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The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan Mary knows that there's a world outside the regulated life of her fenced in city, but it takes a zombie apocalypse to lead her toward it. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting a zombie novel when I picked this up, but a zombie novel it is. However, the reader will also find dystopia, romance, characters yearning for freedom, mystery, and adventure. It's the type of novel that pulls you in, wraps you up in the fog of its dark world, and doesn't let you go until you've turned the last page.

Mary grew up hearing stories of tall buildings and the world outside, but nobody has seen them for generations because nobody has dared venture into the Forest of Hands and Teeth where the infected population live. Mary feels that there must be more to life than following the customs of her village and being thrust into either a loveless marriage or into the sisterhood. She longs for a way to escape and for someone to understand her.

I was struck particularly by the extreme individualism and solipsism of the main character. While everyone else around her sacrifices, loves, and gives selflessly to each other, Mary is always looking out for her own purposes. She always wants what she doesn't have and would choose to follow her childhood dream of finding the ocean rather than preserving the lives and love of those around her.

I was also struck by the writing style of the author. Mary tells her story completely in present tense. And the words she uses seem like whispers. The overall feeling of the book is one of yearning, aching, and grasping for something that Mary doesn't have. When she gets what she thinks she wants, she's still always holding out for something more. This yearning consumes her to the end. And, frankly, you want to shake Mary at the end and ask her how she could be such a selfish girl.

Note: While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I'm legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Amazon Vine program in return for my review. Blah blah blah.