De Vassa tändernas skog (The Forest of Hands & Teeth 1) by Carrie Ryan [Book Review]

The Village with Zombies

Maybe science scares us and we like to read about its failure. That is a theme that comes again and again in zombie and other catastrophe stories. Maybe that is why I usually am not into zombie or catastrophe stories. I like when science makes progress and invents new stuff that amazes me.

This is my first review of a Swedish book even if this one is a translation from English. There might be more original Swedish works in the future. Carrie Ryan is also new to me.

I am very happy I read this story even if it is outside my comfort zone. It is halfway between a young adult and an adult story and it is about a young woman on her way into adulthood who doesn’t conform to the wishes of the repressive culture in her village. She gets involved in a love triangle with her best friend as a hurt bystander. Their isolated village lies in the middle of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (Swedish: De Vassa Tändernas skog) which is also the title. It is surrounded by fences that keep them safe from the unholy. The reason for the zombie apocalypse is never explained but it is hinted that it had something to do with immortality. Maybe we will learn in one of the following books.

The sisterhood is the only ones that seem to keep history alive inside their order at the same time as they work to withhold status quo. It is generations after the zombie apocalypse. The scientific method is dead. If you read between the lines they probably killed off the scientists at some stage. Now even curious and inquisitive minds are seen with suspicion.

In the village everything is done by duty in contrast to the romantic love she feels inside. The action works up to a frightening break-in by the unholy that forces her and a small band of survivor out on a journey along the mysterious fenced path nobody used in ages. The Journey is as always an important part of any zombie story so is the vengeful they-did-it-to-themselves theme.

The characters are okay but the romantic scenes sometimes lack the foundation they deserve in my opinion.

De Vassa Tändernas Skog was a pleasant surprise and I wouldn’t mind reading part two of Mary’s continued adventures. It reads quite well as a standalone book but you will want to learn more like I do.

Book Information

De Vassa tändernas skog (Eng: The Forest of Hands & Teeth) by Carrie Ryan (Styxx fantasy 2011, 1st 2009) – Review copy

Marys värld är liten – en isolerad by mitt ute i skogen, omgärdad av stängsel. Stängslet är det enda som håller Mary och de andra byborna vid liv, för på andra sidan finns De vassa tändernas skog där de oheliga ständigt rör sig i jakt på mer människokött att infektera. Så har det varit i generationer och i byn har man satt upp enkla regler för att överleva: Man gör sin plikt och följer Systerskapets order, allt annat är oviktigt. Ändå kan Mary inte låta bli att drömma om världen utanför stängslet och det som kan finnas där, om havet som hon bara hört talas om och en gång sett på ett foto.

En dag bryter sig de oheliga igenom stängslet. På några minuter utplånas stora delar av byn och Mary flyr ut i skogen. Kampen för att överleva har börjat och snart måste Mary göra viktiga val – mellan dröm och plikt, mellan mannen hon älskar och mannen som älskar henne. Vad finns egentligen på andra sidan av den fruktansvärda skogen?