The Forest of Hands and Teeth  - Carrie Ryan Well, what do you say about a book that's written about the world post-zombie apocalypse? It's a dreary, depressing, consuming landscape with little hope, bizarre and garish--even frightening--emotions, that makes little sense and clashes with everything that a normal human being is wired for. There is anxiety, tension, fear, disgust, and countless other rejecting emotions stirring, constantly buzzing within you throughout this entire read. You are almost perpetually in a state of fight-or-flight as your adrenaline anticipates every injury, every cage, every devious and miserable corner. You're locked into this world, and there's no way out. There's just no way out...

This was my first experience reading a zombie book. In fact, my exposure to zombies has never been one of proliferation or expertise. Nonetheless, I know enough or have heard enough that I've got some form of handle of experience. It just... eats away at my mind: knowing that you're caged and there's nothing you can do. And you know what's the saddest part? That no one else will HELP you to do what LOGICALLY anyone would do! How do these people not go STIR CRAZY?! I cannot live a life of continuous running, or continuous hiding. I need to move with purpose or I will go mad.

Either way, though this review is going to be short, I did want to get a couple of things across. My experience reading this book was an interesting one. I was never quite sure exactly how I was feeling. I didn't even know how I wanted to react to the characters half the time. First I liked someone, then I didn't like them, but then they would do something else that would be exactly what I would do were I given the chance. This happened countless times, and with practically every single character! Mary, for instance, our main character: she has a drive to escape, to believe in something more, to not be caged, to FIGHT and continue on outside of this village she was born into. And yet she has moments of seething, gripping, controlling jealousy whenever Travis is involved that just quells and quenches any appreciation I have of her. And yet in the next moment, she's back to doing all these things and thinking all these thoughts that I completely support. Sister Tabitha was another example. First time I saw her I thought, "Crazy power-wielding religious figure blaspheming so she can rule the village with an unflinching, brainwashing will." Next thing you know though, she's spouting off comments that I completely agree with in regards to Mary and her obvious lust for Travis. We get twists with characters we like: some that make a little more sense, like with Cass, and some not so expected, like with Gabrielle.

Yet through the entirety of this book, we have this strangeness... this weird relationship between everyone and everything. I couldn't quite decide if I liked or disliked absolutely anything from the beginning, all the way throughout, and finally even at the end of the book! The characters, the situations, their thoughts, their emotions, their way of handling things. Everything was unusual! Everything was brash and harsh and unexpected! And the only part that was expected towards the end of the book was more depressing and disappointing than it was upsetting even! Goodness! By the end of the book, you don't even know if anything is better at ALL than when you first started out! You're left not so much with a cliffhanger as much as you're left trailing off the last page going, "...that's it?" Where is the satisfaction?! Where is the INDULGENCE?! I feel like I went through this entire book, and none of my needs--emotionally, plot-wise, conclusively, etc. as a reader--were met. It's just an experience that you live through and then is over with.

And I must say this: The book was definitely an experience. And I'll even add this on top of that: It's an experience I would definitely recommend everyone going through. Mind you, it's a very unusual, and strange experience. And I can't say it's a pleasant one, a gratifying one, or even a peaceful one! I was affected to the core by some of these things. And call me a wuss--it was not a smart idea to experience my first zombie book in the middle of the night. -3- I have no idea what I was thinking. Uh-uh.

But. No matter how strange this book was, the experience is one that is worth its merit. I feel that everyone will have to come to their own conclusion about this book for themselves. But as for the experience itself, it's one that will widen your horizon's, stretch your emotional and conceptual muscles, and give your mind a good workout in regards to very uncomfortable situations that usually you would never, ever put it in. I guess perhaps that's the appeal of zombie-themed media, as well as other things lingering on horror's doorstep.

If you never buy it, that's fine. But if you feel you want to give it a shot, I say pick it up and go for it. At the very least, you'll get an interesting insight into the ways that caged and hunted animals act when exposed to these situations chronically. For those of you who are not psychology nuts, trust me: it's a type of experience that affects people in ways that you can see in their emotions and thoughts, actions and ideas because they've been exposed to such a dangerous and oppressive environment for so long. Very interesting in that regard. So check it out! The experience is good, the writing is fine, and it can definitely teach you a thing or two on the emotional and stress-related level! Hope you enjoy? Mmm... Maybe "Hope you survive" is a better phrase.