Hello, wonderful readers!
I’m a bit late to getting this review up, but better late than never, right?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a book I picked up at one of my favorite second-hand book stores in my area, as well as one of my many comfort spots in general. Needless to say, I purchased more than just this one book (come on, though, $20 for FIVE books?!) but so far I’ve only read one. And boy, was it a good one. I’m not one for zombie stories. In fact, I’m pretty sure this constitutes as my first. I will definitely be reading more in the future, though, as I think the sub-genre checks off a lot of things I enjoy in a good book.
When it comes to literature, I need a convincing protagonist. Water down the world for all I care–I can even deal with a weakish plot. But characters drive the story for me. If I’m not invested in their every move, their every inner turmoil; the things that eat them up inside… I frankly don’t want it. What can I say? I’m a character-driven reader. Thankfully, in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary, our protagonist, is a convincing character. She’s just a girl longing for something more beyond the confining walls she’s always lived behind. She knows the risks, but in her mind, freedom is above all else. This desire carries through the story and sets up many of her decisions and conflicts well. She was easy to sympathize with and found myself rooting for her along the way. The side characters are good as well. I didn’t connect nearly as well with them, but given it was solely from her POV, it was understandable, though I still would have liked for them to be fleshed out more.
Now, plot. It follows a cohesive theme, and there are quite a few twists that I was pleasantly surprised by. I’m all about authors taking bold risks and finishing strong, and that was done a few times in this novel. The story evolves around Mary, her inner conflict between those she loves and the freedom she craves, as well as the Unconsecrated that roam just outside of her enclave walls. For fear of giving something away, I’ll simply say that the plot is a bit of a slow-burn at times, but is intense in all the right places.
I know people are picky about the endings of their stories. Some like the happily ever afters, some like none at all *cough* me *cough*, and some like a good mix of both. I won’t give away which of the three it was for this story, but overall, it was a well-rounded ending with just enough vagueness to make you want more. Now, the story is quite gruesome at times, so if you’re sensitive to death and violence, I wouldn’t recommend reading. There’s also some romance–nothing above a moderate PG-13 rating–if you’re not a fan of that either. Overall, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was an intense, gory, fun little story that I greatly enjoyed.