Right from the very first page of The Forest of Hands and Teeth
was I hit with the juxtaposition of the bleakness of Mary's world and the beauty of her words and voice. Her first words are those of the sea, and of its fairytale status in her world. For someone like me, who lives incredibly close to the sea (I actually was reading this in the car on the way to the hospital, and the motorway is right next to the harbour
) the idea of living in a place as enclosed as Mary's world, and being unable to see something so simple but so huge as the ocean stuck out and, well, disturbed me right from the start. And as more and more of Mary's very limited world and its rules started to be revealed to me, the reader the more comes forth about the "life" the survivors have scraped together and yet is all they have ever known - and what they believe is all that is left.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth was, for me, a very powerful novel, and incredibly hard-hitting. Right from the very beginning were there times where I felt a little teary, and others where I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Carrie Ryan's words, through the character of Mary, tugged at the emotions constantly, and the choice of present tense was a good one. It added a sense of immediacy to an otherwise more reflective narrator voice, and had me constantly wondering if the novel would end badly for our main characters - was it, I kept asking myself, just like, say, Buffy and other Whedon shows? A case of anyone can die
But this is a story about survivors, of that remaining few who still manage to exist and what they do to maintain that. The story of people, and how they manage to keep holding on when everything around them seeks to destroy that. The Sisterhood and all its rules about how to live was incredibly interesting, and I found myself wondering how they managed to rise up and gain such control and knowledge, and from where did they spring. As we come in several generations after the dead began to rise, and our only source of information does not know as much (nor does her society) there were some questions that I did want to know about, but story was strong enough without them, and indeed given the narrator and tale quite probably better off.The Forest of Hands and Teeth
was a gripping and hard-hitting novel that played tug-of-war with my emotions all the way through. If you haven't read it already, go out and find yourself a copy!