[Note: As far as I can tell, I'm one of very few who hate this book, so you might want to try it out and see if you disagree too! :)]
Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: Mary and her friends wander around trying to find the ocean until the twentieth climax where something finally happens and you care absolutely nothing about it.
Back-of-the-Book: “In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
You must always mind the fence that surrounds and protects from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
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, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
Now 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 by so much death?”
I Say: Ignore the back-of-the-book. It just sets you up for disappointment.
I had great hopes for this book. The first few chapters weren’t even bad. But by the end, I was just glad it was over. “The Forrest of Hands and Teeth” took everything I hate in a book and smashed it together.
The characters were awful. From beginning to end, I couldn’t have cared less about Mary if I had tried. For some reason, all the characters seemed alike (except Mary who was uncommonly dim-witted and obsessed with finding ocean). If by chance they were portrayed differently, it was with thin, hollow, flat, emotionless, shallow words. Not the strong, colorful words that make great stories.
That brings me to something else I hate: lack of good description. I hate flowery paragraphs as much as the next guy, but I’ve got to be able to “see” what’s going on. When I read, I see the story like I’m watching a movie. Whenever I come across a book that I can’t “see,” it’s disorienting. With “Forest,” I just saw words. I could never tell where anyone was or what was going on. It was like being blindfolded.
The plot went up and down and nowhere fast. The story felt based on nothing. Lust is passed off as love. The Sisterhood’s secrets? I was like “Oh…that’s IT??” and the Guardians’ power…I never saw that at all. Things you think are important aren’t, and things that shouldn’t be are.
- Excellent similes
I Didn’t Like:
- Atrocious characterization
- Horrible plot
- No climax (or maybe it was several…)
- Insufficient description
- Mary is maddeningly slow
- Love is portrayed as lust
Audience: There’s some sensuality. Ryan tries to pass it off as real love, but really it’s just Mary lusting after this guy that you never get to know well enough to care about.
Imagine wandering around blindfolded with robots led by a girl who can’t recognize a number when she sees one pursuing a crayon. That’s how reading “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” feels.