Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan (3.5/5)

The back says: 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 chose 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 a life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

I say: This is basically The Village. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be, or that the plot would somehow be so intriguing that I’d forget it,

but no.

Obviously, knowing that this is the first part of a series, I already knew how this would end (especially since the second book is so spoilerishly named The Dead-Tossed Waves) and I was fine with that. It’s all about the journey. And the journey was a mixture of suspense, a rather lame attempt at some form of love triangle (or square) and some jealousy and other things that I didn’t really care about/for. I think that the whole deal with the Sisterhood was supposed to keep us guessing, but it got boring as soon as I realised that Ryan wasn’t really interested in taking it any further. There’s a point where Mary is snooping around in the cellars of the Cathedral, that used to be an old vineyard (what is it about old vineyards always housing something dark and mysterious?) that tipped me off and I stopped trying to look for clues or any type of sense in the stories that the villagers had been raised with.

It’s all lies anyways, so why bother.

And I don’t consider that a spoiler because if you hadn't figured it out by the summary, then… well…

So yeah, the story was fast paced at times and painfully slow at others. For a book that was a mere 300 pages, there was a surprisingly lot of things/information/supposed twist or explanations that just felt superfluous and awkward. At a certain point towards the end, before the big finale, it just felt like I was watching time pass, and then

boom, action!

And then it slowed down to a painful crawl, before

boom – action!

It was too uneven for me to focus. I found myself caring less and less about the characters, and in the end the only one I was really invested in was Mary – all else be damned. Not sure if that was the plan, but whatever; I could identify with her longing and desire to go out and search for what she’d always believed in.

I’ll probably pick the second book up from the library because that’s what I do – I start something and then dutifully finish it. Yes, dutifully, because I could really take it or leave it. I just really hope that the next book offers some explanations to what we've been told in this one, and isn't just a continuation, because that'll just piss me off.

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