27 July 2011

Revew: Forest of Hands and Feet by Carrie Ryan

Publisher: Gollancz
Published: July 2009
Series: Hands and Feet #1
Source: Own Copy

From Goodreads: 
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?
I loved that this was a story about zombies where the focus was on the living. Mary lives in a simple time where the focus is on surviving. The Unconsecrated (zombies) are not a recent development but something everyone has lived with all of their lives. Living in a village surrounded by fences Mary's daily life is simple and full of chores, but if the warning bell rings there has been a breach and everyone must get to elevated platforms built into trees to stay away from the dead. To ensure survival the sisterhood demand that everyone marries as soon as they are ready. Mary has the weary task of marrying someone who loves her even if she loves someone else. Soon Mary starts asking questions such as who gave the Sisterhood their power, what are they hiding and what are behind the gates in the village?

From very early on in this novel I felt there were similar tones to the M. Night Shyamalan film "The Village". You have that feeling of being isolated and only knowing the village but suspecting that there must be something else outside through the Forest of Hands and Feet. The writing in this book made me fell that I was full immersed in the life (even if I was lying on a sun lounger beside a pool!!) and was feeling all of the doubts along with Mary.

I loved the characters in this book, well I didn't LOVE them all, I thought there were some nasty characters, but I thought they were all well written. The story does not rush along either. I read this book in a day, but I felt like I had been reading it much longer as the story took it's time to unfold and develop. There were certain parts to the story, where she would find something which we would be familiar with but was completely foreign to Mary, which made me want to shout at the book. I thought it was a really interesting concept that whatever education they had was focused on the present and how to survive, and never looking at the past.

I can't wait to pick up the sequels to this book and see what is to become of the world we live in.

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