Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nuns and the Undead and Celibacy, oh yeah!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a debut novel by British writer Carrie Ryan, and is the first book in a series of three. It follows the emotional story of Mary, a young girl living in a post-apocolytic, dystopian society in a woods surrounded by secured walls. Think The Village, with no lame twist ending. Mary's world is isolated to her single village, and run by a (crazy) religious order of nuns, called The Sisterhood. The Sisterhood controls everything that happens in the village and assures its citizens that leaving the village will result in immediate death and horror. See, the thing is, outside Mary's village, the world is full of Zombies! The Sisterhood calls them the Unconsecrated, and they will eat your brains. (No, really, they will. We see lots of it in the book. This book does not mess about with the goriness - there is LOTS of it, including a Zombie baby. Getting killed. ) The book plays out as Mary tries to figure out who she can trust, with a pretty uninteresting love story that ends in betrayal, lust and you guessed it...zombies! The book, overall, was pretty unoriginal. There were a few cool ideas, and the narration is fairly interesting, but on the whole, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was way less cool than its title led me to think it would be. My basic problem with it was that it was laden, much like the garbage Stephanie Meyer writes, with this theme that caving in to your desires results only in some kind of horrible zombie (or vampire, in Meyer's case,) hell, where you must live with your decision to be sin-laden for all eternity. Its an old, silly message that writers have been feeding to teenage girls for decades. And its preachy, and its boring, and its annoying. If you're going to write about gore and sex, write about gore and sex. Don't lure young girls into reading your stuff, then tease them with a little gore, and a little sex, and then shove a message down their throat.
Besides my whole issue with that, the book had a semi interesting plot-line, but it got caught up in cliche, and plot lines that have been done over, and over, and over. There's a video preview to the book, release by Random House, which is kind of neat.
I'd recommend this book to young adults, sure, but its not going to be doing anything challenging to them, mentally. It was an easy read. (At something like 320 pages, I read it in only a day and a half. During finals week!)
Oh! But don't bother reading it, because they're making a movie. It'll offer the same amount of brain work to watch this film as it did to read the book. Ooh, and they're going cast a "Hollywood A-Lister."


Ms. Edukated said...

So... I get the feeling that this book sucked and will not be on either of our reading lists. The story sounds like the follow-up to the movie " I am Legend" with Will Smith. Maybe this is how things would turn out if a part two of the movie is released. The book does not sound interesting, what made you chose this book if you knew that the author is not a good writer?

Heather Hoffman said...

While we, as adult readers, may not find this book worth reading, I wonder if teens will feel the same? The teenagers that I know, I think, would find this book a good read. I guess I'll just pose the ultimate questions - would you rather have them reading something like this, or not reading at all?

Caitlin Strandquist said...

I liked the title of the book! I didn't know anything about the author.

I suppose that teenagers would enjoy this book. Its definitely an easy read and has all the teenage elements in it. I'm not saying teens won't like it, I just don't think they'll gain much from it in terms of mental challenges.