Monday, 5 April 2010
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
I did not enjoy this book at all, in fact I almost put it down several times but I persisted because it was a birthday gift.
The story is set in a small village in the middle of a vast forest beset on all sides by ravenous zombies creatively called the 'Unconsecrated' a fence keeps the zombies out and the villagers in. A cloak-and-dagger religious cult called 'The Sisterhood' is in charge of the village and everyone in it. The main character is a disillusioned teenage girl convinced there is another world out beyond the fence.
To begin with all of the characters in this book are poorly developed, two dimensional and bland. The main character herself is not likeable in the least; she is a whining, self-pitying, selfish, miserable bore obsessed with herself and a boy from her village who is already betrothed to someone else.
There are pages and pages devoted to her unstable emotional state where she over analyses every tiny gesture the object of her affection makes. I wanted to read less about her emotions and how she feels about every little thing and more about lumbering flesh eating zombies.
Before a third of the way through this book I had decided if the main character gets eaten slowly by a zombie it would not be a bad thing.
For the first 130 pages of the book it reads less like a horror story and more like an effort from Mills and Boon. The object of our 'heroine's' affection is a hapless young man who is bedridden with a broken leg. She practically stalks the poor boy and uses his vulnerable bed-bound condition to make a move on him even though she is supposed to be a nun caring for him and knows damn well he has a girlfriend (who happens to be a friend of hers) as I said before; she's not likeable.
However for all its faults I do have one or two good points to mention;
I've read out some of the soppier, more irritating passages to my wife and she assures me that many teenage girls think and act like that. It then occurred to me; perhaps this book isn't so bad, its just not my cup of tea. If you are a teenager or love YA fiction perhaps you will love this book. I say the word 'perhaps' because I am eager not to tar every teenager with the 'emotionally unstable' brush. Around halfway through the book it does explode into action with the zombies breaching the fence and making a meal out of most of the village but alas this excitement can't last and we are soon back with our unstable heroine. One part of the book involving notes and arrows even managed to make me laugh but it really was too little too late by then.
Overall the verdict in 2/5