I’ve been referring this round to myself as Battle of the Best Titles Ever. On the one hand you’ve got a title that is ominous and scary (what IS a forest made of hands and teeth anyway? Super super creepy that’s what!) on the other hand you’ve got a title that literally mashes up two words into a new one that makes the original two (not so shabby on their own) into something truly amazing! If you want to boil it down to its basic core though: it’s your classic zombies vs. robots.
Zombie side: You know, I know, we all know zombies are super creepy (especially when they are fast – but even when they’re slow because they want to eat you and that is wrong). They force us to contend with our fear of group mentality, our fear of, if you will, becoming mindless animals. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth the human survivors are living out their lives controlled by a group called the Sisterhood who control their education, their thoughts, and really their entire lives. Outside the chain link fence (Yup. Just a chain link fence) lie the unconsecrated. You know, the zombie horde ready to eat them for dinner. Enter Mary, a girl who just wants to dance! No, no, no, she doesn’t. She just is a girl who is stewing in eternal unhappiness and dissatisfaction with her life. So she questions and pokes and prods and then eventually starts the chain of events that lead to the zombie horde getting past the chain link fences (bound to happen y’all).
In Robopocalpyse, the pursuit of science and knowledge (progress as it were) becomes the downfall of humanity. In a basement, far, far away, a scientist creates a sentient computer program that not only sounds like a creepy kid from a horror movie, but also immediately murders him. Thus begins the dawn of the robot uprising. Smart cars start crashing to kill their passengers (not sure how smart they were since they were also “killing” themselves, but don’t over think it – I certainly didn’t). Domestic robots push senior citizens into elevators of death, and military equipment goes completely AWOL. Alas, it turns out that the robots just overthrow one overlord for another until some of them wake up and are like, “Nu-uh, no one’s the boss of me.” And then partner with some people who are like, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Neither book is particularly well-written, but Robopocalpyse has the advantage of being SO MUCH FUN. We’ve got a cast of scrappy humans overcoming insurmountable odds and saying all sorts of rugged, tough, wryly humorous one-liners. Forest of Hands and Teeth, on the other hand, has…Mary. Someone who purports to want the truth…but not if she actually has to do anything to achieve it. She comes close on multiple occasions to SOLVING EVERYTHING and time after time she inexplicably decides NOT TO PURSUE KNOWLEDGE! Plus she’s super whiny.
Robopocalypse for the resounding win.