too - her writing was amazing!
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
This book is told from the perspective of Mary, a young woman growing up in a small, isolated village surrounded by a fence that keeps the unrelenting zombies out. But they are not called zombies in this book (in fact the word zombie never mentioned), but rather the Unconsecrated. Trust me, they are true zombies. They eat flesh and babies and everything. Anyway, Mary grows up believing that her village, run by the dubious Sisterhood that claims that their little pocket of humanity amidst the formidible forest is the last of mankind. Mary, of course, questions this and is not content with her future as a member of the Sisterhood or married to man she doesn't love. Instead, she dreams of the ocean and the other stories her mother used to tell her of generations long gone. From the first chapter, Mary's life is turned upside down. Her father walks among the dead, and her mother goes to join him. She is turned away by her brother and is sent to live in the Cathedral with the Sisterhood, which has well-kept secrets in every room. This book is very well-written. Fluid and suspenseful, I had a hard time putting it down. While it did have some zombie-slaying action, it wasn't the focus of the book. Instead what kept me going was the sense of mystery and doom. Nothing good ever happens to Mary and the questions just kept coming with little-to-none answers. Mary was an unreliable narrator and a little crazy. All what the reader sees is first filtered through her eyes. She selfishly clung on to her dream of the ocean and refused to settle for anything less, even when it cost her the people she cared about. But hey, she is still one of the few chracters alive at the end, and the only one with a chance at a life, so she must have been doing something right. The rest of the characters wouldv'e gotten eaten long ago if Mary wasn't there to drive them. This book is severely creepy, what with zombies relentlessly moaning in the background. I got skeeved out in a couple scenes (zombie baby). Like I said earlier, nothing good really happens at all. This book isn't for the faint at heart as it can be somewhat depressing. But I still found it intelligent and refreshing. It's so nice to read a young adult novel without a saintly narrator and a perfectly happy ending. My least favorite part of it though was the love triangle? rectangle? I don't know what to call it. But the gist of it is Mary is in love with Travis. Travis is in love with Mary, but is engaged to Mary's best friend, Cass. Cass is in love with Harry, but Harry is engaged to Mary. Harry likes Mary, but I wouldn't call it love. I think he just wants a wife. Oh, and Travis and Harry are brothers. It's just a mess of duty and love. No one wants to marry who they are supposed to, but feel like they have a duty to do so. So, its complicated without ever being really interesting. I never really saw what was so great about Travis. Mary nursed him and her previous crush on him turned into full out love (or so she says). This might sound weird, but I could never tell when they were kissing or not. The scenes between them were written oddly, and I kept thinking they were kissing, but later on in the page I was proved wrong. Their lips were just really close together and they were almost kissing. My bad. Anyway, despite some personal preferences and little annoyances, this book was really good. Not for everyone, but I recommend everyone try it. Looking forward to The Dead-Tossed Waves
slimikin More than 1 year ago
Rather than discovering a world torn apart by zombies, I was treated to a first class tour of Mary's neuroses. She's afraid! She's lonely! She hates herself! She hates everyone else! She loves Travis! If only she could have Travis! But Travis isn't enough! And always, harping in the background of every other page is her talisman for escape, The Ocean! The Ocean! The Ocean! The more emotional Mary got, the less I cared about her. And when she felt burdened by her own hope? I'm sorry, but *why* am I reading this? Mary doesn't learn anything about herself or the world that she didn't at least suspect at the start of the book. And all the interesting aspects of her world---the Sisterhood, the fences, the nature of the Unconsecrated, even the concept of community---were passed over in favor of the mire of Mary's angst.
dholland08 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of young adult dystopian novels. I've read a lot of them, and I was excited to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth because I heard it was a good one. Unfortunately, I was in for a surprise. I found this novel to be boring and lacking in realistic character development. Moreover, the writing style just didn't speak to me. The premise of this book is that the apocolypse already happened on Earth and it was brought about by the creation of zombies. Mary lives in a village that holds the last of humankind. The village is protected from the Forest of Hands and Teeth by a fence that the Gaurdians- selected men of the village- maintain. The Forest is where the zombies reside and are trying to come in from, and it is all that's left of the outside world. Mary comes to realize that the fence not only effectively keeps out the the zombies but traps everyone in her village in a limited world. When she becomes an apprentice to the Sisterhood- the group of women who run the village- she finds out that these women keep secrets and there's more to the outside world than she's been led to believe. I read two-thirds of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and I confess to skimming the rest. The story developed painfully slowly and by the time things started to happen I wasn't invested. Mary was a heroine who annoyed me. During perilious situations with life or death consequences she was constantly whining in her narration about her romantic problems. She proved herself to be selfish again and again, only caring about what would make her happy and disregarding others' feelings. The love triangle present in the story took up too much time in this book that was supposedly a postapocalyptic tale and the romance was emphasized more than the dangers of the flesh eating zombies. If you're looking for a good futuristic story, skip this one. I would recommend Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games Trilogy or Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.
