Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth | Carrie Ryan | Gollancz Publishing | The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1 | 5 Stars | Source: Bought | 310 pages | Young Adult | Zombies | Horror 
Release Date: March 10th, 2009

Goodreads Synopsis:

“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 about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, 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 in so much death?”


The Forest of Hands and Teeth was one of those books that I wanted and bought within a couple of days of hearing about it a few years ago. Once on my shelves, I ever so slightly forgot about it. I am sure many of us are guilty of this. Quickie rundown: I am so glad I finally got round to this.

Every now and again you come across a book where you genuinely don’t know what is going to happen past a certain point. Who and if someone was going to die, if they would become infected, etc. It was truly gripping and I found my heart was pounding throughout, especially towards the last 100 pages. It was definitely a case of anything can happen and will happen.

Our main character comes in the form of Mary. She is probably is incredibly selfish. But, as time went on, I found it was for good reason. Her mother has been telling her stories about the ocean ever since she was a child and now possesses a need to get to it in any way she can.  It is a chronic need you see in every pages. She simply needs to see what is beyond the village, beyond the forest and beyond the infected that hang around the barriers constantly.

One element that I loved in the novel was the society in which it was set. I think the world building and logistics were so on point. They were described in enough detail to keep it interesting an informing rather than boring. The whole concept of how the village came to be and the Sisterhood was so intriguing.

Overall, this has to be one of my favourite zombie reads. It is brutal and doesn’t pull any punches. They are surrounded by zombies, so someone is going to die and the author does not care if you like the character or not!

Goodreads Average: 3.61/5 (out of 56,280 ratings)


Quickie Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

12043771This Is Not a Test | Courtney Summers | St. Martin’s Griffin | This is Not a Test #1 | 5 Stars | Source: Bought | 326 pages | Young Adult | Zombies | Horror 
Release Date: June 19th, 2012

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


This one of those books that has been on my radar for years. I kept my eye out for it in book stores all the time and I never saw it. I then saw a Tumblr post saying that is was on sale and with my new kindle to hand, I had to buy. I am so glad I did by the time I finished it!

There are two ongoing themes that I found in this novel. The first one is Sloane surviving herself and her internal struggle. The second is Sloane and a newly adopted party of six surviving people an outbreak of the dead wanting to tear them apart. At times there was more of one theme than the other but it was very well divided.

Sloane has been through an awful time. She is painfully broken. The people in her life have either hurt her or left her and she has lost her will to live. It was so interesting see her character who has a chronic need to die alongside people who are giving up everything to live. She looks at every possible option to see if it can help her execute her plans. I constantly wanted to find out more about her to see the motivation behind her thoughts.

There weren’t too many action actions scenes but the few that were there were enough. They delivered everything I want in a novel. Fear of imminent death, crushed skulls etc. They were so well executed and I found myself willing the characters to fight and live another day.

Another element that I thought was well done was the parts where there were no zombies. The characters portrayed a fear that consisted of “what if’s” and sometimes, that can be worse the worst of all.

Goodreads Average: 3.93/5 (out of 6506 ratings)