Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: Book CoverI admit the title got me on this one.  And I still think the title is good, probably the best part of the book.

In the beginning this book promised a lot:  mysteries & conspiracies, action & adventure, love and even a little sex (it is a YA novel after all).

In the end I was left unsatisfied and totally disappointed.  None of the promise was fulfilled.

I don’t have a huge problem with zombie stories, though as a germ-phobe I always get distracted about where such epidemic zombie infections come from.  I think that lately though, zombies are a bit overdone.  I mean look at some recent movies: 28 Days Later, I am Legend, and even Shaun of the Dead.   These are just some mainstream movies, I haven’t even delved into the “horror” movies.  Basically the undead are everywhere. 

Still this book could have capitalized on the current (and probably persistent) zombie-philia. 

It didn’t. 

My biggest complaint was logistical.  As with most stories of this kind, the zombie-ism is caused by an infection and healthy people can get bitten by the Infected.  Except that these folks, instead of killing them, allow the Infected, while they are still sane, to decide if they want to go live with the others of their kind, outside the protective gates or be killed. 

HUH???  That’s like setting a rabid animal free in your backyard!!!

Further there are Guardians who monitor the gates and kill the Infected (now called the Unconsecrated, since they have ‘turned’).   So why set them free only to kill them later?  I’m confused.

Also for some reason being up in the trees keeps them safe, though why that is was never explained.  Suddenly the zombies can’t climb trees or ladders? 

Despite these obvious problems (which an editor could have fixed, seriously) there are some very interesting tangets regarding an outsider from another village (others exist??  they have been told that they are the last of their kind) and a Sisterhood who have total control (mind and otherwise) over the village.    Both story lines are given short shrift.  Instead a LOT of pages are given to walking, complaining about walking, lamenting the state of the world, killing zombies and talking about the ocean. 

I kept reading this book (in fact, I dedicated an entire Saturday afternoon to it) hoping it would get good.  Every time it got close I got pulled back into zombie doldrums.  Even when the main character gets to have sex with her lover (finally!) we don’t get to see it. 

It’s a tease.

And it will probably be made into a movie.