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?
I had a very hard time with this book. That is not to say I didn’t like it. The difficulty comes from not knowing how to approach it, I guess.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a very strange book. It’s a postapocalyptic novel: a zombie book. Yet it doesn’t read like one. It has a Hunger Games feel, but it is written very differently. Beautifully. Almost too beautifully for a zombie book. It is written so beautifully, in fact, that the terror and ruthlessness of the world barely shines through. It’s all about the love story. A love story that doesn’t really exist.
Mary is a very complicated character. She’s not immature or naive, just… complicated. She’s deeply in love with Travis, her heart aches for him every moment of the day, but when she has him, he is not enough. This probably should annoy me. But it doesn’t. It’s just naturally part of her dark existence, and I accept her as she is, flaws included.
At first, I thought I didn’t like this novel. I’m glad I stuck with it, because it turns out it’s just different. It is unlike any postapocalyptic story I’ve read, and unlike any teen love story I’ve read. It’s somewhere in between, written so elegantly that it’s hard to ignore. I would be looking forward to the next book, if it wasn’t about Mary’s daughter. I thought Mary’s story was left too open for it not to continue, but it doesn’t seem it will, in certain terms. I haven’t decided if I will continue the series, in fear that the second book will ruin it for me, but I did very much enjoy this one.