The Forest of Hands and Teeth is Carrie Ryan's debut novel, its new and I've seen it mentioned quite a lot around various book blogs. Being caught up in reading dystopic and/or post apocalyptic YA, I decided to give this one a try. It is a very fitting book for the upcoming Halloween, since it is full of The Unconsecrated, which are basically zombies.
The story takes place in a village many, many, many years after The Return (= The Apocalypse) where The Unconsecrated took over the world. The human survivors of The Return settled in a village, surrounded by a metal fence, which The Unconcecrated are constantly trying to breach. A bite from an Unconcecrated means almost immediate infection, and the bitten one turns either Unconcecrated or dead - if the family have the heart to kill the bitten one, that is.
Mary, our young heroine, has been born into the village and knows nothing of the world outside the village. Only that the village is surrounded by The Forest of Hands and Teeth, where The Unconcecrated roam in large numbers. But Mary has been told tales by her mother - tales about The Ocean and a world outside the village.
Just before Mary is going to be engaged, things begin to happen and she ends up living with The Sisterhood, a sort of an order of Nuns, who run the village and who lives in the village Cathedral. Here she finds out that maybe, just maybe, there is another world outside the fenced in village, another world where The Unconcecrated cannot live, where the humans cannot hear the constant moaning from The Unconcecrated. Mary is not going to sit still and be forced into an arranged marriage, and pretty soon she is on edge with The Sisterhood and the head nun, Sister Tabitha.
What happens then, I will not disclose here, you'll have to read the book yourself. This book came hot on the heels of the Twilight craze (one reviewer actually say that "Zombies may be the new vampires"), and it is not too far fetched to think, that the author has wanted to ride that wave. Understandably so. I haven't read The Twilight Series, so I cannot compare, but there is a lot (sigh) of "young love" and the problems connected with that in this book, and frankly, I am way too old to find that interesting at all. The whole Zombie-thing and the world, which has been thought up by the author for this book is brilliant and brilliantly described. Mary as the protagonist develops during the course of the book, although again, all the he-loves-me/he-loves-me-not wore me down and I wanted to shout: Get it over with, darn it and decide what you wanna do! But I guess that is one of the premises of some YA. I am going to read the next one about Mary (set to be published in 2010), and can also recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth. A younger audience will probably like the lovestory which runs along the main story a lot.