Posts Tagged ‘forest of hands and teeth’

This is a short story in the Forest of Hands and Teeth series. It takes place years before the first book with a young Tabitha who seems very much like Mary. For my review of the first book go to:…-teeth-5-stars/

She often walks through the fences much like Mary dreamed of doing. She dreams of what might be out there, and then one day she meets him. He’s a boy from another village around her age. They arrange to meet and talk about their separate lives and dreams. They fall in love and decide to run away together.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It sounds very much like Mary in Forest of Hands and Teeth.

So, what turned this dreaming young girl into the woman who tries so hard to stop Mary following her dreams? Well, I can’t give it all away. You’ll have to read to find out.

Suffice to say it was very sad. These books hold as much sadness and despair as they do humans tenacity and will to survive. There’s plenty of will to survive in this book, just not the same kind of optimistic tenacity the novels hold. The conclusion made my heart twist. It’s the kind of ending where you really wish that didn’t happen, but it fits so well that you have to accept it. This is not a happy book as Tabitha did not have a happy past.

It does make an interesting point about people’s will to survive. I feel like all the characters in the novels went through their journeys to discover that surviving is important, but it’s so important because of the people you’ll spend time with in the future, and the things you’ll do, and the dreams you’ll have and chase.

Tabitha doesn’t come to the same conclusion. That’s why she seemed so bitter. She came to the conclusion that survival of the many means sacrificing everything, including dreams, people you could meet and things you could experience if you chased those dreams.

Sad, but it gives a lot of food for thought. If you liked the Forest of Hands and Teeth series, then I recommend reading this short story. It adds some interesting depth to the first novel.

For more reviews on this book go to:


This is the third book in the series. For my review of the first book go to:…-teeth-5-stars/


Unlike the huge gap between the first and second books, the third takes place almost immediately after the second. You can more or less understand the second book without reading the first, but if you don’t read the second before this one, you’re going to get confused.

Like the other books we get a new pov character. This one is Annah, Gabry’s sister. Now Mary from the first book was a dreamer. Gabry was a scared kid. Annah is scarred inside and out. She doesn’t believe in dreams. She doesn’t have the luxury of showing fear or any kind of weakness. She lives in a tough world, and to survive she has to be just as tough.

I do like this variety of pov characters. It’s interesting to be able to see this world through different eyes.

The plot was interesting. There’s plenty of tension going on. The writing is pretty, and the world is both beautiful and terrifying. And best of all: no love triangles! Well, there’s a bit of self-pitying and whining from Annah and Catcher, our newest pair. That got a little annoying. Other than that this book was awesome. I think it might be my favourite of the series.

The other books are pretty dark, but this one hit new levels of gloom and despair. That was Ok though, because our characters didn’t give up. They kept trying.

That’s the message I’ve taken away from these books. The world they’re set in is so absent of hope, but they don’t give up. They find their own hope. It could be a dream to see the ocean one day, or helping a loved one, or finding your friends again. Whatever drives them, once they find it, that’s enough to keep them going.

There’s a beautiful section near the end of this book. Annah is tired and injured. There are zombies shambling behind her, and if she stops they’ll get her. She’s gone through so much already, and even if she keeps ahead of them she’s no idea if she’ll be able to get out of the situation she’s in.

Her courage is not shown through an epic fight, nor a moment of brilliant inspiration. It’s putting one foot in front of the other for hours. There’s only a small chance she’ll make it, but she keeps going because of that innate desire to live. That single-minded determination to survive.

I think that section sums up what I loved most about all the books. Our greatest accomplishments often aren’t sudden moments of triumph or epic showdowns. They’re the drive to keep going, no matter how tired you are, and how much you want to stop. No matter how dark your world gets there is always something to hold onto, and some reason to take that next step.

Love triangles aside, I really enjoyed these books. And if you liked the last two books, you should check this one out.

For more reviews on this book go to:

Here’s a link to my review for the first book in this series:…-teeth-5-stars/

Years have passed and we have a new pov character who this book is about, Mary’s daughter. So don’t come into this book all amped up from Forest of Hands and Teeth, expecting to see more of Mary’s adventures. Though we do hear about a few of them.

I knew going into it that this was about a new character with a whole new story, but it still felt like there was this huge gap. I wanted to know what happened to the others from the first book. There was so much going on and it just ended. Gah.

As some small consolation we do get to find out some of what Mary has been up to these past years. I guess it’s just something to add to the heartbreak of the first book. Mary didn’t get a happy ending. She found the place she dreamed about, but she lost her family. She couldn’t have both.

Though I still don’t understand why she couldn’t find them. She knew those fences better than anyone. So how could they find their way around in there and she couldn’t?

Well. Moving on. Once I (mostly) got over the broken pieces from the last book staying broken, I started to enjoy this one. There’s a lot to like. The parallells between the stories is pretty cool. The first book is about a bold girl in a timid community. She knows what she wants, and when she gets the chance she goes to get it.

