mhartford, April 14, 2009 (view all comments by mhartford)
What makes “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” so interesting is that it is as much about the roiling emotions of a young woman as it is about the horde of “Unconsecrated” zombies prowling the forest beyond the village’s protective fence. Mary lives in a severely constricted society, a village that has been cut off for generations from the outside world by the Unconsecrated; her options in life are to marry and help to rebuild the human race; live as a low-caste guest in her brother’s household; or join the Sisterhood, the mysterious religious organization that maintains the village culture and hides the history of the world before the Return.
The novel is told in a first-person present voice, lending urgency to the action and giving us a great deal of insight into Mary. Interestingly, she is not a particularly sympathetic character; she’s jealous, selfish, and short-sighted, not unlike teens who aren’t harried by zombies every day. But she’s likable, full of curiosity and passion. The other characters, unfortunately, aren’t as well-rounded; Travis is just a little bit too good, Cass just a little too fickle, Harry more a plot device than a person. Sister Tabitha, a sort of mother superior in the Sisterhood, comes close to being as nuanced as Mary, but in the end she serves the plot more than her own character. Still, this may not be an inappropriate portrayal for a novel narrated by a teenage girl; Mary exhibits the solipsism of youth, and no doubt fails to see much of the complexity around her.
This seems like a good novel to give a young adult. It has an ethical core but it doesn’tpreach, it explores the real concerns of young adults, and it moves quickly. I may not especially want Mary on my team in the face of a zombie crisis, but she was certainly a compelling person to tell this tale.
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brittani, November 20, 2008 (view all comments by brittani)
I was able to find an ARC of this book, I must say it is simply breathtaking. Once I read the first paragraph, I was hooked. This book is so full of emotion and passion, that it truly tucks on your heart. I couldn't help but became totally emotional while reading this. It reminded me alot of Libba Bray's "Gemma Doyle Trilogy". I highly, highly recommend this book. It is amazing, you won't be disappointed.
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Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers -
Mary lives in a small village governed by the religious Sisterhood and bordered with a fence to keep out the Unconsecrated — a horde of the undead. 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.
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
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