Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Mary lives in a world that is like our own in many ways. It differs, however, in much more dramatic ways. During the Return the human race began to be threatened by the Unconsecrated. As far as Mary knows for sure, her village is contains the last humans in the world and nothing lies beyond the fence but the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Mary isn’t satisfied with her life in the village, though, and clings to her mother’s stories about the world outside their village and the forest, places that seem almost mystical, like the ocean. Longing to leave the village and search for the ocean and other humans, Mary eventually gets her wish – although not for a reason she would have chosen. Now Mary is stuck outside the village on a narrow, fenced in path through the Forest of Hands and Teeth looking for a place to exist unthreatened by the Unconsecrated. Just to make things more complicated, she is accompanied by her fiance Harry, his brother Travis who she loves, and Travis’ fiance (and Mary’s best friend) Cass, as well as her brother and sister-in-law, a dog, and a small boy.
There has been a lot of love going around for “The Forest of Hands and Teeth,” and it really is well-written. The story was interesting, but it just never really grabbed me. For some reason I never really connected with Mary, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. Another reason it may not have really resonated with me is that I read it while in the middle of listening to the audio of Guillermo del Toro’s “The Strain,” which includes zombie-like vampires determined to feast on human flesh and turn their victims. Although the plots of these stories are very different, this similarity may have made me less interested in “The Forest of Hands and Teeth,” since I was already engrossed with “The Strain.” Alternatively, it could be that I couldn’t connect because I was reading while my 2 month old napped, and each time he woke up he was crying, as he’d received 4 shots from the pediatrician earlier that day.
Whatever the cause, this was a good book that just didn’t click for me. I found it entertaining, but didn’t love it.