AnaMardoll More than 1 year ago
The Forest of Hands and Teeth / 978-0-375-89197-7 I really like zombie literature, and I was really excited to pick up this novel. I was intrigued when one reviewer compared the setting to a combination of "The Village" and "Resident Evil", so I was prepared to like this book when I settled in with the audio book and the e-book, ready to follow along. Two hundred and thirty-three pages later, I'm at a loss. I guess I'm not the right audience for this book, despite how strongly I was hooked by the premise; I'm not sure who IS the right audience for this book, but it puts me in mind of all the "paranormal romance" books that the " The Twilight Saga" has spawned. Against all odds, this book is a terribly slow starter. Unlike other recent "teen" novels, like "The Hunger Games", very little happens in the first 100 pages outside of world building and character establishment. Both show initial promise but ultimately bear rough edges - the zombie premise contains major gaps (like why a village with safety-platforms would fail to keep said platforms stocked with food and weapons and other necessities - this ultimately becomes a major plot point, in fact), and the characterization feels shallow to the point where most of the characters seem like unrealistic stereotypes of teenage angst. When the general zombie mayhem that was promised on the back of the box does finally occur, it's almost on sufferance - *any* sense of adventure and danger is immediately quaffed to make room for more love-quadrangle discussions. The plot of this book is basically Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", but instead of fairies propelling the action forward, a zombie very occasionally pops up to say 'boo'. And this is, fundamentally, very disappointing to me - there's lots of novels out there that center around the complications of teen romance, even under a variety of unusual, difficult, and/or post-apocalyptic conditions, so adding this one as one more tween romance on the pile feels disappointing, and a criminal waste of a good premise. Wishing no disrespect to the author, a lot of the writing feels very amateur - the main character's running narration repeats itself frequently, and the same relatively minor details crop up repeatedly across the chapters. When reading along with the audio book, I kept finding myself saying, "You just said that, two pages ago!", and it makes the already slow, dreamy pace feel like a crawl. When the zombies *do* occasionally force themselves into the action, it's almost a relief, because then the main characters can stop arguing incessantly over their romance problems. A final word about the audio book - it feels like the narrator herself found this book deathly dull, as the audio just seems to plod along without much in the way of animation or inflections. The narrator does a nice accent for the character of Sister Tabitha, but everyone else has the same monotonous tone, with no emotional inflections, and even the breathing and pausing seemed a little 'off'. If you like paranormal or post-apocalyptic teen romances, then I think you may really enjoy this book - it's an interesting premise, to be sure. But if you came for the zombie mayhem or for the post-apocalyptic world building, I think you'll be disappointed and may do better to look elsewhere. ~ Ana Mardoll
tomtw More than 1 year ago
The characters in this story are completely stereotypical. The handsome boy that the female lead falls for, the childhood friend who secretly loves the female lead and the weak willed best friend who will end up betraying her best friend becuase she is driven mad by jealously. The chracters in this book made me sick the female lead repeatedly made the stupidest decisions for love and refused to see logic in anything and was way to emotionally attached to trivial things. The author tried to instill emotional depth into the story but it feels forced especially after she continues to kill off one chracter after another in basically the same way each time. The author also tried to make a strong independent female lead but she failed miserably. She is horribly indesicive and oftentimes is unable to do anything without being strengthend by the love that she feels for Travis, a love that make basically no sense as they dont even talk to each other for most of the book. Oh wait that's supposed to be true instantaneous love that has no explanation and makes no sense. All in all decent story but the characters were atrocious and what was supposed to be a emotionally driven story was weak and uninteresting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading. Books like The Giver,Divergent, and Maximum Ride all, in my opinion, are wonderfully constructed and are high up there on my list. So now you can see that im not a book critic or some crazy lunitac just looking to release my anger by hating on a random book. But this book is extremely bad. I read the summary on the back cover and was instantly filled with thoughts of an exciting adventurous book with a tinge of romance. WRONG. What i got instead was indead a great plot, but it had fallen into the hands.of the wrong author who twisted the.story, ruined the characters, and turned the whole thing into a underdeceloped childrens story. Mary, the maim character, falls in love with-ugh i dont even know where to start. The author tried too hard to make an interesting love triangle with mary, where in reality mary would not have any friends. Her only dream is to see the ocean, and she goes to terrifying, mind bending lengths to pursue it. By this i mean she kills off the love of her life, her loving mom, and her only brother. I mean seriously, by the time she reaches the "ocean" (filled with throngs of the undead and severed heads) she has no one. Guess shell just make sand castles by herselves while the unconsecrated eat her flesh. Anyway im not going to bore everyone to death rambling on and on about why this book should not be read. So take it imto your own hands whether you want to read it. And if you do, well, good luck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book constantly contridicts itself, gives off no emotion and does not have good character development. Mary is not a likeable character at all and causes destruction chasing her selfish wants. The author also has a tendancy to not give