Me Like Zombies: Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Okay, so technically they're called the Unconsecrated in The Forest of Hands and Teeth; Mudo in The Dead-Tossed Waves; and I don't know what in The Dark and Hollow Places because I haven't had the chance to read it yet (It is sitting on top of my To Be Read stack). 

Carrie Ryan is a former lawyer from South Carolina turned NYT Bestselling Author with her debut novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Dead-Tossed Waves is also a bestseller). This book was chosen as Best Book for Young Adult by the American Library Association, a Best of the Best Books by the Chicago Public Library, and a finalist in the Borders Original Voices program. Impressive, ain't it?  You can find her blog here.

If you're into post-apocalyptic zombie nations, this trilogy is for you. As I've mentioned above, I've only read the first two but I'll give you the blurbs for all three (as found in Author's website).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth By Carrie Ryan

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, 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?

The Dead-Tossed Waves (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 2) Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. Home is all she's ever known, and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe, and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, but like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.

One night beyond the Barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Gabry knows only one thing: if she is to have any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.

The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3)It's out now since March 2011!

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

Why I Recommend these books:

Carrie Ryan writes beautiful, haunting prose. The first time I picked up The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I couldn't put it down. (How awesome is that title?) We were out on a mini-vacation, and there I was itching to get out of the pool to get back to my room and read. She paints the setting so eloquently that it isn't hard to imagine yourself being there with Mary, surrounded by a moaning forest of undead people rattling the chain-link fences with rotten fingers as they hunger for the taste and smell of the living.

And why were the Sisterhood so hush-hush on matters of the Unconsecrated? See, I like love stories with lots of secrets. It's a sure page-turner. Plus, you have a classic love triangle with Mary and two brothers. Aha, I see you following me now. Throw in a fence breach, an unnaturally fast-moving zombie in red infecting every person she reaches, and there! You have a bestseller.

For The Dead-Tossed Waves, the plot runs parallel lines to the first one, with Mary's daughter Gabry finding herself torn between two guys (just like Mama), and her venture into the Forest to escape the Mudo and the Recruiters.It is another well-written book and it also gives us more glimpses of the state of the world they're living in. Although some of the questions I had from the first book were answered in this one, there are still more mysteries to find. So I was really glad to know there was going to be another one.

I will update this when I get to read the third installment. As always, bear in mind that the book business is a subjective business. If you're not into post-apocalyptic zombies ever, don't read these books and blame me for recommending them. But. Yes, there is  a big but. It never hurts to try new things.

I truly enjoyed Ryan's writing and stories and I'm looking forward to picking up the last one. 'Cause me like zombies =)


Mindy McGinnis said...

Absolutely - these books are great. I wasn't sure about FoHat, but Waves put to rest a lot of my qualms and explained things further. I have yet to read Dark & Hollow as well, but you can bet it's on the list.

If you like the zombie idea and want a fresh (ha ha) take - try this out :

cherie said...

Thanks, Mindy! I'll check it out for sure. You know I follow your recommends. ;)

Meaghan said...

I agree, Carrie Ryan's trilogy was amazing! Dead Tossed Waves, in my opinion, was the best of all three, and that's saying something, because I find at times, especially with trilogies, second and third books are hard to live up to the first. I also think that even people who don't like zombies might like these books and give them a try, because to me the story was more about the characters and trying to hold on to the ones they love in a world that just tears everything apart..

Jacquelyn said...

I think I have Hands and Teeth lying around here in a book pile somewhere... I'll have to dig it out and read it now!

cherie said...

Well said, Meaghan. You're right--these books have themes that will appeal to all kinds of readers.

cherie said...

@Jacquelyn: Yes, yes, go read. lol! I'm going to read the third one this weekend. Happy reading!

Anita said...

I've wanted to read this series forevah, and now you've inspired me to move it next on my list, after I finish THE PHANTOM by Susan Kay. I love me some pretty writing. Thanks for the great review, girl!

Oh, and I've also heard of a few YAs coming out this year that have the zombies as the heroes. THAT should be interesting... ;)

Lori M. Lee said...

I absolutely loved the first book and I have the second. To be honest, I've just been apprehensive about reading it even though I want to b/c... I am a huge chicken haha. And nothing freaks me out more than zombies. BUT I AM SO EXCITED TO READ IT STILL. *dork*

Also, I wanted to let you know I gave you an award here: http://lorimlee.blogspot.com/2011/04/versatile-blogger-award.html

Anonymous said...

I loved the first book. Must get the other two....

cherie said...

Hi Medeia! Thanks for stopping by. =) Happy reading!

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