The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Why Not a Higher Rating?
*Ultimately this was a rather unsatisfying read for me. It took me a while to get engaged in the story, and to care about the characters.
*When that finally happened, then things got rather tragic. I realize that it wasn't Mary's fault, and she showed true heroism, but part of me wanted to blame her for how things unfolded. Probably not fair, but kind of how I felt.
*Mary was a bit too wishy-washy for me. She wanted Travis more than anything. No, she wanted to leave to find the ocean. No, she felt really close to Harry. What did she want? Maybe I'm being hard on her, but I just found her frustrating.
*The secondary characters seemed kind of one dimensional. The only person I saw clearly was Mary. I don't think that can solely be blamed on the 1st person POV, either. Honestly, Travis came off as wishy-washy, and less than reliable in his affections. He was the man of Mary's dreams, but he wasn't strong enough for her. He knew that though. We don't really find out what makes Travis tick until too late in the story for my tastes. Before that, he was too far in fickle-land for me. Harry had some really good traits, and I would have liked to see more of him in the narrative. I realize that Mary is all about Travis, so I can see why Harry doesn't get much screen time through her eyes, but since they were best friends growing up, I could have done with more filling in of his character.
*We are never told some aspects of the setting. I felt there was good detail in some instances, but a decided lack in other ways.
*But, I think the number one factor in my rating is the feeling of disatisfaction I had after finishing. I wondered what the point was. That hope means nothing in the end. Sacrifice ultimate counts for absolute zero? Yeah, not my kind of novel theme.
In all fairness, I think Ms. Ryan is a good writer. Her writing has an elegance I appreciated. I couldn't put this book down, although some aspects were a bit off-putting. She does zombies well. The focus on the emotional horror of zombies, and its cost on the hearts and souls of those who face this epidemic, instead of the gross-out factor. I really appreciated that, and I certainly had some hold my breath moments. I think that I would have enjoyed this story more if there was a more focused feel to it, as if the destination I was headed to counted for more than it did. If I feel this way, than I can only imagine how Mary must feel.
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