Mary lives in a village ruled by a religious order known as the Sisterhood, and their military force, the Guardians. The village is surrounded by a large chain-link fence, beyond which lies a seemingly endless, zombie-infested forest. There are only three ways through the fence—two gates that open on paths that are themselves enclosed by fencing, and a corral designed for expelling those who've been infected by the zombie plague. Where the two paths lead, no one knows, for the Sisterhood says the village is the only human habitation left on Earth.Mary has been raised on stories passed down from her great-great-great-grandmother about life before the coming of zombies. She is especially fascinated by the ocean and believes if she could reach it, she'd be free of zombies.She gets her chance when a new, fast-moving zombie appears in the woods and leads a major incursion through the fence. Mary and several friends escape down the path, where they discover that their village is but one of many enclosed settlements. -Summary taken from Wikipedia
The Forest Of Hands A Teeth takes place in a world where fear and desperation reign.People,the last remaining of the human race it seems like, live in a secluded village in the middle of a forest surrounded by wired fences.Fences that keep out the Unconsecrated,zombie like creatures that can tear out your flesh making you one of theirs, along with the people's dreams and hopes for another life,a better life.
I will start by saying that Ryan's writing is brilliant. Everything she writes is so disturbingly believable, that you feel as though there is such a village in the middle of a forest somewhere in the world and you hurt when you think of the poor people that are trapped there.She wrote the character's relationships exceptionally well, especially Mary and Travis's.The last scene with Mary and Travis is so heartbreaking,it almost made me cry.
There is no doubt that Mary is the lead character in TFOHAT.The book is written in first person,from her POV, so all action and emotion that fill this book is hers or about her.
Her life is doomed from the day she was born.A free spirit,Mary cannot imagine herself compromising or settling with anything.She does not love the man that is to become her husband but his brother,Travis,who she knows she cannot have.However,when she gets what she wants she is still not satisfied and wants to find more,to explore,because she doesn't dare to believe that that is all there is for her.Travis loves her, tries to explain to her that she doesn't need anything else when she has him at her side and she doesn't have to go fixing all the wrong in the world, it's not her responsibility.But then he understands and supports her,realising that he wants the exact same things as her and that he is too ashamed to admit that he is not as brave as Mary to make them happen. When humanity is hanging by a thread,in a place where hopes are shattered at birth,Mary has the nerve to dream of another world out there where she can live without the Unconsecrated's moans constantly ringing in her ear, without the perpetual fear of dying and loss.She dreams of the ocean and that she will do anything to get there,almost forgetting about the consequences and the people around her.That costs her dearly but still she wants to pursue her dream, not stopping for a second to think about it.I will not say that I relate to Mary,quite the opposite.I don't even think I like her all that much.But I find her determination, her strong will and her inability to quit even though the world as she knows it is no more,admirable and heroic,to say the least.
I really,really liked this book.I know most people regard it as another zombie book, but it's much more than that.It's a wonderful tale of dreams, hopes,love and compassion told brilliantly by Ryan.It's a must read!
One useful tip : This book is more on the gloomy,depressing side and it's not for the weak hearted.If you're looking for a light,happy read,this is definitely NOT it!