The second book is about a timid girl in a relatively bold community. She’s the last one behind the kids when they sneak out. She doesn’t know what she wants. It takes her life crashing down around her to force her to get out of her comfort zone and find out.

Here’s the blurb:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

We get to find out a bit more about the world of Forest of Hands and Teeth – outside of the actual forest. There are people who worship the dead and do really creepy rituals that give me the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. I don’t think I’d want to join their group.

There’s also a creepy army type group that spend a large proportion of this book chasing around our main characters which consist of: timid main pov girl, her crush, his sister who happens to be her best friend, and mysterious guy who doesn’t talk a lot but stares a whole heck of a lot. He starts off creepy as well, but grows on her and the reader as the book goes on.

So, a whole lot of creepy people in one book. Well, it is a zombie book I guess.

The writing itself is pretty and smooth. The characters are interesting, the plot action packed, and the world building is beyond interesting. The pure scale of the dead is horrifying, but it does make sense. If most of the world died and turned into zombies – the type of zombies that could go about their shambling way for decades – then you could have millions of dead with only a very small percentage of living people left.

Not a good world to take a stroll anywhere. Though the fenced forest paths from the first book seem safer than most and make another big appearance this book.

This book did have another love triangle. I hate love triangles. I did have to grit my teeth a couple times, but the love triangle in this book was relatively free of woe, manipulation and whining. Not completely free, but more or less.

(The love thing was actually kind of confusing. She starts off with a solid crush on one guy, while the other guy is dubbed creepy. She gives up her life to save her crush. Then comes the developing attraction for now not so creepy guy which leads to ‘which one’ feelings. Then comes her decision which seems to be out of the blue and made up in less than a second.)

There are a lot of brilliant moments that make gritting your teeth through love triangles worth it. There’s one moment at the very end where our girl and the (guy she didn’t choose) have to do something that I can’t explain fully because of spoilers. But it needed her to trust him with her life – literally. One wrong move from him, or her – even a tiny slip – and she would be dead. My heart was hammering reading that bit. So good.

For more reviews on this book go to:

An awesome zombie book (and series if you go on to read the following books). I loved, loved, loved this book. I’ve read 22 books so far this year, and I think this one may be my very favorite.

Here’s the summary:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. 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. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

As for why I liked it so much: it had a great mystery to it, complex characters and deep down was about a girl finding herself in a world of zombies. Mary’s world is very dangerous, and only gets more dangerous as the book goes on. A lot of people die in this book, including some main characters. The zombies are interesting. Mostly they’re your typical moaning dead, shuffling for a taste of human flesh, but Carrie Ryan somehow makes it feel fresh. And there are a couple differences.

More than any other zombie book I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a lot) forest of hands and teeth makes you feel how menacing the zombies are, and it doesn’t have to give them a whole load of new bells and whistles to do so. Again and again it reminds you of the volume of the dead. A person is bitten, they change, then they go on to bite another two or three people. It’s simple math. They never die, but the living do. So you end up with thousands, millions of walking dead, and the living dwindle down in numbers.

I love the world created in these books. I’d never want to live in them, but they seem so rich and interesting. Most of all there’s a constant theme in the books of surviving, of pushing on and living no matter how bad things get. Of having dreams, even in dark times.

Now for the bad. There’s a love triangle. Ick. But this does help the main character grow and learn what she wants in life. She doesn’t want to stick with what she knows, she wants to push herself and explore. Sure, she worries about who she should love, but more and more as the book goes on she looks to bigger issues like how she should live. Plus the zombies don’t let her dwell on her romantic issues too long.

Her major goal is a little strange. She wants to see the ocean. She pushes herself and the others toward this goal. At times this can seem a little stupid. At one point, she’s in a great house safe for the moment with the guy she’s been dreaming of being with forever, but she isn’t happy. She wants to see the ocean. She wants to know more about the dead. In a lot of ways this is a story about a girl’s descent into madness. Things pile up, and she cracks a bit. But she cracks in a cool way, a risk taking way, not a curl in a corner and hide way.

The characters have depth. There’s this one guy who you hate a bit at the beginning because he seems selfish, but then as you read more you see him as a guy who’s human and in love. A guy who makes mistakes. All the characters make mistakes at one point or another. No one is perfect in this book.

The main reason I love this book is harder to explain. There’s something so addictive about reading it. Usually I hop about a little between books, but reading this one I had to make a bee line from this book, to the next and the next. I vacuumed them up. It was difficult to get anything else done. I think it’s knowing they’re never safe. There’s always something else coming around the corner to shake their lives up. And yet they don’t stop living. Sometimes they consider giving up, but the main characters push on and on without stopping.

There’s a scene in the very last book that sums up the whole series. The main character is stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation but she doesn’t give up. She tries, tries, and then tries again. She just keeps moving forward, even with dead on her heels, even when all seems lost. That determination to keep going is what made me love these books so much. It gives me faith in the human race. Some might give up when things get bad. Others go along with the flow and don’t think for themselves. But a few will keep fighting no matter how bad things get. And that is a beautiful message.

Want to check out more reviews on this book? Here’s the link: