Mary's world exists inside a very delicate balance. The only thing that separates her from certain death is one fence. The fence protects Mary and her village. The village has survived because of the balance of power that the Sisterhood and the Guardians hold over Mary and her fellow villagers.
While Mary may be safe in her village from the constant threat of death at the hands of the Unconsecrated Mary dreams of more. She dreams of freedom, of what is beyond the fence, and most importantly of the ocean. Mary knows she has the Sisterhood and the Guardians to thank for her safety, but Mary still dreams. She can't help but think of the ocean and of her mother's stories of the world before the Unconsecrated.
When the fences are breached and the village is overrun with the Unconsecrated Mary is thrust into the world beyond the fence. Now, Mary runs for her life.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth is an excellent, heart-thumping, mind-blowing read. I cannot talk highly enough about this book. What makes this book ever more impressive is that this book is Carrie Ryan's debut novel! Ryan has weaved a world and this both eloquent and devastating which is an amazing feat for a book about zombies. That's right, zombies.
Don't let the subject matter fool you into making judgments about Hands and Teeth. Ryan has broken into and artfully designed a type of horror book that is written in a hauntingly beautiful way. Mary is such a compelling protagonist that I found myself wanting to hate her for her faults and love her for her strength and her sheer force of will.
One of the best things about this book is that it I believe it will surpass not only the Young Adult to Adult label barrier but also the gender barrier. With a female protagonist most male readers won't initially want to read this book, but Ryan has created a tale so fascinating that even my Boy couldn't put this book down. He read the whole thing and asked for more.
Hands and Teeth can't get enough good press. It has already been optioned for a movie, and the second book of this trilogy, Dead Tossed Waves, out March 2010 has already garnered good reviews! Personally I can't wait.