details in some parts and give too many in others. For example, her brother is described in great detail spitting on the ground, while she describes months in no detail in one sentance. Also, some parts of the story make you wonder why they even happened. For example, the main character walks into a house sees an unconsecrated (zombie) baby, cradles it and wraps it in a blanket, and then throws it out the window. Whhhhyyyyy??!?!? To make it worse, the romance it completely unexplained and has no reason behind it whatsoever. Overall, there are a bunch of events in the book that don't lead up to the ending at all. I understand that there are other books after it, but nothing was acheived the entire book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a good book but it seemed a little slow at times. It also reminded me of "The Village" in many ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok, this book was very very scary. It gave me nightmeres, once i read about seven chapters one night. But besides the scary part it was a wonderful postapocolyptic book and anyone who likes to read sci fi would love it. But honestly i felt so bad for mary. She had to marry in her teen years and the guy who wanted her was a guy that she did not like back, they are at a lake of some sort and harry just keeps stalling and stalling her when she finally goes back to town she finds out her mother was bitten and infected by the uncosecrated and she was dying, surrounding this sad little village is a gate and beyond that gate is the forest of hands and teeth and many mysteries and possibly an ocean that mary feels as thogh she must find it, many more scary and depressing things happen so please read it unless u r scared of having nightmeres
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! I dont really like "zombie" books ( love zombie movies) but this one (all 4) have horror but also love and family. Everyone should read!
Lindsee Clark More than 1 year ago
This book was just amazing! From beginning to end you want more more more. I love this!!!!!
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
The Forest of Hands and Teeth lies at the edge of the Village that Mary has lived in her whole life. Surrounded by fence, trees, and the Unconsecrated has forced Mary into a lifetime of fear lingering under the surface of every emotion she has ever felt. After her Mother is turned, Mary's life takes a turn she never imagined and she begins to learn the secrets of the Sisterhood and just what lies beyond the Forest. Carrie Ryan has this astounding ability to write about zombies, but to do so in a beautifully haunting way. Nothing about this book is quite as it seems and I was instantly pulled into Mary's world of fear and despair. It is so much more than just a zombie story. It's a story about hope and faith and love and loss. Ryan writes with such fervor that Mary's journey past the fences feels so real, like the reader is stumbling along with her, hearing the moans of the Unconsecrated and feeling the hope seep out as the days carry on. The fact that this story is so strongly about staying true to oneself, breaking free from the expectations of a devoutly religious society, finding and holding on to love and family, while holding zombies at bay by the fences, is incredible. Not many people would be able to include so many pieces of a puzzle and fit them together so flawlessly, but Ryan does. I was entirely unprepared for the depth and emotion that poured forth from the pages of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. At times haunting, at times terrifying, but above all else, this book is filled with life; in good times, bad times, times of joy, times of despair, and times when hope triumphs over even the worst circumstances. Opening line: My mother used to tell me about the ocean. ~ pg. 1 Favorite line(s): I sob because this is not a life. This is not the way life should be and because I don't know how to fix any of it. ~ pg. 50 And this one: It is a bright clear day, the sun sparkling off the ice crystals. One of those days when you can't understand why there is such beauty in a world that is nothing but ugly. ~ pg. 69
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first read this book, I had no idea that it would be about a zombie apocalypse. I absolutely loved the characters and the story. I loved how even though the book was basically a horror movie in a book format, it added some romance as well. I couldn't wait to read the companion. I absolutely loved this book, loved it. After I picked it up, I ripped through the pages. It was beautifully written and I would love to see more from Carrie Ryan. I think it was brilliant to write about a topic that really draws attention to most teenagers, like myself. I wouldn't recommend this book to people who aren't great with gore. Even though you can't see it, Carrie Ryan does an amazing job to make it seem so real. I would definitely reread this book and I highly recommend reading it too.
shellbee21 More than 1 year ago
I really did like this book even though I'm not so into the whole zombie thing. I really like how Mary wanted to find out what was beyong her little village for a better life. This book had me on edge and shocked throughout it. I felt Mary's pain and heartbreak and such. I definitely recommend this book to anybody who likes action books.
kar94 More than 1 year ago
I understand why most people would not like this book, they are too used to happy endings, I am not going to go into detail but just from the first chapter you could tell this wasnn't going to have a fairy tale ending. While reading this I found that Mary had a tendecy to go over the sames things over and over, an example is the ocean in almost every chapter she always said something about it. I undestand why, it being one of the few hopes and dreams she has left. I admire Carrie Ryan for writing this book for the simple fact that she wasn't afraid of killing of characters like most authors are. She wasn't afraid about wether or not people would understand the neccesity of making this the dark book it was. This is a excellent and fast read I read it all in a day. I loved that even though her world was turned upside down Mary still had a tiny bit of hope. Again excellent book, if you are not into books that don't have happy endings I don't recommend it.
