Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

First Impressions.

I am so happy that I had to re-read this book for our Mock Printz. My first impressions were not all that favorable. I disliked the lack of information about exactly what the sisterhood is up to, I disliked the love triangle, I disliked the fact that they didn’t just have zombie head chopping missions (because why wouldn’t you???). So let me say it again. I am really, really, really happy I read this again. I liked it so much more than the first time.

Yes, I still had issues with the Sisterhood. I think more answers of what the Sisters were up to – obviously bad bad things - would have fleshed out Mary’s village and their particular culture more and added to the horror. Later in the story we visit another village, the contrast between the two is apparent. Where Mary’s village seemed to don dull clothing, this one had bright and decorative outfits. The sisterhood ruled every aspect of Mary’s village, in this new one they are conspicuously absent. The meaning of this would have been more dramatic had we learned more about the Sisterhood. So yes, I think answers are needed, but I’m willing to concede that they will be just as (or almost as) satisfactory when these revelations are divulged in the second book (notice I said “when” not “if”. Ever the optimist haha).

I did find Mary just as difficult to like the second time around. I love you, no I love you, no I thought I loved you but I didn’t but now I do, bored now, look at him over in that tree house, actually no back to you… Honestly, Mary is never satisfied. So no, she’s not the most likeable or sympathetic heroine, but I’m no longer wishing her death by zombie. In fact, I’m excited to see the next part of her journey. Does she go back to the forest to rescue her friends? Does she go back to the village to rescue the book? Are the zombie hordes going to invade her new residence? I’m interested to see where the author takes it. There are so many possibilities.

One final thing that I think could have been made clearer is the average life-span of the zombies. Gabrielle had a time limit – she used up her energy and no longer seems like a threat. This doesn’t seem to be the case for the other zombies. Do they live forever? They seemed to “go to sleep” like a computer, saving energy for later. Does this go on indefinitely? One would also assume that people would spend a lot of time shooting zombies in the head, regardless of the fact that they keep coming. Surely that would lessen their numbers? Mary has me feeling as though it isn’t worth it – that their numbers are inexhaustible. Almost certainly, the numbers of actual live people has been dwindling. Doesn’t it make sense that the zombie numbers would correspondingly decline as well? And yet there is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of them. I’m curious how it all works. Were they made? Is it a genetic engineering gone wrong? Bio-chemical warfare? I’m hoping this gets also fleshed out, as it were, in the next book.

Book Source: Library Copy

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