Saturday Read: The Forest of Hands & Teeth, by Carrie Ryan

I am normally terrified of zombies or anything of the sort. Seriously, I get nightmares every time I watch a zombie movie. Even Thriller scares me sometimes.

Too bad it took me a little while to realize that The Unconsecrated in “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” were essentially zombies. I was spooked, to put it mildly, but by that point the book had already hooked me and I knew it would be impossible to stop.

“The Forest of Hands and Teeth” tells the story of Mary. She lives in a village in the woods, surrounded by fences that keeps The Unconsecrated out. The Unconsecrated, as I said before, are essentially zombies and they roam the Forest of Hands and Teeth, constantly threatening the village and its people. Mary has led a simple life in her village, helping her family and waiting to be married. Then one day, when patrolling the perimeter of the fences, Mary’s father gets taken by The Unconsecrated and is assumed to be “infected.” Her mother then falls into a depression and one day gets too close to the fences and is bitten by an Unconsecrated. She chooses to join the others outside the village and suddenly Mary’s life is in a tailspin.

In the village, a woman cannot live on her own, so when no one wants to marry Mary, she is forced to live with the Sisterhood (basically nuns) in their Cathedral. Once in the Cathedral, a series of events cause Mary to begin questioning the Sisterhood and her entire life in the Village. And then the fences are breached by The Unconsecrated and everything Mary ever knew is gone.

OK, so it all sounds a little weird (and zombies are scary), but this book is absolutely addictive. I spent many nights awake until the wee hours, lost in the story. I just could not put it down, and that doesn’t happen often (especially after spending hours poring over text books).

Carrie Ryan wastes no time getting into the story and doesn’t babble unnecessarily. I really liked the character of Mary and the whole supernatural aspect of this novel, too. It’s a science fiction novel by category, but reminds me of an Audrey Niffenegger novel. That is, that Ryan can seamlessly bring her readers into this new world without even questioning its existence. She covers every base and keeps you too busy with the story to even wonder. The combination of the story, the pacing and the writing kept me completely hooked and unable to put it down.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a thrilling adventure. Plus, the sequel comes out in March and I cannot wait!

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