Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Critisism

We’re at the third post on The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The previous, are here:

The Beginning

Discussion of Characters

Now I’m gonna get my crit on. I was drawn in by the poetic language and the mind blowing setting (a fenced village - surrounded by moaning, teeth gnashing zombies). A little bit of a romantic tangle becomes evident, but I don’t see this as a romance. It’s about survival. And what does that survival cost? Can survival require unbearable sacrifices? Do you have to give up every dream and desire just to walk around and breathe and eat and poop?

Our main heroine, Mary, doesn’t want to linger on behind the fences, never knowing what is “out there”. She longs for the ocean, other places, other villages. The romance is a reflection of this. The guy the Sisterhood (the religious leaders of the village) want her to be with is Mr. Steady and he loves her, but she longs for the forbidden love she could have with Travis. The thought of seeing Travis with another woman, every day, would be unbearable. It would be a fence within a fence.

Then the unthinkable happens. The fences (the physical ones!) fail. This is no spoiler as the blurb tells us this, and come on, if you aren’t running from zombies at some point, what exactly is the point? Now survival isn’t about maintaining the status quo, it requires quick thinking and taking the opportunities that reveal themselves, sometimes doing the things village life has told you NOT to do - like go by the secret paths. I like that.

I have only two complaints. I know it’s a YA book, and there are restrictions due to genre, but this book has the clumsiest physical intimacy I've ever read. I was often unsure what was going on... or what had happened. There is a lot of hovering of lips and bodies. The other is that the end seems rushed, and some things are left nebulous (I don’t want to give anything away, so I can’t expand on that). It’s hard to have: ACTION, ACTION, ACTION, questions..... Even so, it was one of those books were I closed it, and then just sort of spaced out, thinking over what I read, and how I would react. In short, I was satisfied. Despite the ending, it lived up to the expectation I had. I definitely want to read the sequels, but the TBR pile is a mighty behemoth already.

Next week is the final post, and I’m going to talk a little about zombies. What else?

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