Monday, March 23, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

By Carrie Ryan.

I've been trying to avoid reviewing books that I don't like, but I dislike this one in such specific ways that I think it might be worth it.

The premise: Mary is in a village surrounded by a fence surrounded by zombies, many years after the so-called Return. Mary does not want to be there but she doesn't realize it yet.

What I liked: Clever naming (Mary and Gabrielle; also Mary's dog Argos). Strong descriptions. The characters also stand out as individuals but I only really liked Gabrielle. At least a mention of both sides of some issues but see below.

What I disliked: Zombies, lack of humor, and, crucially, the main character, Mary. She angsts about marriage and death and who she should marry and whether zombies feel anything and who she loves. Notice anything repetitive about that list? The official position of the village leadership is that marriage is about commitment, not love; Mary says it should be about love and then worries about who she actually loves. (In the end, the answer seems to be "herself.") I don't have a lot of sympathy for her position in that regard, believing that if she started with commitment she would grow into love. Oh, well; at least the other side is mentioned.

As mentioned, there is precious little humor in this book (or I missed it) and there are also zombies. I found them creepy but I don't really enjoy being creeped out so I don't think that's a good thing.

Bottom line? You will probably like this book if you like zombies or possibly post-apocalyptic fiction. I probably won't bother with a sequel, if there is one (the ending is wide open), though.


Martin LaBar said...

I won't touch this one.

Joshua said...

I don't blame you! I picked it up because I'm following the 2009 Debutantes (sort of) and because I saw several extremely favorable reviews.