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Monday, November 1, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - book review

Todd Jepperson

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Carrie Ryan) is the story of Mary, a restless young girl in a small village surrounded by fences to keep out the Unconsecrated. I love a good zombie tale, and I've yet to post a bad review of a book, but, this one comes close. Let me follow that one by saying that I'm a dude. I don't think this book was meant for me. The world is pretty cool, although I can't entirely separate it from M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.

While some will complain about the first person narrative, I actually grew to like it. To me, it seemed like I was reading Mary's blog. I think that her emotions were conveyed well, although unrealistically shifty. There are times when Mary can barely move, and her body is all but depleted, then she'll throw a tantrum and it's like she's healthy and well. She runs away from the only living people she knows, she'll have some overbearing emotional experience, and then hop up and run back to the group. It seemed like the only things I felt from her (and often) were desire, and jealousy. I didn't quite believe the love between any of the characters except for Cass and Jacob. Although I'll argue that it fits the narrative style of the story, I didn't dig how the other characters seemed like cardboard cutouts; just names given to toys in Mary’s world.

Although I can't say that this is one of my favorite books, I can't say that It was terrible either. If this same story was 6oo pages, filling in some transitions and character development, it could easily be a 5 star read. At 300 pages, I feel like I only got half of the story.

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