MsOrange78 More than 1 year ago
I walked into the book store and just happen to come across this book. The reason I picked it up because it was an autographed copy and I have never owned an autographed copy of a book. So after deliberating for all of 5 minutes, I decided to go for it and buy it. Man, am I glad I did! I had been in a rut.. the past 3 books I've read were only so so books. This one was great! The story line is intriguing (kind of has a "I am Legend" and "Village" feel to it but with it's own twist), the love story is great, and the sacrifice made by the heroine is real. That's what I like most about this book; the sacrifices by the characters are so real. You really start to feel the characters pain. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that there is not much dialogue. It's almost all first person narrative with little dialogue, so you do not get to know much about the other characters. Plus, I just love dialogue, so I missed that at times during this book. But that is not near enough to keep me from recommending it, especially to all my urban fantasy fan friends. I'm really happy that this book is now part of my library! Another plus, is that Carrie Ryan says on her website that there will be more "Forest of Hands" books ocming in 2010.... but don't worry, this isn't necessairly a cliff hanger ending (i say that cause if you're like me, I am too impatient to walk into the middle of a series and have to wait the year between books for them to be published, so I try to avoid them as much as possible).
The-Ravenous-Reader More than 1 year ago
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

Mary was raised with these edicts, it was her life, the law to survive. To question it was unthinkable considering what lay waiting on the other side of the fence. The constant moaning and cries of the unconsecrated that surround her village borders are relentless and the sisterhood never lets anyone forget.

The sisterhood in the village rule over everyone, their belief in constant prayer and rituals to keep the villagers safe are never questioned, but Mary does. Her mother had always told her about the ocean, and Mary holds on to this dream, despite everything.Those close to her believe her crazy to entertain such thoughts, but Mary always felt that it existed beyond the forest of hands and teeth. It is this belief that drives her when cataclysmic events brought on by a stranger forever change her "protected" village.

Mary's fragile world begins to unravel as she realizes that the sisterhood has been keeping secrets, and the village walls are breached and Mary has to make some choices. Does she stay in they only world she knows? or does she follow her heart and explore the dangerous world beyond her destroyed village? Mary is not alone, with her are a few survivors including the one that she loves and the one that she is betrothed to, thus causing her to question how much she will sacrifice to follow her dreams. Mary's strength and conviction are what push her and the survivors forward into unknown territories and at times they resent her actions and consider her selfish, but at the same time they admire her tenacity. The characters in this novel experience a terror filled situation that Carrie Ryan has written so wonderfully that in the end you have a hauntingly beautiful story that stays with you long after the pages have been read.

I must admit that I am not a fan of the "zombie". Honestly they freak me out, but this book only had me wanting more...brains?, more book. Maybe, because you read this entire novel about zombies without ever seeing the word mentioned, or the fact that Carrie Ryan wrote an amazing post apocalyptic story so well that you could actually feel those cold fingers reaching for you beyond the other side of the fence. SHUDDER!
Anonymous 6 months ago
I read this book in high school eight years ago, and remember loving it. I decided to read it again, and as an adult I was able to see things in a different perspective. I will definitely be reading the whole trilogy again, and maybe a third time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
annethie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
finally finished. someone else who read this said they got to the end and said "so what?" I think it works as a post-apocalyptic novel, only the disaster that ended this world was the coming of the zombies. LIked it overall, ends hopefully with main character finding other survivors, kept me reading. Will it be a movie?
mjscott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Started out great with mysteries, what the Sisters knew. Devolved into constant histrionics on the part of the main character. Her mother dies! She can't have the man she loves! She does everything but rend her clothes in response. At one point she does rip the sheets. And people die trying to save her because she's selfish and stubborn. Really irritating. Too much plodding through the woods, not enough characters and mysteries are just dropped. Unless the others in the series are much better I won't be reading them.
chaoticbooklover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not really happy about this book at all. It took me longer to read than any book I've picked up this month. I even stopped reading it and started another book. I love to read books about zombies, vampires, and werewolves. But as a zombie book this really leaves something to be desired. I couldn't follow along half the time and truly this book lacked any sort of appeal until the last 20 pages or so.